CN: Tell us your Hair Story!
Y: I’ve been natural for about 12 years. Before that, I’ve had every style known to man…relaxers, braids, press & curl, you name it, I had it! I decided to go natural because I realized that my hair had been manipulated or processed in some way from the time I was 6 or 7. Which is true for most of us. Most black women don’t know what their natural texture is because most of us have never seen it. Growing up, I always admired the curls of Cree Summer (“A Different World”) and Karyn Parsons (“Fresh Prince of Bel Air”). Never knowing that without a relaxer, my hair would curl in exactly the same way. I transitioned before anyone was talking about things like “the big chop”. I just let my new-growth continue to come in. A mild texturizer is another way to ease your way into a natural style…it blurs the line between natural and relaxed hair a bit. But it does prolong the time it takes to get to completely natural hair.
CN: Have you always liked your curls? If not, how did you come to embrace your natural hair?
Y: My hair’s pretty thick, so I have always been grateful for it, no matter what form it’s in (pressed, relaxed, natural, etc…) But natural hair is my favorite because it’s healthier and can withstand most weather conditions. Rain doesn’t scare me. LOL! And though it may get bigger when faced with humidity, I love big hair so I just let it swell! 🙂
CN: What is your current routine?
Y: I wrote a long blog on my website all about my process, so I won’t bore you guys by repeating all that here. Simply put, I used to wash my hair just about every day but I’ve heard that that isn’t good for black hair. Now I’m down to two or three times a week. It all depends on the demands of my job, as well. Last year, on “Community” I wore a lot of wigs because I was worried about my curls looking the same from scene to scene in an episode…as natural girls know, curls have a mind of their own. 🙂 But this year, I decided to wear my own hair on the show so I wash it more or less depending on whether the scene we’re shooting that day has to match something we shot before. It’s a delicate dance, but me and my AWESOME hairstylist on the show, Pauletta, work it out every day. 🙂
CN: How does your routine change when you’re working?
Y: I sleep much more carefully when I’m working. 🙂 Frizz is not a good thing on camera. But other than that, my routine remains the same.
CN: What are your must have products?!
Y: I still use all the products I mentioned in my website blog, but I’ve recently discovered some new favorites to add to the list. I’m in love with all the curl products by Curlz and Mixed Roots. I alternate using their Curl Souffles and Whipped Cream type products. They all smell divine and they hold your hair ALL DAY without being crunchy. Mixed chicks and Kinky Curly are still favs, as well. I’ve found that varying the products I use keeps my curls from getting used to any one thing. Alternating is the key.
CN: What are your staple hair styles? How do you achieve them?
Y: If it were left up to me I’d wash and wear my hair just wild and crazy. But as I mentioned above, it’s pretty thick and it can get really BIG. I don’t know if polite society is ready for all that. LOL! So I usually put it up in a full ponytail on top of my head. If it’s a fancy type of event, I will bobby-pin it into a bun of some sort. It’s usually big and messy, but again, big hair is cool with me! 🙂 If it’s a busy day and I don’t have time to fuss with my hair, I just slick it back into a low pony tail with lots of gel. It’s usually a helmet by the time it dries (lol!) but it’s easy for a day when I’m running errands, etc. And my methods are simple, I don’t like a lot of fuss. I just use large headband elastics from Goody. I think you can get 8 of ’em for like $2.50 from a drug store.
CN: How do you protect your hair at night?
Y: I’m the worst when it comes to protecting my hair. I’ve heard that silk pillowcases are awesome. I keep telling myself I need to invest in one of those. I don’t really do anything at night. I don’t wrap my hair, pin curl it or anything else. I just lay down and go to sleep. I know, that’s horrible, right? What tips do you guys have? 🙂
CN: What’s the best thing about being curly?
Y: The best thing about being curly is that I can just wash my hair and go. Don’t get me wrong, I like to sit under the dryer because the dripping drives me crazy, but on a day when I’m rushing, I can truly just wash my hair in the shower, towel dry it, put a quick dab of a leave-in or curl souffle type product on it and walk out the door. Also, whenever it’s unruly, a little water and a elastic band and all is well. It’s the easiest hairstyle I’ve ever had!
CN: Do you believe your curls have ever prevented you from getting a role or being cast as a particular character? Have they ever helped?
Y: I believe having big, curly hair has helped me book in this industry, especially when it comes to commercials. When I started doing commercials ten years ago, no one had hair like mine. All the girls booking commercials back then were relaxed. In fact, the only black woman with natural hair at all back then was Diane Amos, the Pine Sol Lady. She and her braids paved the way for natural hair to be accepted in commercials. I hope my curly hair did the same. I do see a lot of curly haired girls in commercials these days. And I’ve been blessed to meet commercial sisters (with gorgeous locs and relaxed hair, etc…) who’ve told me that they went out and got curly wigs because they saw how much I was booking with my hair. And they rock those curly wigs and book like crazy! LOL! They think it’s the hair, I know it’s their talent. 🙂 But whatever the reason, it’s nice to see curly hair (real or wigged) having its moment.
CN: When on set, do you do your own hair or allow a stylist to step in?
Y: On “Community” I let my fabulous hairstylist, Pauletta do whatever she wants to my hair. She understands curly hair and I trust her. When I guest star on another show or do a movie or commercial, I usually come with my hair already done. It’s just easier. I’ve found that most folks immediately put water or some other mystery product on curls. I don’t know about anybody else’s hair, but mine will frizz up and act a fool with mystery products and random water. LOL! I use water to slick my hair down when it’s crazy, never to style it. And I’ve tried so many products I know the ones that work. You don’t want to be a product guinea pig right before you’re about to go in front of a camera. That’s a recipe for disaster. I’ve talked to other actor friends with natural hair and we all have a tendency to come to set camera-ready or with a wig in hand. It’s just easier. 🙂
CN: What would you tell a woman who has yet to embrace her natural curls?
Y: I feel like every black woman should go natural at least once in her life, just to see what she has! As I said before, most of us don’t know what’s growing out of our heads because we’ve been processed most of our lives. If you go natural and your texture is something you can’t or don’t wanna work with every morning, then it’s easy to go back to a press or relaxer or braids. But what if you have a beautiful head of kinky/curly spirals or ringlets just waiting to have their moment to shine? All curly/kinky heads of hair are different; but I find them all to beautiful! The journey from processed to natural is not easy, if you don’t opt for the “big chop” the transition process could take over a year. But I’ve found that seeing my hair grow out of my head in its unruly, crazy way is freeing. My hair is big, wild and crazy just like me. It’s unique…as I am unique. It’s truly something cool to embrace…if only for a little while. 🙂
CN: Tell us about your current or upcoming projects!
Y: I currently play “Shirley” on the NBC comedy “Community”. It airs every Thursday night at 8pm. I also voice one of the characters on the animated show,”Pound Puppies”, it will airs on the brand new network for kids called The Hub. Between those two projects I stay pretty busy.
CN: Is there anything you’d like to say to the CurlyNikki
Y: Just “thank you” for thinking of me for a feature on the site! 🙂
hey yvette, thanks for replying. the 2nd pic with you on tehbeach is alll you? Could I root you? J/k.
Hi "lilkunta", yes, I am being honest with you guys. I can't speak for every event I've attended or picture out there of me (who knows what mood I was in or who did my hair that particular day) but every picture in this article is MY hair. As I mentioned in this article and in my blog I have discovered the fun– and for work and some press events–ease of wigs and extensions, but my natural hair… is what is photographically featured in this blog. My whole family has a LOT of unruly, crazy big hair. It's just our genes. I have no reason to lie, sweetie. You take care! 🙂
Yvette Nicole Brown
Her hair texture seems like that of a mixed persons.
I love you Yvette! I watch you on Community every Thursday night!! Your character is hilarious! I've been admiring you and your hair for a while. You are so gorgeous. Take care! 🙂
IS YNB being honest with us? All that is her hair? PLease dont lie to us. Like how Tanika Ray lied. I know she says she wears wigs sometimes for continuity on work/Commuinty. But elsewhere?
There is no need to lie.
LOVE Community and I love Yvette. Great interview!
I love Yvette! she is beautiful inside and out and I LOOOOOVE her hair! Its beautiful, thick and full! My hair is thick and full too but if I wear it natural, it will be a natural disaster lol..I have to give my hair a mild texturizer because its way too thick to comb in its natural state. And Im tenderheaded so I have to texturize it to keep my scalp from being on fiyah!
I currently have braids! thank the lord for braids, and aunts who do them for free or cheap lol
First–I love, love, love YNB. LOVE HER and her big beautiful hair. She was the "jump off" for me when I decided to finally go natural. Kudos, Nikki for grabbing that interview.
Second–You have got to get Rissi Palmer on here. First of all the SISTAH SINGS COUNTRY…WHAT!? And it sounds good (as far as country music goes). AND she's a natural curly diva. OMGosh, I'm drooling. She just sooooo represents what being a versatile woman of color is all about! WE DON'T HAVE TO STAY IN SOCIETY'S IDEAL BOX. I will stalk this site every day until I see the interview (lol, as if I'm not already stalking it).
Great article! I've always noticed and loved her hair on TV.
Thanks for doing the interview with Yvette. I love her on Community and I always spot her in commercials. I'm sure the little one and I will check out Pound Puppies soon. Her hair is beautiful also.
Yvette has been one of my fav celeb curlies for quite some time. She has a beautiful head of hair…great article!
i've ALWAYS wondered about her hair. love that this post is here! YAAY!
She is easily one of the funnier people on Community and I always enjoyed seeing her on the random commercials I saw on tv. I honestly figured part of the reasons she got so much work was due to her being natural *grin* Her hair is gorgeous! Thanks for the interview Yvette and I look forward to watching you on Community every week!
I heart Yvette, ever since her Helen role on Drake and Josh. Thanks for sharing!
wow, her hair is beautiful and so is she! Love her laid back tude and easy routine.
Fantastic interview! I'm a huge fan Yvette, keep doing what you're doing!
Thanks for the interview Yvette always been my natural hair idol. Yvette is a wonderful actress. Thank you Curly Nikki and Yvette!!!!
Great article! I love her hair & can so relate to her "less is more" philosophy!
Wonderful! Thank you Nikki for doing this!
Love the article and the actress! Thanks so much for featuring her.
Correction: I meant Toni's sister – not Joan.
Fantastic article. She seems very engaged and down to earth, just as she seems when I've seen her interviewed on TV. I remember the first time I think I saw her was as Joan's sister on Girlfriends and thought, wow her hair is gorgeous. Then it was the Home Depot commercial. I enjoyed reading this and will also check out her blog too!
Thanks Yvette and Nikki, this was very informative. Yvette you're gorgeous and your curls are stunning. Keep making us laugh!
I was not familiar with this actress but it was good to "cyber"-meet her.
I completely agree that every black woman should find out at least once in her life what she really has up under the relaxer. Ideally I would like every black woman to LOVE what she has up under the relaxer even if it's not loosely curly like Yvette's…and not just assume that, because it's tighter or kinkier, it's impossible to "deal" with. ALL textures are beautiful…even yours…
Very nice interview! She's seems very down to earth!
Great interview! Love her!
I adore Yvette! She is so likable and down to earth. I thank her for doing this interview and shinning her beauty on us.
Excellent article Nikki!
She is gorgeous! I love that hair! Great article Nikki
im pretty sure i sent her a link to your website a couple of months on ago on twitter asking her to do a celebrity interview. . . lol
i dont know if she saw it or not, but its cool she actually did it!
Nikki, that would be cool if you started doing video interviews with celebrities! What do you think?
I was too excited to see her interview as she is a major Hair Idol of mine! Like she said, I'd seen all these curly-haired actresses on television growing up[such as her] and never knew my hair could be like that [permed since age 7 myself]!
Natural 2 years.
She's stunningly beautiful. I loved her in Drake and Josh.