Images of Tiffany “New York” Pollard’s natural hair photo shoot have been all over the web. Hair and gossip blogs were reeling with comments from readers speculating about the details- – questioning the authenticity, her motives, and debating whether or not it was a good look for her. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of chatting with the incredibly sweet and truly hilarious reality star. She was beyond jazzed to talk about her hair.

And yes, she is 100% natural. Tiffany explains,

I’d say that for most of my adult life I struggled with my hair. I have very thick textured hair and tried my hardest to help it ‘lay’. I used to wear weaves all the time, and would even apply my own perms! The perms, of course, never came out right- – my hair would be like straight in some areas, and poofy in others. And then I’d take the straightening comb to the poofy sections… just damaging my poor hair. It was a never ending battle.

But to make a very long and tedious journey short, I have to tell you girl, discovering my natural texture, getting rid of the perm, cutting my hair completely off, and growing it out, was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Because my hair didn’t want the process, it didn’t want the chemicals, it was like begging me all these years just to be natural.

It warmed my heart to hear the joy and confidence in her voice. She said the turning point came on the set of ‘I Love New York 2’,

A new stylist arrived on set- – a person who dealt primarily with locs and natural hair styles. She washed my hair, blew it out, and cornrowed it. Then she said, “Tiffany, your hair is so beautiful, why are you putting chemicals in it?” I didn’t have an answer… I had been doing it for so long, that I never even thought about it anymore. It was then that I made the transition, and plunged into taking the steps of caring for my hair. So from there, which was a little more than 3 years ago, I cut out the relaxer. I’ve been growing it out, and letting it do its thing, and this is where I am now.

I asked if the infamous lace fronts were a thing of the past. Tiffany laughed and responded that she still wears a lot of hair pieces. She gets her hair professionally braided every month or two and dons lace fronts. In between braid sessions, she enjoys playing in her natural curls and takes care to keep it “moist, clean, and trimmed”. She’s been growing it out for the past 3.5 years and finally mustered up the courage to reveal it to the world. And she’s happy she did!

So far I have worn it out once, and that’s the photo shoot that everyone is talking about. Right now I’m currently wearing cornrows. Honestly, nothing has changed from my regimen. I’m still getting it braided, wearing the cornrows, and wearing the lace fronts on top of that. But because there has been such a great response to my natural hair, I do see myself wearing it out more often. I plan to release another video after I remove the braids because I think it’s a forum for people to see it. I am a role model and if I can help others to embrace their natural texture, like if I can have any part in that, then I’m all for it.

Tiffany is enjoying the attention and truly appreciates the out pour of support and positivity from the natural hair community. However, she feels that her journey to acceptance and finding her true confidence has been the real test. She remarked, “I love it and feel like it is an outward expression of who I truly am.”

She is still in the beginning stages of learning how to care for her natural hair while it’s out. She’d love to rock her curls more often, as her new signature style, but not until she gets her breakage under control.

I have a great texture of hair. I love every springy curl and watch in amazement as some of my coils have become waves with length. It’s very thick, but thin and fragile at the same time. My hair tends to break a lot, and that is what’s holding me back from wearing it out as often as I’d like to. So I’m still on the journey to figuring out what my hair needs, trying to find the right oils and products to make it stronger, so that I can enjoy wearing it out.

I think one reason for the breakage may be due to the blow outs. When I wash my hair in order to get it cornrowed, it draws up so much that the stylist has to blow it out. If she doesn’t, she can’t get her fingers through it. I need other options. So that’s where I am right now. I’d love to learn ways to stretch out my shrinky hair without applying heat. My hair likes to stay close to my scalp [laughter].

I offered up a few styling options, including twists or braids to stretch her hair out, and wearing buns for a couple of days preceding the stylist visit, which would help to smooth the roots, and pull some of the curl out.

After giving her some product suggestions, I asked what she currently has in her arsenal,

I love any and everything from the Organic Root Stimulator line- the carrot oil, the olive oil- those things really keep my hair moist which is so important. I also love Carol’s Daughter– her Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner, and her Hair Smoothie. And I love Miss Jessie’s to style the hair when it’s out, MJ really helps to lock in the moisture and keep the curl.

Tiffany says the response hasn’t been all roses. She has several close friends that aren’t feeling her new, natural look.

Sometimes it’s not about the style, it’s about what the style means or portrays to that certain person. If they see straight hair as being better than, then yes, they’ll look down on my natural curls. But I’m at a point that I accept everything about myself, all of my features… big nose, big lips, big feet, and big kinky hair! Until you arrive at a place where you can embrace yourself wholeheartedly, you might have an issue with people that are hating. But I’m good with it, I love it. I do find that people who don’t have hair like ours, because it doesn’t grow like ours, look at it in fascination. They love it because they think it’s beautiful, and many approach it without the stigma and tell me, ‘wow, your hair gorgeous, it’s so fluffy, and beautiful.’ Those comments don’t make or break me, but they’re nice to hear.

I personally think natural hair is very sexy, very strong on a woman, because we get that height that will not fall at the end of the day. Hot curlers, hair spray, all the teasing in the world, falls at the end of the day. But if your hair is natural, it’s going to stay boosted and big all day long and I love big hair. It’s just really sexy… something so sexy about the natural look. Natural hair is becoming more accepted and it’s showing up everywhere! I love that! A natural hair explosion!

When asked if she had found love, Tiffany laughed, and responded, “Oh my goodness. The quest is still on! Which is a good thing as far as coming back to TV… the possibilities are endless, so stay tuned. I guess that’s a very round about way of saying yes, I’m still single.”

And finally, a message to us, the divas of,

I want to tell the Curly Nikki community to keep on keeping on. All you ladies are so beautiful, and vivacious, and I just love to see women of all shades, all shapes, and sizes, just loving them and putting the best them forward. And that’s all the women of CurlyNikki. That’s the impression I got as soon as I tuned into the website. I clicked it and watched a few of the Youtube videos, read a few articles, and felt like I was right at home. Actually, I was only planning to get on for a few minutes, just to check it out, but I got so side tracked that I probably stayed on for like 4 hours! I love the website, I love all of the positivity on the site… you couldn’t have done a better job with it!

Tiffany is ready to rock her curls, but needs product suggestions, styling tips, and words of encouragement to help her on her journey.

Share your advice in the comments below!
She’ll be lurking!