CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
T: When I first chopped, I was worried. I was worried what others would say about me since I had just started college. I talked to all of my natural friends to boost my confidence. I transitioned for 5 months, and I was afraid I’d look like a boy. After the beautician chopped it, I loved it! I couldn’t stop running my fingers through it. I thought, “Oooooo curls!”

CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
T: My family and my boyfriend were the most supportive. My sister was probably more excited than me. My mom wanted me to cut it because she always regretted that I convinced her to give me a perm in the 6th grade. She would always tell me that after the perm, my hair never looked the same. She also talked about how curly my hair was before the perm. Everyone at school loved it! A lot of people, even various strangers, asked, “Can I touch it?” I’ve received hardly any negative comments, and I am thankful.

CN: What are your plans for your hair?
T: I just plan to let it grow and grow! My roommates have already asked me if they can pick it when it gets bigger. They are Caucasian.

CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
T: I already loved headbands and funky earrings! Accessories have always been my best friend. Headbands and hair clips just bring the fro to another level in my eyes.

CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
T: I did so much research before I big chopped. I was a PJ before I had even cut off my hair! I just wanted to be prepared. I usually do a wash-and-go on weekends. I use the Giovanni Direct Leave-In, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Eco Styler, which is magnificent. For twists, I use whipped shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil and grapeseed oil together. I spray my hair with water and co-wash with Hello Hydration for random moisture. I have other products back at home, but I am limited in the dorm.

CN: How do you get your waves or curls popping?
T: I co-wash and use Eco Styler. Lately I’ve been lazy. So, I just use conditioner. That works just as well!

CN: How do you preserve your curls at night?
T: I use a satin bonnet.