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Curly Nikki

Naturally Professional – Tonya Mosley

By January 27th, 202117 Comments
Naturally Professional – Tonya Mosley, TV News Reporter

Naturally Professional – Tonya Mosley

When we first came up with the idea of the Naturally Professional series, the goal was to find a few good natural haired women who were willing to share their experiences on Afrobella.com and CurlyNikki.com. The intent was to prove that despite what has been said – and unfortunately what is still sometimes believed – women with locs, sisterlocs, and loose natural hair are present in professional industries. The intent is to prove that natural hair IS in fact, professional, well taken care of, and welcome in any kind of workplace.

The response has been overwhelmingly supportive. And so, with great pride we present our first Naturally Professional woman.

Name: Tonya Mosley

Age: 33

Title: Television News Reporter

Tell me about your natural journey. How long have you been natural? What led you to wear your hair in a natural style?

Two years ago I began noticing how fascinated my 2 year old daughter had become with my long straight hair. At the time I was having frequent conversations with her about how beautiful her natural curls were. This whole “dance” felt wrong, painful even – so in September of 2009 after receiving a blessing from my bosses I chopped off my relaxed hair.

Have you ever faced any undue scrutiny and/or adversity in your career because of wearing their hair natural?

I live and work in a city (Seattle) where my natural hairstyle is embraced and accepted.
I don’t believe I’ve received push back although recently I had an agent mention that my hair may not fly in other places.

Do you think there is an issue today with acceptance overall in the corporate workforce for women who choose to wear natural hair?

I’m not sure. I do believe there is a lot of ignorance about our hair, how it grows and what it really looks and feels like in its natural state. We as a community of black women still struggle with loving and accepting our natural hair so I think it would only be natural that corporate America might take issue with it.

Naturally Professional – Tonya Mosley

Are there any particular natural hairstyles they feel are no-no’s for the workforce or a particular style that is “safer” or more accepted than others, based on your experiences?

I think many of us get confused about natural hair and professionalism. If you’re working in corporate America a Mohawk – whether relaxed or natural is probably not a good idea.
In my profession I don’t want my hair to be a distraction, it should complement my look not overtake it. I’ve only been natural for a year and half, as it grows I’m learning what works and what doesn’t.

How do you or have you handled any questions or issues you’ve faced regarding your hair?

Initially after getting the “big chop” I expected to get a lot of questions or confusion about my hair but I haven’t. I do however receive lots of compliments and emails! My hair has become my signature in many ways – the other day I had a woman stop traffic during a live shot to tell me how much of an inspiration I’ve been to her. I’ve had mothers tell me they record my stories for their children to watch. These messages are powerful to me, I’m reminded of when I was little and we’d crowd around the TV to watch the Cosby show – people are thirsty to see a reflection of themselves on screen and I’m humbled and honored to be a part of offering that.

There is always discussion and sometimes concern about wearing your hair natural and working, as well as succeeding, in the corporate workforce. What strategies can you offer other women who wear their hair natural on handling issues they may face in the workplace regarding their hair choice?

I’ve been hearing the word “authentic” a lot lately. I guess it’s another way of saying “keeping it real.” The broadcast journalism world is extremely competitive and now more than ever news bosses are looking for people who are authentic, different – someone who isn’t a carbon copy of everyone else.

Naturally Professional – Tonya Mosley

As a leader what insight can they offer women in general, natural or not, on succeeding as African American women? What are the top 3 tips to success you can offer?

Never leave work early, people notice. How far you go in your career depends on how hard you are willing to work. But also note working harder is not always enough, you also have to work smarter.

In addition to being a hardworking TV reporter, Tonya also has a natural hair blog –check her out at New Naturalista, and follow her on Facebook!

Are you Naturally Professional? Do you know someone who fits the description? Then please send an email to [email protected] or [email protected] using the subject like “Natural Professional. Please include the nominee’s name, photos, and a reliable email address.

17 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you. I am a teacher in a small town, and I am trying to transition. I have had a mixture of positive and negative feed back. I haven't returned to school yet, but I am very anxious. My stylists recently talked me into a comb thru texturizer, and I gave in to the hype. Help me with this journey. I want to embrace ME.

  • Anonymous says:

    I currently have a full head of curly hair. I am one to not over-fuss with my hair, and the better it seems to work out. The problem I have had in the past is that I am a professional, and I have actually had HR people come to me and give me Hair straightening samples to try and suggest – to straighten my hair. Everyone in this company had adapted their look to the flat ironed hair. What the heck? I want to be Me. Why do we need to look like clones in the business world.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just gorgeous!

    I am a nursing student and work full time as a nurse technician.

    I have worn my my 4b/c coils natural for two years and I must say, it definitely makes me stand out! I feel my distinctive appearance has given me a leg-up.

    That being said, I do experience good and bad hair-days; through it all, I strive to bring my "A-game", because eyes are on me.

  • GGmadeit says:

    Love it!! go head and represent! You are Beautiful!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the bold move, it's inspiring to those of us in "conservative" type jobs. And just today I was telling a student about one of your tips, i.e. not packing up early because the bell is about to ring in 5 minutes.

  • Tonya Mosley says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words! I often feel like I'm being held up by my supportive natural sisters, you're just as much an inspiration to me as I am to you.

    Thank you Curly Nikki and Afrobella for starting this series, I can see this will be a hugely popular series!

  • Anonymous says:

    this is a great series.. Looking forward to more..

  • Anonymous says:

    I live in the Seattle area and I'm always thrilled when I catch Tonya reporting the local news. She is an outstanding journalist, and her decision to go natural amidst a sea of cookie cutter, straight haired female reporters really gets her noticed…for all the right reasons. Keep up the good work, Tonya!

  • Anonymous says:

    Loving this series already!

  • Anonymous says:

    She needed the OK from her bosses because she is an on-the-air personality for their company.

  • modest-goddess says:

    great series

  • Anonymous says:

    Why did she need the ok from her bosses?

  • Anonymous says:

    Great interview. I like when people address what it's like to work in a professional organization with natural hair since that is a big concern of mine.

  • Aishah says:

    Looking forward to reading more from this series!

  • Jessica says:

    I absolutely love love love love this series! Please keep it up. I will be a college graduate in May and I'm currently natural. I love seeing professional naturals and learning about their successes despite what others are saying.

  • BKelz says:

    This was a wonderful piece. Very inspiring and really enjoyed those last 3 tips!

  • Brandi says:

    I work at a TV station in Memphis and I look at your station web site periodically just to see your hair! luv it.

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