Wow…..just, WOW. That’s all I could say upon seeing this young woman’s pictures. Her locs are simply glorious; but her holistic approach to natural hair care, self embracement & conquering life’s obstacles are refreshing. She is On the Couch & Naturally Glamorous: the reigning Miss Curve 2011, Chrisandra Wells!
Please tell us a bit about your journey to modeling & the honor of being crowned Miss Curve:
Hello everyone! First of all I would like to say it is an honor to be interviewed for your publication and I feel it is so wonderful that we are appreciating ourselves and our God-given beauty in all its many forms. I have had an interest in beauty/fashion modeling from pre-adolescence, during that time I can remember collecting teen fashion magazine and emulating the latest looks. I always loved playing dress up and taking photos. As I approached my late teens I realized that I would not have the stick thin frame of a high fashion model, so I thought my dream would be deferred. Shortly thereafter, I became aware of the growing need for plus models and realized that I fit those requirements perfectly. I have been a freelance model and done a variety of work for commercial and fashion companies, namely Redbook Magazine, Starbuck’s Red Campaign, E-fashion solutions (Rocawear), Cassandra Bromfield Designs, Underwraps of NYC, Urban Books.net, Energizer, etc. I have recently been a featured hair model for loc stylist Thando Kafele at various shows such as World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta, GA, Transcendence Natural Hair Show in Brooklyn, NY; Bronner Bros.(Natural Hair Competition) in Baltimore, MD, and most recently the Master Pioneer Award Ceremony held at the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY.
I competed in the Miss Curve Competition which including an online voting component as well as charity fund-raising. As a finalist I competed against seven other ladies in runway modeling and short interview. I am very excited to have the title as Miss Curve 2011. I represent the curvy natural women of the world! I believe that curves and fashion go perfectly together, and designers have finally realized we look great in tailored clothing that showcases our femininity and voluptuousness. I have been approached by a few designers after winning the title of Miss Curve and I am happy to shoot for them.
Seriously, your locs are ASTOUNDING! You’ve been natural almost your entire life; was there ever a time when you were relaxed? How long have you been growing your beautiful locs?
Thanks for the compliment! I have been growing my locs since November of 2000. For most of my life I have been chemical-free. During the “MJ era” ha –ha I did have a Care Free curl, after it grew out my hair was not processed again until junior high school. I did have a perm for about 6 months and that was the last time I chemically processed my hair.
Natural Hair doesn’t define who you are BUT…..
It is a part of me, it does speak for me. It says I am ok with the way I was born into this world. It is a choice to alter oneself, although it is not necessary. It is definitely not necessary (altering oneself) in order to be considered beautiful.
As a pageant winner & successful model, you have to totally accept yourself inside & out. What does self esteem/self embracing mean to you?
I accept my size first. I am presently a full size 16, at a lower weight I am a 14, and I am totally comfortable with this. I possess self-esteem to acknowledge my weaknesses and work on them, and also to be content with all the many talents I have been blessed with that one may not see with the naked eye. This inner appreciation I believe shows through my interaction with others.
You elegantly represent both plus-sized AND natural haired beauties. Have you professionally or personally encountered road blocks along the way in either category?
I have been challenged by society in an unspoken fashion, society does not abundantly portray natural hair models, or models with locs in advertisements and media. Very often Black women are wearing hairpieces and/or weaves which reinforces the concept that we need to add artificial hair in order to be accepted or beautiful.
In terms of my plus size modeling work, I have sometimes been evaluated by peers based upon my degree of “plus sized-ness”. When I have been at a lower weight and around a size 12/14, other plus sized women have told me I was not “plus-sized” or not big enough to be considered “plus”. It is such a boxed world that we make categories and labels for everything. I just know one thing: bigger or smaller I am CURVY!
You are the epitome of length retention! How do you nurture your locs & keep them moisturized?
My locs are waist-length. Thando Kafele of Brooklyn, New York has been my locstylist for 8 years. He deep conditions and styles my locs every 6 weeks and uses Jane Carter Products. I wash and condition my hair with Jane Carter Products every 3 weeks, and I use the Nourish and Shine Cream as well as the Scalp Serum. Her product line has a wonderful scent and is all natural.
Do random people attempt to lay hands in your mane?
Only babies pull my hair, ha-ha. People ask me about it, but rarely if ever touch it.
Do you find your mane becoming the grand topic of conversation?
The funniest thing is that some people have asked me if this was all my hair. I love to hear young Black girls tell me how nice my hair is, that is what makes me the happiest- for us to love ourselves.
What was the WORST mistake you’ve made in your journey?
I can’t say I have made a mistake in terms of what I have had done to my hair. Even the act of chemically processing my hair made me realize that it is unnecessary, and that action has taught me to value my natural attributes more.
What advice can you bless new, transitioning or frustrated kinky curly queens with?
My advice is for them to be re-acquainted with their authentic selves. I know there are a lot of support forums and blogs that they can turn to for help with styling their hair. It is also important for the people in their lives who may not be natural to be educated about certain hairstyles. I have had older women ask me in the past how I would be wearing my hair to my wedding, silently implying that my natural locs were not elegant. This is such a disgusting and disgraceful attitude that we have been brainwashed with these ideals.
What’s the most fabulous part of your journey to frizzness?
I like feeling free in the rain, wind and sun.
Outside of your gorgeous mane, what inspires you?
My children inspire me to make them the best people they can be. Art also inspires me to dream and express myself. I am a visual artist and a poet, although I might not have mentioned it.
What’s next for you?
Something is definitely coming. . .I would love to be World Natural Hair Model! That just may be the next thing I’m going for. . .
How can our beautiful readers find you on the web?
Readers can find me on Twitter @CurvyChrisandra Facebook Fan page: Miss Curve 2011 Chrisandra Wells http://modelmayhem.com/chrisandra