Hair Diary: Meet Candace Denise!

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About Me...Who, little ole' me? (smile) I am an observer, daughter, sister, lady at all times, bold, a dreamer, a lover, a friend, a believer...but, in short, I mostly go by poet, photographer, collector, and most recently, a designer.

Where you do live? How is the natural hair community there?
I currently reside in Columbia, SC, which is also my hometown. I will be relocating again this year (just moved back to Columbia from Atlanta last summer), any suggestions? Sadly, I have been a bit of a hermit since moving back, so I can't give an honest opinion about the natural hair community here. What I can say is that I have friends who are newly natural, as well as old classmates who inspired me to go natural...some live here and others are in Charleston, SC.

When and why did you decide to go natural?
I've done the big chop & transitioned several times over the past 8 years. When I was modeling, I tried to be as diverse as possible, so one minute I would have a perm and the next minute I would cut it off & start all over again. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2008 and last year, it really took a toll on my body & self-esteem. I lost a considerable amount of weight & the hair at the back of my head began to fall out. When I cut it, it was mostly because I no longer had the energy to maintain certain styles.

Were your friends and family supportive of your decision? If not, how were you able to move forward?
My mother did not like it. She has always been extremely vocal about how I should do "my hair," much to my dismay. It has grown on her a little bit, but I am confident enough to no longer allow anyone's opinions to bother me. My friends are really a matter of fact, they have always joked with me dying/cutting/perming my hair. Outside of that, there will always be someone, whether a close family member, friend, stranger or associate, who will stare or have something negative to say. I do not care. It is more important for me to comfortable with myself, than to exchange my happiness for acceptance.

Describe your hair routine.
My hair routine begins with food. I drink alot of water...sometimes more than 8 glasses, and ATTEMPT to take all of my vitamins. I've gone through phases and even when I do eat meat, I try not to consume as much. I wash my hair every two weeks or longer and trim it when necessary. My hair is usually wrapped up in a scarf, but I have worn it out in twists and roller sets.

What are some of your favorite products?
My favorite products for cleaning my hair are Shea Moisture shampoo and black soap. I have always been a fan of olive oil so it is a staple product for deep conditioning, along with shea butter and coconut oil. As you can see, I like to keep it quite simple. When I first went natural, I practically bought the whole hair store and now I have an inventory of products that I probably won't use, sitting in my closet.

Do you have any hair goals? What steps are you taking to achieve them?
I would really like to lock my hair, but overall, I just want it to be healthy. I decided to keep a journal or log book of certain ingredients in products that work better with my hair, so that I can make my own mixes at home. I'm also cutting back on junk food & procrastination...those are the main culprits. I am a workaholic, with a tendency to stay up at all hours of the night, eating ginger snaps, key lime pie and end up falling asleep with my scarf off (lol).

How has being natural changed you?
It has been a long journey. When I was sick, it was a struggle to get out of bed and I begin to isolate myself...from myself. Last February, I became a vegetarian for approximately 3 months (Lent), and things started to change during that time. I grew stronger. I begin to revisit & rekindle my love for certain, the arts...elements that were so ingrained in me that I don't know how I ever lived without them. My hair became a symbol of my courage and I wore it well.

What are your top 5 obsessions?
Michael Joseph Jackson, and yes, I did spell out his whole name (lol). Words cannot describe how much he means to me. When I was little, I remember watching him on tv and thought that if he could dance...if he could sing...then there had to be something that I could do too. I wrote my first poem when I was listening to his music. From there, I begin drawing. Sigh...I miss him. On a lighter note, I am obsessed with least 5 hours of my daily life has music as a backdrop. I also love to shop at thrift stores +collect vintage glassware, seafood, and pampering myself.

Anything you would like to add....
Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your world. Inspiration starts with courage and acceptance...and that will always lead to inspiring others along the way. I aspire to do the same through my work. I can be seen writing and "dilly dallying" on my blog: on Tumblr: on Twitter: or on Facebook: Peace, light, and love to and all your readers. We are all queens.

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