Today we chat to natural beauty, Amanda Cooke, who gives us insight into what made her decide to go natural.
What is your name and where are you from?
Hi, my name is Amanda Cooke aka @kaapie_girl. I’m from the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a single mom to an amazing 11 yr old little woman. I am a librarian, a dreamer, a blogger, a business woman, a cheerleader and a naturalista to name but a few.
How long have you worn your hair natural and what made you decide to do it?
I transitioned from November 2012 and then in December 2013 I finally decided to get rid of the relaxed bits. It was scary but so empowering. The reason I did it is two-fold. 1) I want my daughter to be proud of her own natural hair and I needed to be that role-model for her. 2) Growing up as a coloured (mixed race) girl in Cape Town, straight hair is a big thumbs up. The straighter the hair, the more fabulous you are. Well, that’s what society dictates. I got sick of living by society’s rules. I needed to break free of the insanity and express my true self. As India.Arie sings, “I am not my hair” – my hair does not define me.
When did you first realise that you love your natural hair texture and what exactly do you love about it? Describe your hair.
I fell in love with my hair the moment I left the hair salon, after I had all the chemicals cut out. Every single day has been an amazing journey. Bear in mind that I had not known my natural curl pattern. Ever. My hair has been relaxed since I was about 5 or 6 years old. I don’t really pay much attention to the hair types but I think my hair could be between a 3c to 4b. I have a lot of hair on my head and I am in love with my natural curl pattern.
What is your hair regime? What do you do to keep it healthy?
I shampoo and condition with Tresemmé Naturals once a week, usually over a weekend. I add about a teaspoon of coconut oil to my conditioner and then wrap my hair with cling film and a shower cap to deep condition. I’m very much a wash and go girl, but I have been experimenting with twists, flexi rods and hair setting lately.
What have your experiences been as a natural, including reactions from friends, family and colleagues? Have you experienced any opposition from anyone in your life regarding how you wear your hair?
It took a while for me to take my fro out for a walk (I usually use bobby pins to keep everything in place). I did so this past Saturday while shopping and received a lot of stares. One brave woman came up to me in a public bathroom and commended me for my “gorgeous hairstyle”. We had a 10 minute conversation about going natural.
Other questions include:
“What did you do to your hair to get it that curly?” (Uhm… I wet it and use a leave-in conditioner?)
“Are you wearing a weave?” (No, it’s all me.)
“I don’t believe you. Can I touch it?” (Are your hands clean? Don’t be touching my hair with dirty paws!)
What is your favourite go-to hair style for days when you don’t have a lot of time?
I either co-wash and go, or I do my favourite Grecian/Goddess hairstyle. I do this by separating the front of my hair with a side path. Then I two-strand flat twist each side to form a crown, after which I use a hair band to keep the curls neat at the back. Oh and as of Monday past, I discovered that my hair is long enough to go into a puff. Yay!
What is your hair goal?
My personal goal is to grow a healthy head of hair just past my shoulder blades. The bigger, the better.
What is your best hair advice to someone who is thinking of going natural, but who is apprehensive about doing it?
Research, research, research. Don’t allow anyone to force you into anything you’re not ready for. Be patient. Your hair may not grow as fast as the next person’s. Learn how to handle your own hair. Fall in love with your own hair. Most of all, enjoy every second of your own journey.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your natural hair journey?
Self love! It has given me the courage to be my true self and to be true to myself.
What is the state of the natural hair “movement” in South Africa? Is it even considered a movement at all?
I think it’s much bigger in Johannesburg than it is in Cape Town. I have however seen more naturals in Cape Town in the last few months though. I am quite tempted to run up to them and give them a high 5 or a hug or shout out “Yay, naturalista!”
Where can we find you online? Website/Blog/Instagram/Twitter?
You can find me on twitter and instagram @kaapie_girl and my blog is www.mandyexpedition.blogspot.com