Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Pyramid of talent

Published:Monday | October 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Growing up, Tiffany Blake wanted to be a lawyer, but her creative nature took her to her roots and music.

Born and raised in Montego Bay with a strong Christian background, Blake enjoyed her childhood. While she was surrounded by music and loved the idea of singing in front of a crowd, being a singer was not the dream that she originally chased.

She went on to study psychology when she went to the University of the West Indies Western Campus. Through her transition, she was also transitioning her hair. In 2012, she decided to do a big chop and go natural. She discovered that she had the most coarse grade of natural hair - 4c. Blake knew the common misconception about kinky hair.

"One of the biggest misconceptions about natural hair is that if you don't have a mixed texture with loose curls, then your hair is bad. That is the biggest lie in society today. One that we are feeding to our young girls. Everybody has beautiful hair, we just have to learn what products work best for it. Like mine, some may be more difficult to manage, but what process in life is easy? It's all about the end results that leave you smiling and more than satisfied at the end of the day," Blake told Flair.

It was because of this mindset that YouTuber Tiffany Monique was born. She started her channel when she first returned natural because she wanted to show others with her hair type how beautiful it is. Now she has more than 10,000 subscribers to her channel, and counting. Being the face of a local hair brand was not in the cards for her, but soon enough, Ettenio came knocking.

 

ETTENIO JOURNEY

 

The CEO of Ettenio, Antoinette Palmer-Davis, approached her about trying her products. She was excited to help put forth a product that would actually work for women who were going through her struggle. Being a Jamaican brand placed the icing on the cake. Her hair did not initially work with the products but she and Palmer-Davis worked with her hair.

"My hair is very stubborn, so while her products would work for other hair types, it just refused to budge with mine. As a result, she would spend extra time in the lab trying to get it right, until finally, my hair began to respond to it. It was at this point that she would put the product on the market! According to her, if it works for Tiffy, it can work for anybody," she said.

While she has done a few make-up tutorials, her love is here and her fans tune in just to see how she manages her mane. Even after being absent for a short while, her fans started to send her messages that they are still watching, which keeps her on the ball.

But there is more to her than her beauty prowess as she is getting in tune to her musical chords.

She describes herself as coming from a very musical family. Her father, Paul Blake, paved the way for herself and her brother, Stephen Blake. They have formed the group Anavah Love Jones. They have performed on dancehall night at Sumfest. The gospel duo has a reggae-dancehall sound. She is also pursuing a solo career with the stage name Hephzibah.

"Hephzibah one day while having my devotion. The Lord led me to Isaiah 62, and the verse that stood out to me was verse 4, ... and you shall be called Hephzibah, which translates my delight is in her. My mother, Dorrett Blake, taught us growing up that your name is your destiny, and so I knew instantly that it was my utmost desire for God's delight to always be in me at every stage of my life," she told Flair.

A woman of many talents, while she believes that music is her calling, she is not limiting herself to one profession. Blake is dabbling in writing. She is also a trained and certified make-up artist and will continue to 'enhance' others' looks. Blake has taken her talents from just YouTubing, and also specialises in doing faux locs. Building relationships between women is on her to-do list and part of a committee for an international women's conference set to be launched this year. She has not forgotten her field of study as she does research for the university.

She leaves this one tip with her fellow naturalistas: "Time and patience, that is what it requires. Love your hair, take time with it, spend time nourishing it and in return your hair will love you. It's like a relationship, guys, you are going to have difficult days but the sweeter days make up for all that."

jody-anne.lawrence@gleanerjm.com