Curly-Centric Jamaica, Contributor
Jamaica is blessed with quite a few naturalistas who are in the public eye - ranging from recording artistes to media personalities to beauty queens to government representatives.
This week, we caught up with former Miss Jamaica World and media personality Regina Beavers on her 'natural' journey in the spotlight.
How long have you been a naturalista, and why did you decide to go natural?
I went natural a few times in the past, but somehow between getting frustrated and lack of knowledge, I went back to chemically treating my hair, thinking that it was easier. In 2008, I finally decided to grow my locks because I've always loved my hair natural, but didn't know how to take care for it. I did some research on dread locks (matted coiled hair) and was pleasantly surprised by the ancient history associated with the hairstyle. It reminded me of royalty, the way the locks flow from the scalp to the neck and down the back. It has been the best decision I've ever made, I'm never going back. Once you lock - you won't chop.
How did you make the transition?
I grew out my roots with the relaxed ends (not a good look) but I knew it would be worth it for the big chop. I went to a salon (where no one knew me and couldn't try to convince me to reconsider) and asked the stylist to chop it all off. I went home with a buzz cut - my friends laughed, I did too. But I was happy to start over and I knew that it would grow out nicely. Once it was long enough, I went to a locks specialist and she palm rolled my hair into tiny twists. The rest is history.
What was the response to your natural hair (locks) as a former beauty queen and media personality?
It's funny because when people overseas think of Jamaica, they think of Bob Marley and dreadlocks and I don't think a Miss Jamaica World has represented Jamaica with dreadlocks before. I can't say if it's because beauties with locks have no interest in pageants or that pageants have no interest in beauties with locks.
But at this point in my life and career, it matters not what response my hair would have, or has had. It's my hair, my natural hair, and I love it, so that's all that matters to me.
How do you deal with negative responses to your hair?
I have the right to wear my hair natural, and others have the right to like it or not. It's what makes this world so beautiful - diversity. Diversity in hair and diversity in opinion. I know enough to know that it makes no sense to waste time on negativity, so I choose to use my energy to bring love and light to everything, every person and every situation I come across. When you truly love something about yourself, it really doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks. I truly love my hair and myself.
What are three of your favourite products?
1 Tea tree oil. It's light, smells good, keeps my hair moisturised, and also has a great fresh tingling sensation on my scalp.
2 SoftSheen Carson's Lets Jam moisturising gel (regular hold). I can put it on my hairline or entire head just before heading out and I'm as neat as can be.
3 Jamaican Mango and Lime. They have a variety of great products that I love, like the cactus oil serum.
What is your message to women who are afraid to go natural?
If you are like me before I went natural - not quite sure how your friends, family, co-workers or your significant other would react - you need to ask yourself two questions.
First, why do you want to go natural and second, do you love yourself, flaws and all?
If you can find an answer for question one and answer yes to question number two, it's time to face your fears.
Everything you know now you had to learn. You know how to take care of your relaxed hair because you were taught. Sometimes we choose to adapt to things without even realising we have a choice. But now that you realise you do have a choice, you can't turn back. There are so many incredible ways and beautiful things that you can do with your natural hair. With the Internet, blogs, books, hair products made specifically for natural kinky hair, and naturalista groups like Curly-Centric Jamaica, there is no reason to be or feel alone in this.
You owe it to yourself to give it a try, and your true friends and family will be happy for you once they see how great you feel.
There's a reason why you feel like going natural, hiding it or locking it away inside can affect your own self-worth. If you need courage, look for inspiration in others, and become the courage and inspiration for someone else. Good luck!
Curly-Centric Jamaica is a natural-hair community hosting meetups which explore styling, care and maintenance of natural hair, and black hair overall. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/curlycentric! Do you have comments, stories or question on natural hair? Ask us at email@example.com.