Hola!! This week’s Girl Behind the Curl is someone who is very Special…she’s my neo and my SPEC!! For those of you who are in the Black Greek world (sororities/frats), you’ll know that a Spec is someone who is very near to you and have a special bond, this girl reminds me of myself lol (not in a vain or arrogant way of course lol) she has a big personality, we have similar characteristics, she’s driven, we like the same things, etc.. etc. etc.. What makes me laugh is that, once we graduated from Howard University, we moved to each other’s home towns…I live in the city in Maryland that she grew up and she now lives in the part of Cali that I grew up lol go figure.
Anyway, I wanted to feature my lovely neo because a) I love her duh! b) she has gorgeous natural hair c) she is an extremely talented, upcoming actress currently starring in a new web series she co-created on YouTube’s Black& SexyTV called Hello Cupid! Be sure to check her out on Black&Sexy’s YouTube channel (if you aren’t up on what Black&Sexy is doing to change the face of black entertainment, get up on it! Young black folks taking charge of their own talents and not letting “Hollywood” prevent them from doing what they love…love it!)
….soooo with all that said….meet my Spec and her hair, Ashley Blaine Featherson!! :o) and yes…she’s aware that Kelly Rowland looks like her ;o)
Introduction : : Do share a little about yourself!
Hi! My name is Ashley Blaine Featherson & im an actress living in Los Angeles, California. Im from the Washington DC Metropolitan area & I graduated Cum Laude with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Howard University. I am obsessed with all things natural and beautiful. I’m extremely outgoing, fun-loving, energetic & I love spending time with my family and friends. I love to dine out. I love tea. My favorite color is Cerulean. Im an AKA. I love to hike. I love music. I love to sing. I love to boogie. My nephew is my heart. I love capturing moments. I love dimples. I make a mean Chai Tea Latte. ‘The Five Heartbeats’ is my favorite movie. I love Spike Lee. God is GOOD. All good salads have cranberries. I love slurpees. I love chocolate cake. I want to inspire. I love roller coasters.
In the beginning : : What inspired you to go embrace your natural-ness? OR If you’ve been natural since forever, what inspired you to never get a perm?
I was 19 years old, a Junior at Howard and it was the TREND on campus. Everybody was “transitioning” & there were just so many beautiful women on campus with big, bouncy, amazing natural hair & I wanted to know what that was like. I was so incredibly inspired by the culture at Howard, and I really viewed it as a part of my self exploration & maturation. I got my first perm I believe at 7 or 8 years old, maybe earlier so I didn’t even know about natural hair, or natural hair styling. It took me about a year to fully transition & I did so by wearing a sew-in and getting my ends trimmed about every 3 months. I chose not to do the “big chop” but I fully support those that do it. I think its brave & exciting. I have to be honest, my transition was easy and I had no problems at all.
Mane-tain : : What is your weekly/monthly regimen like? If you have color in your hair, how do you maintain it’s health?
I have made a personal vow to never put chemicals in my hair again, and that includes color. I once tried to henna my hair with a “reddish tint”, and it didn’t even take, my hair looked just as jet black as it did before I put it in. I wash (shampoo) my hair about once a month. For me…I cant do it very often because it dries my hair out and strips it of essential oils. I co-wash about every other week sometimes once a week. MY hair doesn’t do well with a lot water on it in a short amount of time. When I wash or co-wash my hair I immediately part it into 4 sections, put my own personal oil blend on it (jojoba,olive,sweet almond & shea), apply some biosilk & I blowdry. That first day I usually wear it in a fro, or up in a big fro bun. I also NEVER twist my hair out from being wet…this is because I have MAJOR shrinkage and it just doesn’t give me the big hair that I like…and it takes forever to dry. About a year ago I realized that by blowing my hair out then twisting it, it makes my hair bouncier & fuller. Then that night I will do a twist out, and keep it that way until I decide to twist it again. I must be honest, I twist my hair once a week, two times MAX…it is not an every night thing for me. Unfortunately I don’t know how to braid or twist “to my head” so I cant do two-strand twists on myself…but im working on learning how to do it, I PROMISE!
Your uniqueness : : How would describe your hair and how do you like to wear/style your hair daily? i.e. wash-n-go’s, twists, straight, protective styles, etc.
My hair stylist Lulu at ILoveLuLu natural hair salon here in LA describes my hair as “cotton ball hair” My hair is very very very thick, I have tight curls (4B probably) and a TON of shrinkage, but it is extremely manageable. It is not difficult to detangle, blowdrying it is easy(except my hair retains A LOT of moisture….so it takes days to dry). My hair is very full, extremely dark…almost black. My left side is kinkier than my right side(we all have a “side”). My hair when in a natural style can last a long time, but when pressed it doesn’t stay in a style long. Daily I normally wear my hair up in a band in a high textured curly fro or I add some marley hair and wear a high BIG BIG bun.
Choosing favorites : : What are some fav products you can’t live without or would recommend to someone else? How do you use them?
Oyin HandMade: Hair Dew (I use it to spruce up my curls, and add some smell good in the morning when doing a quick style/up-do)
Miss Jessies Pillow Soft Curls: I love to do my twist outs with this because it isn’t heavily water based so it gives me great length, where as products that are very water based give me added shrinkage.
ORS Edge Control: Smooths my edges
Crème of Nature with argan oil: Perfect Edges
Eco Styler with Moroccan Argan Oil (Love this for smoothing my hair back & it brings out my natural curl pattern wave that matches the Marley Bun especially!!)
Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Curl Defining Pudding: Great for twist outs!
Biosilk: Great to apply before blow drying or when pressing
Pantene truly natural Hair: Co-Wash cleansing conditioner (I really like this as a co-wash!)
Drop some knowledge : : Do you have a marvelous hair practice/technique you’ve learned and wouldn’t mind sharing? OR is there something you’d like to learn more about?
I think that the marley bun is the best thing to ever happen to me. When I Don’t like my hair, or don’t feel like twisting it, I can always pin the marley bun on & im GOOD! It is very very easy to do, and there are so many tutorials on YouTube for it.
I also love rocking a dope turban. Also, when my twists aren’t dry, or my hair isn’t done, I wrap a scarf up there and its always FAB. The best advice I can give with natural hair is “Less is more”. The less you do with it, and you let it do its own thing, the more beautiful it is because it is ALL YOU! This is why I twist my hair only once a week because the truth is, it looks better on the 2nd and 3rd day anyway!
Shameless Plug : : Do you have a hustle you’d like to share while you have the floor? i.e. business, project, etc.
Check out my brand spankin new webseries ‘Hello Cupid’ In which I am co-creator of and co-starring in with my fellow natural hair sista Hayley Marie Norman. www.youtube.com/blackandsexytv
K.I.T. : : How can we stay connected with you? i.e. website, e-mail, social media, etc.