Monday, April 9, 2012

A big chop story: Amy Kay

Hi Beauties! 

Meet Amy Kay. She recently big chopped and her new hair and natural swag is on point!! Check out her story below:

NB: Introduce yourself.
My name is Amy K. Howard but all of my friends call me “Amy Kay.” I was born and raised in Tampa, FL but I’ve spent my last 3 years in Richmond, VA working as a senior underwriter for Nationwide Insurance Company. I’m a UF alum. I love my Gators and I bleed orange and blue.
I decided to go natural just to see what my ‘real’ hair texture looked like. I’ve had a relaxer since the age of 3, so I really had no idea what to expect.

NB: When did you big chop?
I just chopped it 5 days ago

NB: Why did you decide to finally take the plunge and chop off all your relaxed hair?
The goal was to gradually transition. To be honest, when I first decided back in June 2011 that I would go natural I envisioned myself cutting bit by bit. I had a plan of doing a round or two of braids and then having enough new growth to start doing more ‘natural’ styles like twists, flexi-rod sets and etc. The braids worked great! I had two sets and kept them 12 weeks at a time and had about a week in between sets. They were easy to maintain and worked out wonderfully with my half-marathon training routine. I was running/working out 4-6 times a week and working up sweat with no issues with my hair. It wasn’t until that I took them out and tried to continue with the same routine that I realized that the two textures weren’t going to work for me… at all. After the first hard work out my roots ‘exploded’ to say the least and it was really terrible in contrast to my relaxed hair. I had a decision to make… try to ‘tame my hair’ on a daily basis which meant a lot of heat or just chop it, live with it and go!

NB: Did big chopping have any emotional implications for you?
I wasn’t really sure what to expect actually. The day of my hair appointment for my BC I was a little nervous and tried to figure out how I would feel after all was said and done. I didn’t know if I was going to look while she was cutting it or wait until after for the big reveal. I didn’t even know if I would shed a few tears. It turns out that I felt lighter, free and kinda like a new woman. It was a great feeling! I’m happy I did it. I would do it all over again.

NB: Do you feel less sexy or more empowered now that you’ve cut off over 9 inches of hair off?
I definitely feel more empowered! I don’t foresee myself feeling less sexy because I still have the inner confidence and the smile that I wear proudly. I feel like I am coming into my own. Each year that passes, I am learning more about myself and liking the woman that I’m becoming. It’s a great feeling.

NB: What is your greatest natural hair goal?
I really want to grow my natural hair out and be able to rock a killer twist out a la Tracee Ellis Ross or even one like your own, Ms. Betty. I must say, I’ve read your blog about your natural hair journey and I’ve seen the progress you’ve made and I’m definitely inspired.

NB: What is your current natural hair regimen?
Sadly, I don’t have one yet. I just chopped my hair 5 days ago and before that approximately 2 weeks ago I still had braids so I’m still trying to figure that out lol. So far I’ve purchased several Shea Moisture products because my girlfriend uses them and loves them. I’m still not really sure how often to co-wash or regular wash my hair… I’ve got A LOT to learn. Thank goodness for blogs and  YouTube videos.

NB: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since big chopping?
I haven’t really had any yet. I guess I will come across a challenge or two as I start to try to do my own hair instead of going to a salon for assistance.

NB: Would you recommend big chopping to friends/family?
I would but it really depends on the individual. I’ve had friends avoid the big chop by gradually trimming, using sew-ins or getting straw sets but they also weren’t working out regularly which definitely proved to be problematic for me. It’s definitely important to think it through before you chop it. A year ago, if someone would have told me that I would chopping almost 9 inches of my hair to complete my natural hair journey, I would have called them liar but here I am now!

NB: What advice would you give someone if they’re struggling with the transition process?
If this is something that you REALLY want to do, then stick with it. Have patience. Get creative. Use this as opportunity to change up your style if you choose. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different hair styles. Follow blogs and look at videos so you can see that others have attempted the same feat and have succeeded. There are a plethora of hair options out there; you just have to pick the right one for you.

NB: Have you experienced any resistance to your natural hair from men? Do they embrace it or fight it?
Since I’m new to the fully natural hair game, I haven’t experienced much either way. The few comments that I’ve had have been positive. My boyfriend approves but then again, he likes me with long straight hair, curly braids or even a teeny weeny afro ::whispers:: he might be a little biased. 

NB: Who is your natural hair crush?
Oh goodness… I can’t just pick one… I have several: Tracee Ellis Ross, Corrine Bailey Rae, Viola Davis (a recent addition) and of course you, Natasha Betty. You have fab hair!

NB:What inspires you to continue on your natural hair journey?
Looking at all of the possibilities; all of the hairstyles that I’ll be able to achieve once my hair grows out a little bit more definitely inspires me. It’s amazing what  you can do with your natural, God-given locks.

NB: What makes you naturally glam?
The fact that I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own skin; the body that God has given me. The inner confidence that I have and the genuine smile that I wear.

NB: Anything else you would like to add about how you feel about natural hair?
I think natural hair is sexy and I can not wait until I have more of it… it’ll just be more hair to play with and try out new styles.

Thanks so much, Amy!! 

Have questions?? Drop them below!
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  1. Thank you for featuring Amy's story! My big chop is in two hours and this was the reassurance I needed. I've had relaxed hair since I was five. My first kitchen sink relaxer made my hair fall out! I've had "safe hair" since. I'm excited to embrace the hair God gave me. Since HE doesn't make mistakes I will see myself and my hair as beautiful. Thanks again!

  2. I love Amy's hair! It's very beautiful, and it's great to see her embracing it so much. I also had a relaxer since the age of 3 and one of my reasons of cutting my hair was also so that I could discover the real texture of my hair. Anyway, this post is very inspiring. At times, I get discouraged in my natural hair journey, but like Amy mentioned, all of the possibilities of what you can do with your natural hair keep me going.

  3. My friend shared this with me and Im glad she did. I feel like this is the closest story to mine that I've read. And she lives in Richmond (my hometown). This is truly inspiring!



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