Meet Jenell Stewart at Curlvolution 2015
Ahead of the 4th annual CURLVOLUTION natural hair and beauty show in London, we sat down with Jenell Stewart; the award-winning natural hair blogger behind 'KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com' to find out about her hair journey, her blogging success and what she is most looking forward to at this year's show.
Your decision to do the ‘big chop’ was pretty spontaneous. What was your hair like at the time?
I’m so impulsive. When I decide to do something, I just have to do it; it's like I have an itch that won’t go away. I installed kinky twists into my relaxed hair and did the big chop a week later. It cost me about $120 including the hair and it all went down the drain because I was ready to cut off the relaxer in my hair.
Were you aware of the growing movement towards natural hair at the time?
None of my family, friends or colleagues were natural back in 2010, I had no idea that 5 years later there would be millions of women going natural!
The success of 'KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com' has opened many doors for you; hosting events, working with big brands and travelling the world. What has been your favourite moment in the journey so far?
Because I spend most of the working day in my office writing and editing articles, filming and editing videos and taking phone meetings, when I do finally get the chance to go out and meet the women I am influencing, it makes all that time working in solitude worthwhile.
You’re a special guest at the Curlvolution Show on 23 May 2015 where you’ll be on the Panel and hosting your own workshop. How important are shows like Curlvolution?
Shows like CURLVOLUTION are a must for women who are either thinking of wearing their hair natural, have just become natural or have been natural for a while because there is no other type of place for women to commune and celebrate their natural beauty. Natural hair isn’t as widespread as women who are involved in the industry might think. There are many women lacking support, lacking haircare education and struggling with their decision to go natural. CURLVOLUTION creates a safe place for women to meet, network, get information and purchase products made for them.
What are you most looking forward to about this years show?
The most exciting thing for me is to meet the U.K. naturals! I’ve established a wide audience base that reaches to the UK and beyond, plus this will be my first time in the U.K.
What do you hope attendees will take from your workshop?
After the workshop, my curlfriends will have the necessary foundational skills to establish a natural hair regimen or improve their existing natural hair regimen. Natural hair requires time and effort just like anything else you care about in your life.
There have been a number of incidents where natural hair (and hairstyles synonymous with afro hair) have been mocked. Do you think natural afro hair is accepted in the mainstream and if not, what can we do to change this?
African culture has always influenced mainstream media, beauty and fashion; although not always shown in the most positive light. The more we as African-Caribbean people continue to speak out and demand positive representation, the more natural hair will become accepted.
How would you like to see the natural hair movement progress into the future?
Our natural hair is who we are: it’s the way our hair grows (when it's not chemically altered). As we educate ourselves on the effects of chemical relaxers, I believe that we will see more and more women going longer in-between relaxer treatments and ultimately ceasing to relax their hair altogether.
What is your top tip for natural healthy hair?
Drink lots of water for moisturised hair - it's crucial!
What’s next for Jenell Stewart and 'KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com'?
I’m currently on 'A Dinner with Curlfriends' tour around the U.S. For more information you can visit Meetup.com/kinkycurlycoilyme.
Curlvolution takes place on Saturday 23 May 2015 at the Hilton, Canary Wharf in London. For more information and to book your ticket, go to www.curlvolution.com