*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
E: My name is Erin Alexis Randolph. I’m an actress from Rutherford, New Jersey.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
E: I decided to stay natural because nothing is more beautiful than my God-given hair.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
E: As the interracial child of divorced parents, growing up I would spend school weeks with my Caucasian mother and weekends with my African American father. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t know how to care for my extremely thick, curly hair. As a result, my hair would become a matted, unmanageable mess by the time the weekend rolled around. So every weekend my dad would take me down to my grandparents’ house where my grandmother would do her best to untangle my hair before sending me back to my mom. Thinking it would be easier for me to care for during my time away, my grandmother began chemically straightening my hair. And that’s how it was.
Growing up, I never developed a relationship with my hair. It was always a problem to be dealt with, over which I had no ownership. From an early age, I would threaten to shave my head simply to regain control of the hair I had surrendered. Then finally, I did it. My sophomore year of high school I cut my hair down to about a centimeter. At the time, I think about the why so much; I just wanted my grandmother and everyone else to stop playing with my hair. However in retrospect, I realize that’s what it’s all about: Taking ownership of the ugly you were born with and realizing just how beautiful it actually is. But that is a battle I’ve been fighting until now: To be confident. After that big chop I did let my hair be relaxed again, not by my grandmother but by “people who know better.” I would get my hair relaxed and then let it grow out; get it relaxed, then let it grow out. Only recently have I come to realize that I shouldn’t be so passive when it comes to my hair.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
E: When I’m feeling down, my natural hair often becomes the scapegoat for my misfortune. I feel that I would be more acceptably attractive if I were to relax my hair. Maybe men would find me more attractive and I wouldn’t still be single. And maybe, if my hair weren’t so ethnic, I would book more gigs. Never did I consider my hair could be holding me back in my career until one day when I was working as an extra on a television show. That day another extra came up to me wondering if it was difficult for me to find work since I have “principal” hair.
I had never thought of it. Is my hair making me stand out too much? Does my hair have too much personality to be an extra in the background? And if so, is that a bad thing? Don’t I want to be a principal? Don’t I want to have personality? But then again, wouldn’t it be nice to fade in, attract less attention, and make more money in the background. But then again, the grass is always greener on the other side. Maybe all my relationships and career woes have nothing to do with my hair at all. Maybe it’s me who feels shy to wear such aggressive hair. My natural hair attracts a lot of attention, but it’s more a distant freak kind of attention that gets admired from the distance as opposed to an attention people appreciate and want to be a part of. What does that mean? Meaning, I feel that people respect my natural hair, but wouldn’t want to rock the look themselves.
How would you describe your hair?
E: My hair actually reaches my mid-back, but coils so tightly that it never falls below my shoulder blades. As my hair grows, the coils become tighter and my afro becomes thicker and more round in shape. Also, the texture of my hair isn’t uniform; the curls are much looser toward the front, along my forehead to an inch or so in.
What is your regimen?
E: I have zero regimen or routine. Sometimes I shampoo and condition my hair several times a week; then there are times when I shampoo and condition once a week. Sometimes I only condition; other times I only shampoo. Generally, if my hair is feeling dry, I’ll only condition; if I want a tight curl, I’ll only shampoo. I’m not faithful to any brand or product. However, I try to only buy organic since I feel organic products are better for the environment, for my health, and for the health of my hair.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
E: I really don’t do anything. Recently I got a trim, but previous to that my last trim was in 2008. I asked the stylist if my hair seemed healthy and she thought that although I had some split ends, my hair is healthy. She told me that she usually recommends getting a trim every three months, but that isn’t as important for natural hair girls who take care of their hair. I really think that I retain length and moisture by not over using products or over styling, especially with heat.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
E: The biggest mistake I made was relaxing my hair just after finally growing out all the chemicals and having a full head of natural hair. At the time I thought, “My hair will be easier to take care of. Plus, I’ll be more pretty if I change my look.” But I was wrong, on both counts. And there was no going back. The texture just wasn’t the same. And even if there was a slight curl, my hair just didn’t have the natural beauty, natural personality, of natural hair. But, like a true addict, I still feel tempted at times to straighten my hair. I just have to remind myself that I can have the best of both worlds by styling my natural hair.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
E: Resist the temptation and just let it be.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
E: www.ErinAlexisRandolph.com, http://www.castingnetworks.com/ErinARandolph, http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/erinalexisrandolph