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Erin // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • May 23, 2012

*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally

Photo Credit: Qlick Photography/Gregorie Guillaume — HueKnewIt.com

Introduce yourself!
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

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About Meosha

Just another lover of natural hair and expression. - Style Icon Coordinator for BGLH

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B
B
8 years ago

Great story, I can only imagine whats it like to have kinky hair, while your mother has Wash n go, straight European (white) hair. I would love to hear Erins feelings on that…

Erin Alexis
Erin Alexis
8 years ago
Reply to  B

Hi! This is Erin. Hopefully, this reply will reach you. You know, as a biracial kid, I never saw race. Of course the reality was surrounding me, but at the time my mom was my mom and my dad was my dad. I didn’t see color or culture. And, probably highlighted by the divorce/separation, each parent and each family had their individuality about them. (Though it was the outside world that would hint that I was different, like a wink that I would understand later.) That said, growing up I didn’t have “kinky hair”… my hair was my hair. None… Read more »

Jasminicole
Jasminicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Erin Alexis

and you do!

soph
soph
8 years ago

Powerful!

Mae
Mae
8 years ago

Inspiring story indeed. May your story encourage other girls to learn to maximize the natural beauty of their hair. You’re a natural beauty, Erin 🙂

DiJah
DiJah
8 years ago

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair? E: Resist the temptation and just let it be. ^^^^^^ I so agree! I love Erin’s story. Unlike others (which I am not knocking), I can relate to hers more, especially when she noted that she doesn’t really have a regimen and doesn’t do anything special to retain length. Sometimes when you read these stories and folks give you a list of things they do, for me, i’m like damn..I don’t do ANY of that, I just let my hair be! Yes I do care for my hair, but in… Read more »

Lexi
8 years ago
Reply to  DiJah

^ Agree!

Shones
8 years ago
Reply to  DiJah

I agree! I often feel this way. The longer my hair gets, the longer twists take, and honestly, most of the time I just want to wash and go. So that’s what I do. It’s easy and free! Thank you for your story, Erin! and i KNEW i recognized you — the Boutique de Bandeau model. Tres chic.

Bootiful
Bootiful
8 years ago

You are gorgeous, and I would have no idea that you were biracial. Your case is yet another example of white women sleeping black but having no clue about the culture or our ways of life. Stay strong.

DiJah
DiJah
8 years ago
Reply to  Bootiful

You think that was a decent thing to say? Smh!

Bruna
Bruna
8 years ago
Reply to  Bootiful

Umm, lots of black moms don’t know how to care for natural hair either. (like mine) Slapping a relaxer on your kid’s hair, burning it with a hot comb and putting a bunch of grease on it is not taking good care of your child’s hair. Whether you are a non-black or a black mom, you should take the time to learn how to care for your kid’s hair.

Erin, I love your story and your hair is beautiful!

denaturalistas
8 years ago
Reply to  Bootiful

You DO realize you are talking about her MOTHER don’t you? I’m sorry. That was very disrespectful.

maeve
maeve
8 years ago
Reply to  denaturalistas

This persons name is “bootiful” clearly they are lacking something upstairs.

LOL
LOL
8 years ago
Reply to  Bootiful

LMAO

Zoopath
Zoopath
8 years ago

I love your hair accessories! I’m tempted to buy a few even though I don’t wear WNG’s because I don’t have time for a long shower ritual in the morning.

Carla
8 years ago

Erin, you’re beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

Toya | The Limerick Lane

Great read!! I totally can identify with Erin having a hard time embracing her hair texture and feeling less attractive. This is my daily struggle. I wonder if I would still be single with straight hair. I also think I exude more confidence when I wear my hair straight. Never noticed it until my white co-worker mentioned it to me. But with time, I’m learning to love my hair.

Lexi
8 years ago

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.”
^ I totally can relate to that statement on so many different levels beyond hair!
One of the best interviews in my opinion!

Annie L.
Annie L.
8 years ago

Just loved this interview! And I just KNEW she was the woman on Etsy, Lol! It’s hard to believe with a gorgeous face and smile like that that she worries whether her hair is complicating her love life, but she’s not alone. ‘Does my hair have too much personality to be an extra in the background?’ I caught my breath when I read that! There’s something about this being a question as opposed to an overly-compensating declaration, ‘Hell yeah, curls!’ that struck me as so powerful. As much as we’ve been forced to be background due to skin color and… Read more »

Rukiyat G.
8 years ago
Reply to  Annie L.

+1

Sylvia
Sylvia
8 years ago

Erin, you’re beautiful, and I love how introspective you were in sharing your story. On a more shallow note, I also love the lipstick and blush shades in your first photo. Do you mind sharing what colors/brands you’re wearing?

Erin Alexis
Erin Alexis
8 years ago
Reply to  Sylvia

Hi! This is Erin. First of all, thank you very much for your kind words. I apologize for taking a few days to reply, but I didn’t know the answers to your questions. That photo was taken during a photo shoot for Gregorie Guillaume, Founder and Beauty Editor of http://www.hueknewit.com; so it is she who, in fact, provided the answers below. Eyes: MAC Pigment,m Golden Lemon Lashes: MAC #33 Lips: Matesse Elite Lip Gel, Starlit (Ricky’s NYC makeup brand) Cheeks: I can’t recall the color. Reader can try one of the blush shades from Bobbi Brown (depends on her skin… Read more »

Goldeelocks
8 years ago

Very interesting! Loving the photos.

Alisha
8 years ago

This was a great piece. She comes across as thoughtful, introspective and affirming. I love her hair and she’s very beautiful. And I recognized her from Etsy, too!

aiych
aiych
8 years ago

I like her honesty and I am glad she is not afraid to speak about the insecurities that I bet many of us naturals face.

I read this interview all the way through, it was refreshing.

kiki
kiki
8 years ago
Reply to  aiych

Agreed!

Gaëlle
Gaëlle
8 years ago

Erin,
I found your interview so true and so moving. I can totally identify myself with you and your doubts. I think it’s all question of self confidence and acceptance. In spite of all those interviews and bloggers about natural hair, body, health, etc… that are so great, it’s not so easy to love yourself.You can’t buy some self assurance to the supermarket! The way can be a bit long but so far you did a great job.
Keep resisting. You’re so beautiful. Thank you for your honesty.I know now I’m not alone.

V
V
8 years ago

I love how honest and candid Erin was in this interview. Thank you for sharing your story and letting us in. Keep setting yourself apart. I wish you the best of success in your acting career and other endeavors.

Sieta
8 years ago

Nice interview, pretty lady and I love the hair.

Shak
Shak
8 years ago

This is one of my favorite interviews! I can totally relate to the wanting folks to stay out of your hair and taking ownership of it.
Like many others here have stated, this was very insightful and I want to applaud Erin on sharing with us. I have many actor friends in the same boat, and it hurts me to hear of the rejection that they face based on their outward appearance, but think of it this way, the best actors shine from within. People will and, honestly, already do see that.

kiki
kiki
8 years ago

I love your honesty. You have a way with words. My friend is an actress whose afro helped her get gigs. I can’t wait to see all of your wonderful accomplishments.

Jnappygirl
8 years ago

Hi,nice hair and great interview, thank you for sharing 🙂

berit
berit
8 years ago

I was actually smiling when I’ve read this article, because I have the same kind of problems.

Although I am white I have very thick curls, that do not straighten out when I let my hair grow and that are a lot straighter in the back than they are in the front.

BluJay
8 years ago

A powerful story with beauty to match. You, madam, are now my hair muse 🙂

trisha
trisha
8 years ago

Whats your beauty regime? Such as skin? What are your lifestyle habits? You are so beautiful inside and outside 🙂

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

Hi sis! i am surpirsed to see all that blogs and peoples talking about u, thats make me so proud of you! u my Ideal in my life and i love u so much! i wish u in everuthing the Best but i am still jealouse from one think about u thats u will be in Heaven for sure! you in and outside beautiful! you are the best for me, love u sis, keep going.

Zefri
6 years ago

wala ko kabalo nga pede day ma bugho ang dahon sa gumlemaa? hehehe abi ko man ug aloe vera ug gata ra ehehehe!sos, mahal man pod dire sa TX te puro tubo jud sya kau dire kay parehas lang man sa pinas ang weather dire salamat sa visit!

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