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Stephanie // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Sep 4, 2012

*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally

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Introduce yourself!
S:
Peace! My name is Stephanie Nnamani, but I publish under the pseudonym teff, THE don or Teff ‘the don’ Fonzarelli. I live in New York and I am the Expressionist. Expressionist is a term I use to identify my various artistic talents. 

How long have you been natural?
S:
I’ve been natural for a little over 5 years now.

How and why did you transition into natural hair?
S:
Towards the conclusion of my senior year in high school in 2007, I was amid recovering from surgery. I was diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid gland less than a year before. A consequence of the hormonal imbalance is the thinning of hair. Shortly after the surgery, the thickness in my hair had restored. I had quite a lot of growth and felt less and less inclined to retouch it. Before I knew it, 3 months had gone by without a touch-up; that’s when I did my first official big chop. I did it myself. I chopped off the permed ends and got braids immediately after in the Summer of 2007. I have three older sisters, 2 of which were natural at the time, so the transition didn’t seem too out of reach. Felt great, actually.

I wore braids for the next two years, applying hot-oil treatments between each interval. In April of 2010, I believe, I did another chop. Then I got my first, only, and last sew-in. As annoying as it was, it was very much conducive to hair growth. Like, dramatically. Unfortunately, I sustained a viral infection on the left side of my head, which resulted in hair loss. The scantiness was evident, and heavily contrasted against my then thick mane. I tried to have patience and wait for the hair to grow and even out the rest of my hair’s length, but that failed. I had always wanted to wear my hair short since 2004, 2005 maybe. I saw this as a chance and took it. If only I had known of the wonders of Jamaican castor oil then.

In September of 2010, I got my hair cut into a high-top fade with a diagonal tail trailing in the back towards the right side of my head. A month or so later, I got it partially bleached at a hair salon in Queens — the same hair salon/barbershop where I got it cut initially. It’s called The Legendary Hut and their staff is comprised of hairdressers who literally live up to that said name. I would recommend them to anyone. But I digress. It was such a rebellious move at the time. And that very rebelliousness extended itself into my poor care for my hair. No deep-conditioning treatment nor hot-oil treatments nor moisturizing regimen whatsoever. Eventually, my hair gave in to the dryness induced by the chemicals in the bleach and began to break. Lucky for me, I had a good amount of new-growth, so I fell back to my go-to protective style — box braids.

What are your must-have products for shampooing, conditioning and styling your hair?
S:
Ah! My hair regimen knows no solid structure at the moment. See, I’m still in the experimental phase — trying to figure out what my hair Loves best. Right now, I’m using Organix Renewing Moroccan Oil products — shampoo, conditioner, deep-conditioning treatment and curl-defining cream, and so far, so good. My hair absolutely loves olive oil, so I use it often. When I twist my hair, I use either virgin olive oil or Argan oil, Organix Intense Curl Cream and sometimes, Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner.

Tell us about your hair color?
S:
The front is black accentuated with blonde tips. The blonde is the remnants from when I had my hair previously bleached. The color did not change the texture of my hair as much as constantly having it in a protective style did. I know how to braid, so during intervals where I would have new-growth, I take the braids out, co-wash and re-braid it. I repeated this process for over a year, not aware that my hair would adapt and grow accustomed to being stretched. This is the longest my natural hair has ever been in the 5 years I’ve been natural. Considering I tend to cut it often.

What is your signature hairstyle?
S:
My signature hairstyle has got to be just about everything following going natural — the high-top fade, bleaching it and wearing braids. Especially the bleached high-top. At the time I did it, folks were not accustomed to seeing a woman with it. Shortly after I had it done, a lot of my audience felt prompted to get theirs done as well. I am very much versatile in the manner that I wear my hair on a day-to-day basis whether it be my own hair or braids.

Did going natural affect your style choices at all?
S:
Yes and no. Yes because like most it amplified my sense of self and confidence. No, because I think that aspect of my personal growth was inevitable. Wearing my hair natural just sort of…expedited the process. I am grateful for that.

How would you describe your personal style?
S:
Eclectic eccentricity. I don’t fit into a mold. My day-to-day style varies depending on my mood. I am a person of quality; I will award more attention to quality and fit over designer labels.

What are the three favorite things in your closet?
S:
Three favorite things? I like to think I don’t have any favorites. I love ’em all equally. Sometimes.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
S:
There’s several:
http://TEFFTOPIA.blogspot.com
http://teffTHEdon.tumblr.com
http://twitter.com/teffTHEdon
http://flickr.com/teffTHEdon
Facebook: Teffography/TEFFTOPIA

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About Meosha

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

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Jula
8 years ago

Very unique style. Love it!

merry
merry
8 years ago

it’s so weird how 80s style is so popular.

Zanthe
Zanthe
8 years ago

Not sure about the faux Italian mafioso pseudonym. It’s something immature rappers suffering identity crisis’ do, why not be comfortable enough with who she is and where her art/expression stands to just use her own name?

That aside, after what she went through, it’s great that she enjoys complete versatility and experimentation with her hair!

TEFF
8 years ago
Reply to  Zanthe

Lol. It’s not for you to be sure of nor to accept. Who are you to conclude that my usage of Fonzarelli is not comprised of comfort in who I am and symbolic in my Art and self-expression? The name Teff was not self-given; it was a nickname given to me by a very close-friend of mine, derived from the alternative way I spell my name — Steffanie. Fonzarelli is a consequence of my Love for the 70s sitcom, “Happy Days”. “The Fonz” is one of my favourite TV characters. When I began publishing my work, teff the don seemed… Read more »

AfroGeisha
AfroGeisha
8 years ago
Reply to  TEFF

I, too, am an artist and have a pseudonym. I love your self expression and vibrancy. Your style is gorgeous and I love how daring you are with your hair. A lot of times, we as artists, are misunderstood in all we do. But it’s not for the world to understand, as God knows that we bless and praise him with our talents! God bless you in all your endeavors and keep doing you.

Vanisha
8 years ago

sooo very cute!! we either follow each others tumblr orrr blogspot blogs lol and soon to be twitter ;]

vive
vive
8 years ago

Gorgeous hair! Are you Nigerian?

Landry
Landry
8 years ago

Very unique!

Kimberly
Kimberly
8 years ago

Thanks for sharing you story. You are so unique and beautiful!! You should join instagram and share your lovely pictures <3 🙂

KaraJ
KaraJ
8 years ago

I love people who are not afraid to express themselves in fashion that is not apart of the norm. I love your style and that cut is HAUTE!!!

Camille
Camille
8 years ago

Ok then, Fonzarelli is just plain stupid.

vive
vive
8 years ago
Reply to  Camille

Rude.

Venus
Venus
8 years ago
Reply to  vive

Extremely rude… And uncalled for

Miminaki
Miminaki
8 years ago
Reply to  Camille

Absolutely unnecessary. Wow.

NRC
NRC
8 years ago
Reply to  Camille

Its not any of your buisness what Teff The Don Fonzarelli would like to call herself. Why can’t we as a community be happy and support each other ugh!

Teff you are awesome.
From
A British Fan!

Jax
Jax
8 years ago
Reply to  NRC

What a bitchy thing to say…

Jula
8 years ago
Reply to  Camille

Do you have something against Fonz? Did he pee in your soup?

Crist
Crist
8 years ago
Reply to  Jula

LOL ill using this in my life ASAP

Love JAH
Love JAH
8 years ago
Reply to  Camille

People fear what they don’t know or just mock what they don’t understand…their words normally mirror the thoughts of themselves 1Love

sopheearr
sopheearr
8 years ago

Thank You soooo much for sharing your story!!
I have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism recently and am suffering from thinning hair. My hair is falling out in clumps sometimes. I have had locs for 1 year now, but I now want to chop off and start again, because I can’t stand this short and long business in my hair. You have inspired me. Thank You. xx!!

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

I like that you are yourself, unapologetically. Anyway shouln’t a‑holes, haters, or trifling bums be excluded from this site. There is always someone offering their opinion on irrelevance! It’s about hair people!

Adeyinka
8 years ago

I like her style. It’s bold and and has touches of femininity. Keep doing it up!

murukiNYA
murukiNYA
8 years ago

I absolutely love your style Teff. I’ve never commented but today I just had to give you a big shout out.
Absolutely love, love, love your personal identity and self expression!!!

Another fan from Britain xx

DiJah
DiJah
8 years ago

She is soooo New York, I love it!

meowmix
meowmix
8 years ago

Hey (in my Fonzie voice). Wow, this brings back memories. I actually had a poster of him as a kid. Thanks for sharing your story. Another one with thyroid problems here.

You have a great style. I LOVE the middle pictures in the 3rd and 4th rows.

Dana
Dana
8 years ago

She said “Peace! My name is Stephanie Nnamani, but I publish under the pseudonym teff, THE don or Teff ‘the don’ Fonzarelli. I live in New York and I am the Expressionist. Expressionist is a term I use to identify my various artistic talents.”

as if she could be from anywhere but NY…lol. Love it. She’s awesome.

Jasmine
Jasmine
8 years ago

I really love the way she pairs pieces together for an outfit it truly is a talent I wish I had. But her story was truly inspirational and every hairstyle was fierce!

jenn
jenn
8 years ago

thank you for an interview with a girl who loves her short hair. i have a medium length afro now but in the past i’ve rocked mohawks, box cuts and locs. afro textured hair is so versatile and i think teff’s style really showcases the unique and beautiful versatility of our hair.

yo teff, i also love the fonz. keep shining bright. artists should be bold.

Love JAH
Love JAH
8 years ago

She’s fab. She’s flyy. Nd even when she does her screw face she’s still so very pretty…I love the cut!

Kgomotso
Kgomotso
8 years ago

Teff, stay phly and true to yourself, your hair and style are BANGING! I’m South African / Zimbabwean, i have sooo many clan names from my maternal and paternal sides, who named me Lioness,the Upright Spear etc, when / if I get married I will acquire more names, which are essentially poems and cannot be regulated or criticized. I also write and create under various akas Afrokamikaze, FirePrincess, That vixen YuhShinHua etc. How you choose to partition / classify you identity is transient and YOUR business.

Anon
Anon
8 years ago

This comments section is very cult like

Warning for future posters — agree with everything, natural is superior and everyone and thing here is beautiful and right all the time. Should you disagree, then you are a fascist, unartistic, dictatorial monster.

Good day fragile people of the BGLH comments!

Nana
Nana
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

cry some more

df
df
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

I think you are forgetting the numerous “controversial” posts with hundreds of comments and many different people discussing (and sometimes arguing ) about their dissenting opinions. But suddenly this place is cult-like because people didn’t agree with (probably) one of your snarky comments about the style icon above.

Yeah sorry, you’re actually the one that’s coming off as fragile and butt-hurt. Good day to you too!

Landry
Landry
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Anon”: It appears that you are the fragile one…you haven’t posted your real name after all.

Also, if you a regular reader of this blog you would know that there are a variety of opinions and that no one is afraid to speak their mind. Your thinking is very “cult” like. #thatsall

Venus
Venus
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Lol you are the one that seems cult like and sensitive… You voice your opinion.. And people have the right to say how they feel about said opinion… That’s how it goes.. You expect to just say anything you want and not have ANYONE respond?? Seems kind of childish to me.. Just as you had the right to go against the grain… Others have the right to defend their opinions you went against.… Lol

Anon
Anon
8 years ago
Reply to  Venus

Oh no it’s the coven cult! I’m not upset by you or intimidated by you. I’m sure your names are really laundry bag, Venus and doofus. Keep the cult alive — go stir some more cauldrons. You are all hilarious! I’ve read this site for far too long and you people are funny, jumping all over my comment but I am butthurt (eloquent vocab) and sensitive keep sipping the witches brew, but I won’t be and it’s so sad to see idiots bleat about self expression and creativity and then try to suppress opinion that runs counter to their own… Read more »

df
df
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Yes butthurt is not eloquent but this comments cements its accuracy. Hey it happens, I’ve been there and from my experience, id say it’s time for someone to take a break from the Internet and go out and get some fresh air! Cause it ain’t that serious and when you get to chillax, you’ll probably realize it too. LOL @ calling us witches…I guess we are “good” ones then?

Anon
Anon
8 years ago
Reply to  df

Doofus, you’re so amusing but it’s time you hung up the keyboard warrior outfit, it’s becoming tired.

df
df
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

LOL…i’ll admit i like the term “keyboard warrior outfit”. I think i’ll start using it but who am I supposed to credit ANON??? Anyway, it’s been real. I hope you get to get a chance to relax because internet induced anger never ends up being worth it, k bb?

Oh and you can have the last word if you wish. OMG YOU WON!

Anon
Anon
8 years ago
Reply to  df

Word

Camille
Camille
8 years ago

Teff ‘the don’ Fonzarelli, I do love your style …truly.

These people are hiliarious to irritate Anon. People, people, if you give yourself a pseudonym you DON“T CARE what others think.

Coming from someone who watched Happy Days live and not on TV LAND…Hey!!!!!!

Jula
8 years ago

Idiots with nothing better to do.

EsMag
EsMag
8 years ago

.….…I can see it already. The comment section will be closed soon lol.

Anyways, it’s nice to see someone who isn’t obsessed with length retention and curl defining on here.
Gorgeous lady, great style, love the hair! Oh and I peeped that last name #9ja #igbokwenu! Even though I’m not Igbo haha

Sabina
Sabina
8 years ago

Gorgeous! I love your hair and style.

Brain Injury
7 years ago

Actually looking at the blog ought to help a lot with remarks. Many people simply toss down the “thank you” as well as move on. Not really useful. Arguing is actually great, on the other hand will not care whether anyone differ until you let me know the reason why and also back up your role. The viewpoint (as well as my very own) are pointless with out some reasoned reasons and also (hopefully) details.

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