Hi! My name is Danetha and I was a cheerleader for the Indianapolis Colts for two seasons. This year, I am auditioning for the San Francisco 49ers Cheerleading squad…as a natural.
My hair journey, like many of my naturalista sistas, is deeply personally. I got my first relaxer at the age of 6. My hair was relatively healthy until the latter part of high school. One day, it just fell out! I had areas that were noticeably bald and had to wear a wig. But, that didn’t stop me from getting a relaxer. I felt that I would not look pretty with my natural hair and more importantly, I had no clue how to take care of it. I had been told my whole life that my hair was rough and needed chemicals in order for it to be presentable.
Fastforward a couple of years, I decided to audition for the Indianapolis Colts cheerleading squad. My hair was relatively healthy, but would not grow past my ears. I made the team and worked with one of the team’s stylists to determine my look. We decided that a long, straight weave would be best. I LOVED it. Finally, I had hair I could whip around and felt sexy when I performed on the field in front of thousands of fans. However while wearing the weave, I continued to get relaxers and my hair continued to shed and break. I was embarrassed to let anyone see my real hair and would never admit that I wore a weave.
My decision to go natural was a compilation of my traumatic experiences as well as seeing other women rock their natural hair. They were confident, beautiful and free…and I wanted that too! I was tired of depending on a stylist to take care of my hair, tired of hiding behind this fake security blanket aka my weave, tired of wasting 5 hours in the salon and tired of scheduling vacations and everything else around my hair schedule. Enough was enough. During my final season as cheerleader, I began my hair transition. I got my last relaxer in 2008 or 2009 and transitioned while wearing a weave. I cut off my relaxed ends at the end of 2009 and started 2010 with my natural hair. It was so liberating and I watched every Youtube video to learn new styles, conditioning techniques and to find a supportive community.
I moved to California to pursue professional opportunities and start my own accounting business. I’ve always wanted to get back to performing and this year I am auditioning for the San Francisco 49ers cheer squad. Although I am completely comfortable with my hair, up until about a month ago I was still considering wearing a weave or doing a keratin treatment for auditions. Something, anything, that would allow my hair to hang so I could whip it around when I dance. But, I would be reverting back to my old self again. The girl that hid behind her fake hair because she thought no one would accept or like her true self. This isn’t to say that I am opposed to weaves, relaxers, keratin treatments, etc. But, it wouldn’t feel right to me. I want to prove to myself that I my natural look is as good as any other look. There aren’t a lot of us naturalistas at auditions and it would mean the world to me to have your support while I prepare and go through the audition process. You can follow my journey-from determining the best hair style to workout tips to choosing my audition outfit(s)-through my various social media links below.
In a world of Basketball Wives and “The Game”, you rarely see natural hair represented in the arena of professional sports (except for male players who wear their hair big and curly/have locs). It would be refreshing to see some natural beauty represented! Ladies, what are your thoughts?