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Carolina Curlies Pageant It's really nice to see natural hair men and women in the media who proudly showing off what makes them unique and loveably curly. For so long it was clear that having either naturally curly, coily, or big hair was not in vogue. There were ads that dissed our natural texture and even issues with travelers' afros being inspected at the airport. The good news is that those days are closer to being over as we move toward a new perspective and understanding of how multifaceted beauty really is.

In an effort to progress toward this future of curly acceptance, Columbia, South Carolina will be hosting Miss Naturally Crowned Carolina with a sponsorship from the Atlanta-based hair care company, Koils by Nature. Taking place Apr. 12, 2014, the historical hair competition is the first of its kind for this region and will open the doors for Columbia’s natural hair community to showcase the beauty of natural hair in another light -- pageant light.

Co-founders Jessica Boyd and Maureen Ochola decided that not only will this pageant assist in fundraising for their shop Quench Natural Beauty Boutique (which will be Columbia’s first specialty beauty supply store -- cool!) but it will also empower women who dare to live authentically despite the social implications. This competition follows in the steps of other trends that are widening the definition of beauty. Considering the history of natural hair as it relates to beauty, a competition that celebrates and awards the beauty of natural hair is truly significant.

Times have changed quite a bit and with the inclusion of textured hair models in fashion shows, television programs, billboard ads, and even in the canon as our new style icons, it is clear that there is nowhere to go but up for our community. Little hubs that edify and encourage our personal decision to keep it curly are popping up all around the globe. Between various artwork, community discussions, online articles, and curl-friendly products, we know that the natural hair age has dawned and will live another day because of our persistence to be ourselves and not conform to the status quo. With the support from events like Miss Naturally Crowned Carolina, we are redefining beauty for ourselves.

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