NC: What is the best thing about being curly?
MKG: No one can tell if it is not cut perfectly! I have been cutting my hair at home for almost ten years, which is nice for my budget! I used to cut it wet, but now I cut it piece by piece when it is dry and curly. It's nice being able to count on beachy waves after swimming in the ocean. Above all, I think the best part is versatility — curly hair is just a little more interesting than straight hair.
NC: How do you think having curly hair impacts your everyday life?
MKG: Having wavy/curly hair taught me valuable lessons about vanity, humility, and self-worth. I was deeply insecure about my hair as a teenager, and before I learned how to make my hair work for me, I learned to value myself beyond what I saw (and often loathed) in the mirror.
At fifteen, before I understood any of the deeper social and cultural contexts, I swore that India.Arie was singing "I am not my hair" directly to me. I learned to not feel boxed in or defined by my hair, my freckles, my weight or whatever my insecurity of the week might be.
NC: What would you tell others to encourage them to embrace their curls?
MKG: Going with whatever your hair wants to be naturally saves so much time and energy. You have curly hair? Rock it! Straight hair? That's great too! No hair? I'm sure that you have a beautiful head! We turn our hair, and our appearance in general, into a symbol of who we are, how pretty we are, how special we are — but when it comes down to it, it's just hair. You are more important than what is on your head — you are not an object to be tweaked and fixed, and your value is much deeper than your appearance.
NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects!
MKG: I am enjoying grad school and interning as a counselor at El Centro de Cardenal, a youth GED program that is part of the Dorchester branch of Catholic Charities. This is also my third year as a resident assistant at Boston College, where I have had the opportunity to get to know many amazing women and men. I like life chats, tea, cooking and bicycles, and I am always looking for half-decent horchata in Boston.