>CurlyTeen Scene is a column especially for curly teens. Julia Rizzo is a teenager living in Central New York. When not writing, she enjoys acting, reading and snow skiing. She has loved writing as long as she can remember, and plans to pursue a career in English. She hopes her column will provide encouragement and inspire girls to love their curly hair.

When I sat down to write this column, I originally intended to write about famous people and cultural icons with curly hair. My friend Brynna and I started to make a list, but this was more of an undertaking than we had bargained for. We could come up with a few right away: Shirley Temple, Albert Einstein, and Marge Simpson. Unfortunately, there just aren’t a lot of curly-haired people — especially women — in the media. Albert Einstein is hardly a fashion icon for anyone, much less teenage girls. As much as I appreciate his genius, I don’t want my brother taking fashion tips from him. Even people with beautiful curls like Beyoncé and Sarah Jessica Parker often are photographed with their hair straightened or processed.

Growing up, it was hard to accept my hair, especially when exposed to movies like Princess Diaries, where the main character, Anne Hathaway, is suddenly transformed by a little makeup and the liberal use of a hair straightener. Does having curly hair make you an “ugly duckling”? Does beauty mean straight hair? I don’t think so!

As I grew older and more mature, I realized that like so many other messages mass media sends us, this isn’t one we should take to heart. Sure, I use more conditioner in a week than most girls do in a month. But I realized that I love the fact that old ladies and teenage boys alike compliment me on my curls.

So I looked a little harder, working to find good examples of curly girls and guys in the media. Shakira is a fellow curly girl who is rarely seen with straightened hair. Even at the Grammies, her signature hair flowed freely down her back. Classical singer Josh Groban and America Idol competitor Justin Guarini both rock their curls, along with fellow pop artist Justin Timberlake. Still, this leaves something to be desired in the “curly haired women in the media” category.

While we were talking about the column, my friend Brynna said, “Hollywood just needs to liberate their locks." I think she’s right! In the meantime, however, communities like the one here at NaturallyCurly.com are a blessing!

So, instead of saying “stay curly” to end this column, I’m going to sign off a little differently this month:

Liberate your Locks!