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leela

The gorgeous R&B singer-songwriter, Leela James, is a true diva. She has a new album, My Soul, that was released in May 2010. Her sultry ballads and soulful lyrics have brought her much-deserved acclaim around the world, but it's her hair that won her iconic status in the curly world! Leela is one of the most down to earth celebs I've interviewed to date—she definitely keeps it real!

On her hair story...

"I've never had a relaxer. I've pretty much worn my hair braided, pressed and curled, or in natural 'out' styles my entire life. If you were to bump into me on a regular day, I'd probably be in cornrows, box braids, plaits... you know, Poetic Justice-esque."

On her current routine...

"I wash, condition, deep condition and style every couple of weeks. I'm not married to any particular line or brand of products—I just use whatever is on hand. When I go to the salon, they use their products, and when I'm at home, I use whatever is in arm's reach.

"I usually wash and condition in the shower, but I've been known to flip my hair over into the kitchen sink too... old-school style, LOL! It all depends on my mood.

"I deep condition and apply hot oil treatments regularly. I recommend this to everyone, at least once a month."

On achieving her HUGE and fierce 'fro...

"On wash day, I apply a leave-in conditioner and create 5 or 6 braids or plaits. I braid on damp hair and allow it to air-dry. Once it's fully dry, I take the braids down, comb them, and then tease it out using a pick or a wide-toothed comb. Sometimes I'll lightly blow it out with a dryer, but that's really it! In between styling sessions, I dampen the hair, re-braid and repeat."

"On achieving her chunkier, more defined styles...

It's almost the same routine. The major difference is that I braid my wet hair (instead of damp), and take them down before they have time to fully dry and set. This creates a tighter curl pattern, but as you tease it out, it loosens up a bit.

"When I'm on the road, it's pretty much the same thing. I plait it up, or do nothing and go. I don't really have a true routine. I'm really not fussy with this stuff and I'm very lazy when it comes to my hair."

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On straight styles...

"My mother presses my hair and she uses old school pomades and/or a light grease. Very simple. It's always fun to switch it up from time to time."

On protecting her hair at night...

"Most nights I dampen it a bit with water, apply a little leave-in conditioner and re-braid. I sleep in a silk or satin scarf as well. Other nights, I don't do anything!"

On adding pieces for length or volume...

"I do, occasionally. But a girl can't disclose all of her secrets! Some things need to be left to curiosity. Plus, it ain't none of y'alls business, LOL!"

On being natural...

"It's easy and you don't really have to worry about hardcore maintenance (like hot curling it every day, or trying to keep it straight)."

On helping others embrace their natural hair...

"I think it should be 'to each his own'. I really do. Whatever you feel most comfortable doing...do just that. There is no right or wrong way to wear YOUR hair, or do you. If you want to wear your hair weaved up, if you want to wear your hair natural, if you want to cut it off or shave it bald...whatever! Do whatever you want to do, because there are no rules, it's your head. Your hair is not who you are, it's just a part of you. It should be looked at like an accessory, and I feel that sometimes, people make too much out of it. It's just not that deep to me.

"I do what I feel comfortable doing and that just happens to be 'natural hair'. For some reason, my hair has become this thing that everybody thinks of as my signature trademark. But no! I'm just lazy, and this works for me. And at the end of the day, if I feel like switching it up and doing something totally different, if I want to wear my hair straight, that's what I'm going to do! It just depends on how I'm feeling, and what I'm able to handle at the time."

On her inspiration for 'My Soul'...

"My inspiration is pretty much myself and my personal experiences leading up to the release of this album from the first album. I was involved in 'My Soul' from the beginning to the end, and the journey in transitioning from one label to another, and switching management, really played a factor in how I wanted to go about the whole recording process... the whole album.

"Last time I went through a lot, and this go round, it was all me. These are my songs, my thoughts, my lyrics... all of the above! It's coming from my soul.... nobody else's but mine.

"The album is still in stores, but you can also get it online (itunes) as well. Hit me up on Facebook and follow me on Twitter ! I'm on the road getting ready to do some tour dates over seas as well as the States. So come check me out... and FOCUS ON MY MUSIC, NOT MY HAIR, how 'bout that?!

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0 Comments
Love the hair advice. I will definitely try them. I always wondered how she achieved such a full look, now I know.
she seems extremely laid back and cool! What an amazing head of hair, she rocks it WELL :D http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

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