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Tanika Ray

"Big and curly... this is me!" - Tanika Ray

So I did that for a while—I even went to college that way. And then I got sick of putting chemicals on my head. But I did want to experiment with color. And I knew with my type of hair, perm and color was a dangerous combination. It wasn’t worth me having hair break off, or me living in the hair salon to keep it conditioned. It’s not my favorite place to be. I’m going to be perfectly honest, I feel like there’s another way to spend 8 hours of your day than sitting in the hair salon. And this hair salon was social central. She would do 3 people at once, so you’d sit, and you’d talk, and it was your whole Saturday! I loved being outside, I wanted to do things, I wanted to go see my boyfriend... whatever it was, I didn’t want to be stuck in the hair salon all day. So I had to pick one or the other. And I picked hair color over perming.

CN: Did you transition out of the relaxer, or big chop?

TR: I went through a transition where I was kind of sick of the hair thing. Everybody else was like "your hair is so pretty," "so long," it became everybody else’s thing, versus mine. It became the thing that everyone wanted to talk about except for me. It became the thing that everybody put so much pressure on me about, and at the end of the day, I was like, it’s just hair. I realized that I had to take my hair power back... reclaim it. So I chopped it all off. I don’t know if you’ve ever been short before, but there is nothing like a woman finding her beauty, her self-esteem, and her sexuality, sans hair, and I loved it. It was powerful.

I cut it to like about an inch and a half, and rocked a really short 'do for a while… for nearly 8 years. I've always been interested in hairstyles that I could visualize and clearly describe but according to hairstylists are a little tricky to execute. I went to all the top black salons in L.A. and said, "I want a short, cute, rock 'n roll, spiky ‘do." Most of all, I wanted it be low maintenance. Can you believe I was turned away?! Every hair salon was like, "No, no, you gotta get a perm, gotta do this, gotta blow dry it, gotta use a curling iron." It seemed so daunting, and I all I wanted was a cute, spiky ‘do—I wanted to wash, let it get spiky, and go. I wanted to be like 30 seconds, in and out of my bathroom. So I finally succumbed, and returned to the relaxer, thinking it would be easier. And let me tell you, I hated it! Hated it, hated it, hated it! It was so stringy and thin. The perm was too strong, and proved too much for my poor strands. I actually shared this on the "Today Show." We were talking about worst hair styles, and that was the picture I showed—with my hair short, really, really straight, and spiky. On top of it damaging my hair, it still was too much work, and wasn’t the easy wash and wear style I was hoping for. It was time to move on.

CN: So you decided to stop perming and grow it out?

TR: I’m a curly girl, I know this... I always knew this. It just sucked that once I was out of the short, straight hair phase, that I had to wait for my hair to grow back out. I wanted to just snap my fingers and have my curls back. But you have to be willing to be patient enough to go through a year and a half of bad hair days, and just embrace it and work with what you have. And eventually, it will evolve into something beautiful! Big and curly... this is me! And luckily as the perm grew out, my curls came back in. And that’s the hair that you saw me on "Extra" with.

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0 Comments
Great article and good for her - making peace with her hair.
I love her hair. And I just gotta ask, what nationality is she?

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