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Hello, I'm Nikki. I currently live in Chicago, but I'm from Alexandria, Louisiana. My hair journey has taught me so much, the most important lesson being to learn from every mistake you make and move on.

How long have you been natural?

I have been natural since 2005. I first tried during summer break of 2000, but sadly, my mom wasn't having it when school started so I restarted my journey in April of 2011.

What motivated you to go natural?

I decided to stop relaxing because I wanted options. I wanted to be able to switch from straight to curly whenever I wanted. I also loved highlights and knew I couldn't have both a relaxer and dye in my hair. So, I chose color.

Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?

Fortunately, I have both transitioned and big chopped. I decided to cut my hair long after I stopped getting relaxers in October of 2005 and my hair had grown to bra strap length. I let my sister's college friend braid my hair as a protective style, but ironically, the take down was devastating. I had to cut it shoulder length. Soon after, I saw a gorgeous short cut and was inspired to be adventurous. I went to a stylist that was known for her short haircuts and I just KNEW she was gonna hook me up. I let her cut my hair in a short pixie and after, she said "if you want it to look like the picture, you're gonna have to RELAX it". I was hot! I walked out in tears because I felt as if I couldn’t get the look I wanted the natural way. At that point, I had been begging my mother for a "perm" since I was 9, and I was tired of the hassle. Sticking to my initial promise to myself and my hair, I got a new cut the weekend of the Circle City Classic, a huge event in the HBCU world. I thought I was gonna be FLY for the weekend, but with the new cut, I looked horrible. My friends grabbed a bucket of brown gel and went to work.

After 5 years of being natural, I thought I had the swing of things. I had tried it all. Obviously not on the same page as I was, my hair said no more! It was completely damaged from hair color and heat damage, two patches had completely melted and broken off during a highlighting session and what was left was bone straight. April 2011 was the official start of my transition. Even though I had a bad experience with the big chop, I’m grateful for the ability to understand both methods of going natural.

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