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Karyn Parsons

Seeing other gorgeous naturals inspired her

My hair was not surviving show biz… it just wasn’t having it, so at the suggestion of many colleagues, I got a weave. The weave situation didn’t do well for me because it itched and drove me nuts. I’d be sitting in restaurants looking over at knives thinking, that would feel really good right now. Looking for sharp pointy objects to scratch my scalp [Laughter]. It was hard because I like to work out and I sweat a lot. My roots were puffy under the tracks and itched like mad. Finally, at some point toward the end of the show and during the filming of Major Payne, they started putting wigs on me. They of course could never get those right either. But I was like, ‘you can’t fry my hair everyday! I won’t have any hair left!’ It was the last and most obvious option. I remember Nia Long taking me out wig shopping, to no avail.

Once I stopped doing the show and I was back on my own. I still continued the texturizing thing. And when I had my kids, I became even more relaxed about my hair. I wasn’t acting as much and I wasn’t thinking about anything but my family.

CN: Trust me, I understand. My hair has taken a total backseat to my new, chunky- cheeked obligation!

KP: In my opinion, my hair never (in any condition) looked that great. I had a couple of instances where I felt good about my hair, but in retrospect, I can see that now, it is so much fuller and healthier. The texturizer, the heat, the tracks… it was all taking a toll. But at the time, my gauge of what was healthy was still within the confines of being treated with chemicals.

CN: So when did you decide to go natural? Did you transition or Big Chop? What was your ‘aha moment’ or turning point?

KP: I decided to go for it last summer. The summer of 2010. I had a hairdresser that was trying to get me to agree to a Brazilian Keratin Treatment. All I could think was, ‘What happens if I don’t like it, or can’t get my hair curly again? What if it doesn’t look good on me?’ He was really pushing for it, and I was nervous and leery. I ended up not doing it and actually went in the total opposite direction. I began doing my own research, and came across your site and others.

The turning point came when I saw a girl working at the café near my house. Her natural hair was gorgeous, healthy, and so vibrant. It wasn’t long, and her cropped cut really complimented her face. I was like, ‘your hair!’ and she responded, ‘your hair!’ And I was like, ‘no, no, no. Your hair!’ I had on a cap, but she was going on and on about my Fresh Prince hair. I complimented her and told her how beautiful her hair was and how it looked so alive. That encounter really stuck with me. My meeting her was a big part of my decision to embrace my natural hair. There is nothing like seeing a pretty, healthy head of hair in person. Style wise, I felt like if my hair was like that, I wouldn’t feel so limited in my options.

So, yeah, I started browsing through sites. But it wasn’t until recently when I got on Twitter, and started seeing all the pictures of gorgeous naturals, that I hit pay dirt. It kept me inspired and going and faithful that I was on the right track. It also was a constant reminder that at some point, I too would be comfortable with my natural texture. I’m so glad there is a support system out there.

Unlike some, I’ve always wanted big, wild, and curly hair, which is why people probably thought I was natural. I was using the texturizer as an excuse-- thinking my natural hair would be difficult to manage, hard to detangle, and constantly knot up. I was so wrong.

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Fun interview! I too loved "Hillary" and her hair! Curlys unite!;)
I loved her as Hillary and ALWAYS wanted my hair to look like hers! I'm so glad she's embraced her natural texture!

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