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LaShelle McCoyLaShelle before being styled by Amika

NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself! Where are you from?

LaShelle McCoy: My name is LaShelle McCoy. I’m originally from Dayton, Ohio and I am a Tuskegee University Alumni. I currently reside in Merritt Island, FL, where I am a Sustainable Systems Research Scientist at the Kennedy Space Center. I grew up always having a passion for science and hair. As a little girl, I would  spend hours in my room doing my baby dolls’ hair while watching sci-fi classics like Star Trek: Next Generation. So my current fixation on hair and my job as a researcher do not come as a surprise to those who grew up around me.

NaturallyCurly: Tell us a little about your hair story, please!

LM: One of my biggest pet peeves is when somebody tells me, “Oh, you have that good hair” (referring to its texture). It makes me so mad because my hair isn’t “good” because of its looser curl pattern. It’s “good” because it’s healthy.  If you’re reading this and you don’t agree, consider this: my curl pattern does not keep me from getting split ends, breakage, dryness and thinning edges. Those ailments do not discriminate between tighter and looser textured hair.

I first decided to go natural in the summer of 2007 after dealing with bouts of massive hair shed because of scalp infections from dirty hair salons. I was fed up and no longer wanted to be dependent on the “creamy crack” or be at the mercy of some random hair dresser who was not concerned with the health of my hair. I had always had long, healthy, relaxed hair, so big chopping down to a TWA was not an option for me. I transitioned for two years.

During that time, I didn’t know about CurlyNikki, NaturallyCurly or any other curly hair source of information. I transitioned, armed only with the hair care knowledge imparted to me by my mother. My whole regimen consisted of a weekly deep protein treatment, a blow out and a press. My only style was a bun. I BC’d in May 2009 only to find that my hair didn’t look anything like what I had been seeing on YouTube. (I bet the constant flat ironing had something to do with it!) I struggled with the wash 'n go looks only to give up and resort to wigs to hide, what I deemed, “ dysfunctional hair." And then, I found CurlyNikki.com (the day she had Gia!). Her website saved my hair and my sanity!

For me, one of the highlights was when a group of eager eyed ladies, with camera in hand, approached me, asking, “Are you Curly Nikki?” This didn’t happen once, but many times!

NC: Tell us about your experience as a VIC at the NaturallyCurly Pool Party! What was your experience like? Any highlights?

LM: I thoroughly enjoyed the pool party! The venue was absolutely beautiful. When I arrived, I was greeted by stylish curlies of all kinds and taken to the VIC cabana. I chatted it up with the other VICs, talking hair care and raving over our huge goodie bags. Carte blanche access to the bar was the cherry on top of the proverbial cake! After taking my “before” pictures, I was taken to the Amika booth and my hair was curled using their clipless iron. The stylist was very understanding when I expressed concerns over the use of high heat and gracefully used a low temperature to curl my hair. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the style came out considering no styling products were used and my hair was in a blown out state. After a while, the heat and humidity turned it into this wild-child look that I really loved! I can embrace frizz.

For me, one of the highlights was when a group of eager eyed ladies, with camera in hand, approached me asking, “Are you CurlyNikki?” This didn’t just happen once, but many times! I asked one lady why she thought I was CurlyNikki, she said it was the hair and the swag! I’m like, "What?!  I have CurlyNikki swag? Oh yeah!"

NC: How and when did you start embracing your curls or have you always enjoyed and embraced your curls?

LM: I have not always embraced my curls.  Besides empowering knowledge gained from blogs and YouTube, a major contributing factor to my developing a love of my hair has been my boyfriend. He would say, “Why do you have to wear those wigs? I like YOUR hair. YOUR hair!” And as if words were not enough, on the days that I would venture out with my natural curls, his eyes would shine and he’d look at it in a way that is hard for me to explain...like he was seeing real beauty, I guess. That is when I fully understood that a woman’s hair is her glory. Not plastic tresses created by man. Not hair cut from a poor women in India or Malaysia and glued, sewn and tied into yours. Your hair is your glory. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t find anything wrong with wearing wigs or weaves. I still love them! But it becomes an issue when you wear them to hide an insecurity or disguise damaged hair. I was wearing them because I thought that it looked better than my own hair. It took me a year to realize that healthy hair will always look better than a $20 half wig from the beauty supply store.

Read More: Real Texture Talk: VIC Sherene Roach

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