The glorious thing about curls is that they are not limited to a race, gender, or nationality, they are worldwide and celebrated by curlies everywhere. The wonderfully talented Andrea Lewis who surpasses the triple threat box with actress, writer, producer, and YouTuber attached to her credentials is a Canadian curly who embraces and loves her natural hair. Hailing from Toronto, ON where she began her career in hit tv shows like Degrassi: The Next Generation, this multi-talented woman learned the art of self-love at an early age where curls were widely accepted in her home country. She shares her hair journey, curly girl struggles, and holy grails with the NaturallyCurly community.
What has your hair taught you about yourself?
"I feel like you create a beauty standard when you’re younger and experiment with it as you get older. I often like to go back to the original me, like how I looked when I was younger with fuller, longer and healthier hair. But I realize I need to learn to be patient and let my hair be what it’s going to be. I apply this to life as well, it’s synonymous."
What are your holy grails?
“My holy grails consist of Kinky Curly Knot-Today, Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner, and the Coil Kink and Curl Styling Cream. You want something simple, not 80 products. I like a one-two step process with a balance between the hold and softness. It’s a challenging combination to define but I get this when applying both the Kinky Curly and Mixed Chicks Leave-In conditioners together.” Jane Carter “Untangle Me Weightless Leave-In” Condition from the “Curls To Go” Line is also great for curls on the go and gives me soft curls and a light hold.”
Do you feel the natural hair movement is a trend?
“The Natural Hair Movement has been going on for a long time, but it seems like it’s trendier in the media and with hair companies. They must keep up with the trend of it. For examples, I’d heard of the term co-wash from YouTube years ago and now every company has one as part of their line.”
“It's interesting because for commercials wearing curly hair was acceptable, but TV and Film featured more straight-haired actresses. Now in prime-time television, it’s starting to become normalized and more people are coming to recognize it and embrace it.”
What are some curly girl problems you've endured along your journey? Had did you overcome it?
“Last year I dyed my hair with box dye from the drug store, which I used to do all the time not noticing the damage it could entail. It taught me that relatively cheaper products that are quick/easy end up costing me more in the end. Curly hair is more fragile than you realize. Whether it’s dyed or straightened, if it was still soft I assumed it was fine. The result was that my curls were damaged, they didn’t sit right and I was in the process of trying to start over with my curl routine.”
“Reclaiming your curls is a process, and just when you think you have it figured out since I’ve been told your hair renews itself every seven years. I’ve also learned that environment changes your hair, which I’ve had to experience living here in Los Angeles. I have to wash my hair more due to the drier climate and I’m constantly learning that my texture requires more washes and I can’t emulate other people.”
What's the hair culture like in Canada?
“I grew up in Toronto where curly hair was more accepted. I didn’t grow-up with relaxers, but I experienced heat damage from straightening. In TV, I looked for characters that reflected my hair, which I saw in Sister, Sister or musicians like Kelis who wore their curls out loud and proud.”
Did you ever experience any challenges to wear your curly hair when filming Degrassi in Canada?
“In Degrassi, they worked with whatever I did. I would often film right after I go out of school so I had the freedom to wear my hair as I wanted. They gave all of us actors the freedom to represent the trends and styles that reflected teen culture at the time. As a black actress in Canada, hairdressers can be intimidated by styling your hair, so I usually showed up ready in whatever I felt was going to be accepted.
Are you living outside of the U.S. and want to share your hair journey? If so, submit your story to submissions