A national advertising campaign hailing the beauty of curls. A fashion designer who used all curly models. A singer who flaunts her natural hair. Product packaging decorated with beautiful curlies.

These are the winners of NaturallyCurly.com’s first annual Curly Awards, given to those who have been leaders this year in spreading the message of curl pride. Each, in their own way, sent a message that waves, curls and kinks are beautiful.

Pantene received a Curly this year for its product launch of the Pro-V Curls Collection. The company used curly actress Maria Menounos as its spokesmodel in TV and print ads for the extensive product line.

‘Curly hair means something different to everyone, and we wanted to celebrate that,’ said Valerie Garcia, Pantene Brand Manager. ‘Maria does her hair in many different ways, and the ad shows how Pantene can give her the different curly looks she wants — from ringlets to loose waves.’

To come up with the new collection, Pantene looked at consumer preferences, overall fashion trends and new curl technologies that the company’s research and development group had been working on. Garcia says she’s proud of the fact that the campaign was consumer-driven.

‘Curls are on trend and these Pantene products allow women to make the most of their curly styles,’ Garcia says. ‘The TV commercial also makes people smile, which we love!’

Singer Nadia Turner made an entrance this year on American Idol with her curly, sassy afro. On the program, she showed that her natural hair — which is 4A in texture — could be versatile as well. Who could forget the mohawk (or was it a ‘frohawk?”> she showed off on the 1980s theme night? Turner said she had few problems being accepted with her natural hair, and thinks it actually worked to her advantage while auditioning for American Idol.

‘I’ve been getting lots of compliments on it,’ Turner told NaturallyCurly.com earlier this year. ‘Lots of celebrities I’ve met have told me they love it.’

Fashion design Coco Kliks, a favorite with hip, young celebrities, received a Curly for her Spring 2006 fashion show, in which nearly every model sported curly or kinky hair. Kliks said her theme for the collection was the discovery of Tahiti, and she wanted her models to look like goddesses emerging from the ocean. Curly, texured hair, she said, was essential for that look, she said.

‘One of the main factors in booking the models we did was that they have the right hair,’ said Kliks, adding that she ‘loves curly hair.’

Burt’s Bees was awarded a curly for its use of curly models on its cosmetics packaging.

‘We want to represent a diversity of women,’ said Mandy Lozano, spokeswoman for the beauty company. ‘Our models represent natural beauty.’

Michelle Breyer

Michelle Breyer

As co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the NaturallyCurly.com® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.

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