Actress Giovonnie Samuels, best known for her role in "Bring It On: All or Nothing," is natural and rocking it beautifully! For those of you from my generation, you may also recognize her from Nickelodeon's "All That" (I used to love that show!). She also had reoccurring roles in Disney Channel's "That's So Raven," and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."
Recently I was able to sit down with her On the Couch to discuss her lock journey, fav products, and thoughts on natural hair in the entertainment industry.
CN: Tell us your Hair Story!
Gio: I first got my locks when I was around 8 years old! I had really long hair as a child, and my mother and I would fight when she would try to do it, you know what I mean—press, braids, whatever. I can't remember who applied my first perm, but that petty much killed my hair! Almost a year later, I saw this lady with the most beautiful locks I'd ever seen—Dr. Joanna Cornwell, and she was wearing sister locks. I went home right away and begged my mother to do my hair like that—haven't looked back since!
CN: Have you always liked your natural hair? If not, how did you come to embrace it?
Gio: ALWAYS!! I grew up around women that had natural hair—my grandma, aunties, and my mom. My mother was always trying new things with her hair, from long and red to short and honey blond. In fact, my mother was doing the short bold cut way before any of the stars today! She has always been ahead of her time. I saw how happy and beautiful they felt, like nothing was wrong with having YOUR hair. It wasn't until I got into the entertainment industry that people had problems with my natural hair. That's why I cut my locks this past January—they were down to my butt and now they're in a short bob.
CN: What is your current routine?
Gio: I wash my hair like most people—once a week in the winter, and twice a week in the summertime. I condition mostly in the summer because I like to sit in the sun so my hair dries faster. I curl my locks when I feel like doing something sassy or if i want to change my look.
CN: How does your routine change when you're on set?
Gio: When I arrive on set, most of the hair people have no idea what to do with me. They just look at me with that . . . 'uhmm I don't know what to do with that?!' face. I shake my head, laugh and style my own hair most of the time.
CN: What are your must-have products?!
Gio: OOOHH! Pantene Pro-v Relaxed & Natural (the one in the brown bottle for black people, lol). I just love the way it smells! For a deep condition, I use the Sisterlocks Moisture Treatment and Silk Elements Glossing Polish—it adds a nice shine to my hair and again, I like the way it smells!
CN: How do you protect your hair at night?
Gio: Not a thing, LOL! Unless I have it curled, then I may put a wrap on it, but most of the time nothing.
CN: What's the best thing about being natural?
Gio: Getting up in the morning and not having to do anything to my hair if I want to! I LOVE THAT! I love the fact that I have a choice to do my hair unlike most of my girl friends. Sometimes I feel bad for them when we go out—it takes them forever to get ready, and they still worry about their hair when we get to where we're going! I just laugh!
CN: What would you tell a woman who has yet to embrace her natural hair?
Gio: You know, it's hard for me to sell someone else on natural hair for so many reasons. For one, until that woman feels like she is more than just her hair, then I can't talk to her. Until women stop feeling like the only way to achieve beauty is to install a weave . . . I can't do anything. I blame society! Everyone is stuck on only one view of beauty. I gets NO love from the brothas on the West Coast. If I want to get a date, I have to go to the East Coast (guys on the west coast won't say two words, let alone look my way because of my locks). Now if I was in New York or down in Atlanta, I couldn't get down the block good before someone is asking for my number (I'm not saying this because I'm on TV, I'm saying this from my personal experiences, and my other girlfriend with natural hair experiences this as well). It's just sad that most people only have one way of seeing someone as beautiful. Think about it, when was the last time you saw anyone on any magazine with natural hair other then for natural hair? I hope that one day I can change that.
CN: What would you tell a woman considering locking?
Gio: GO FOR IT!! You can do so much more with your life—swim, run, jump, play, LOL! Also, getting up in the morning and hair being the LAST thing on you mind . . . priceless! Your hair grows better, you're not frying your brain with perms, and you can do just as much if not more with your hair in its natural state!
CN: Who is your natural hair inspiration?
Gio: It used to be Lauryn Hill before she cut off all of her hair. Now its just me... I'm my own hair inspiration! I know that I'm a role model for little girls. Sometimes I feel like the only actress with natural hair... sad. I hope that the little girls that see me on TV will see natural hair as beautiful.
CN: Tell us about your upcoming projects and ventures!
Gio: Hopefully I'll be on a new show soon! But for now, I'm just teaching, acting and writing blogs, LOL!
CN: Anything else you'd like to add?
Gio: I love my hair!!!