But for Tanya Wright - Deputy Kenya Jones on "True Blood" and Crystal on "Orange is the New Black" - her passion for natural hair has become an obsession.
Wright is raising money for a project called HAIRiette of Harlem, a 10-episode interactive series co-created by the community. It is about HAIRiette ARMS, an actress who discovers herself via her relationship with her hair - something Wright knows all about.
"I have been working for HAIRiette of HARLEM for the last two years, and it was time to share her with the rest of the world," says Wright.
The interactive series is about the life and times of HAIRiette ARMS, an actress who discovers herself via her relationship with her hair! At its core, this entertaining series with multi-cultural characters is designed to create a healthy awareness and esteem of women with textured hair. The show - which will launch online in April and on TV in July - will shoot in Harlem at the HAIRiette of HARLEM salon. It will also travel to hair shows, expos, film festivals, meet ups, churches, etc.
WHEN: April, 2014 (website launch); July, 2014 (series premiere!)
In conjunction with the series, she also is launching her HAIRiette haircare line. The shea-and- olive- oil- based HAIRiette haircare line is designed to meet the needs of naturally textured hair (moisture/hydration, frizz, shine).
The fundraising campaign kicks off Feb. 19th on RocketHub.com, when Wright will appear on a New York morning show alongside The Actor's Fund, which will receive a portion of the proceeds of every bottle of the hair-care line sold. She hopes to raise $50,000 in 50 days.
"I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about doing a fundraising campaign," Wright says. "It is by far the most vulnerable thing I've ever done! But it was clear it was the best way to launch the project. The series is co-created by the community, so it seemed only right that we would fund it together too!"
Wright's natural hair obsession really took off four years ago,
"There was something gnawing at me," she recalls. "I didn't feel like I had control over my life. I became fixated on one thing: my hair. Somehow, I thought if I could get control over my hair, maybe I could get control over my life! I always felt the curly mass atop my head gave me a Raggedy Ann sort of look. My hair was massive, cottony and swelled like a Chia pet whenever water/humidity got anywhere near it, which was pretty much every day."
After reading a book called "Curly Like Me" by Terri LaFleur, she became obsessed with YouTube hair tutorials and read every article, blog and book that had anything to do with naturally textured hair.
She started mixing hair potions (shea butter and olive oil were her ingredients of choice), and created a fictional character named HAIRiette. She began writing a book - "I found God in My Hair: 98 Spiritual Principles I learned from My Relationship with...My Hair!" - which she recently completed.
"I tied the books to the hair products to my alter ego, and put it under one umbrella - HAIRiette of HARLEM," Wright explains. "This project was made in loving celebration and gratitude for my natural hair. Cause we've come a long way, Baby!"
To take part in the series, check out HAIRiette of Harlem here.