It's been quite a wild ride this fall – the most action packed two and half months of my life! Now that the 2017 portion of the book tour for The Curl Revolution: Inspiring Stories and Practical Advice from the NaturallyCurly Community is over, I've had time to take a breath, unpack my suitcase and reflect on some of the highlights of the tour.
Thanks to the momentum built by the influencers, stylists and curlies who have embraced it, the book still maintains its bestseller status, topping all hair books in Beauty, Grooming & Style on Amazon over the past 90 days. A big thank you Essence, Allure and Latina all for including it in your holiday gift guides!
Among my key takeaways, in no particular order:
1. Magic happens in person.
Even though NaturallyCurly is online, nothing can replace hugging someone and talking to them face to face.
Makeba Lindsay and sexologist Shan Boody in LA
2. Everyone has a story.
Some are heartbreaking. Some are funny. All have shaped in one way or another the curlies I met along the road. In one case, it was the constant back and forth between a mother and a daughter – the mom pressuring her to keep relaxing her hair after she opted to transition to her natural texture. Now the mother had moved on to what she should do with her childrens' hair. In another case, it was a mother with two young curly daughters, one who came and one who refused because she hated the way her hair looked.
3. Curly hair connects.
Each event attracted a wide ranges of ages, texture types and ethnicities. It was wonderful to meet greying curlies who had just embraced their texture as well as children who were inspired by all the curl love in the room.
2 new curlfriends in Miami at Quintessential Naturals
4. Throw away old hotel plastic keys.
I ended up with a large stack and was stuck at my door trying to figure out which one was the right one. I finally had to head downstairs to get a new one.
5. Uber drivers are wonderful!
I met so many interesting people, from San Francisco to Toronto. A big shout out to my Boston Uber driver, who insisted on taking me for a tour of Marblehead and Salem on my way to the airport from Beverly. And his wife just happened to be a client of Cala Renee Salon, where we held the event.
6. Just because you have an early flight is no excuse to wear your clothes inside out or backwards.
I kept wondering why my neck was itchy and it turned out my label was in the front.
Evelyn & I in Miami
7. Close doesn't mean best.
In booking hotels, proximity to the event was the big decider in where to stay. In some cases, that was fine. In others, not so much. I don't know where the travel web site got the photos from the "boutique hotel" in Miami, but it bore no resemblance to the old motel that Evelyn and I stayed at. It was downright scary, but having Evelyn along made it a lot more fun. Ask around before booking.
I went from balmy 80s in Fort Lauderdale to cool and foggy in San Francisco to snow in Toronto and back to the 80s in Miami.
Mom & I in Los Angeles
9. Take advantage of the opportunity.
In nearly every city, I was able to see a friend or relative. My mom and dad helped greet the crowd in L.A. and truly got to experience what this curl revolution is all about! In one case, a boyfriend from 32 years ago showed up at an event, which was a little surreal!
10. The curly world is filled with incredible entrepreneurs.
From Ouidad, "The Queen of Curls," to Jonathan Torch of Curly Hair Solutions to Nikia Phoenix, the lifestyle influencer and top model, this community is filled with amazing innovators. They all have made the world a better place for women with curly, coily and wavy hair.
Friends Jess McGuinty from Jessicurl and Cassidy Blackwell in SF
11. Every name can and probably is spelled multiple ways.
I met Ayshas, Aishas and Aishias. I met Micheles, Michelles and Michels. So ask before you write.
12. NaturallyCurly has touched so many people in different ways.
From introducing them to the stylist who now cuts their hair or the products that have become their Holy Grails to connecting them to other curlies to chat with on CurlTalk, I got to hear these stories firsthand. In some cases, it was the inspiration for them to start their brands, or was the place they launched their curly company.
Oasis Salon in Rockville, MG
Young attendee in Miami
With Diane Mary in NYC
With Ouidad in Fort Lauderdale
With MaduSalon in SF
With Robin Sjoblom of Southern Curl
With my curly likeness in Beverly, Mass.
Curly Hair Institute in Toronto
The first stop of the book tour in Austin, TX
Jamyla Bennu and I at Oyin Boutique & Salon in Baltimore
Cally from Curls & Co. Chicago
I'd also like to thank all the amazing stylists who welcomed me into your salons: Oasis Salon in Rockville, Md., Southern Curl in Atlanta, Cala Renee Salon in Beverly, Ma., MaduSalon in San Francisco, Curly Hair Institute in Toronto, Oyin Handmade Boutique & Salon in Baltimore and Curls and Co. in Chicago.