I recently spoke with the brain behind The Curl Talk Project creator, Johanna Yaovi, a French marketing professional currently living in London. Below, get to know Yaovi's personal inspiration behind the initiative and more. A collection of stories of women from a range of various countries, backgrounds and ethnicities who share the reality of having textured hair in today's society, the Curl Talk Project is all about representation and showing unconditional love to people who deal with a "condition of beauty: hair" in their everyday lives.
I used to have a curly afro but decided to shave my hair recently.
I now have tiny curls growing out of my head.
Now that I embrace my curls, my hair journey is very fun and simple. I like to try different routines and procedures; I am becoming more curious about the different things that can be done with my hair.
As curly haired women, we are lucky enough to have a very versatile hairtype. It's important to have fun with it but also be aware of the amount of love and care it needs.
Topics such as representation, diversity, race, and culture have always been very important and interesting to me, but, I didn't feel like I was doing anything with these passions.
And so, as a curly-hair-obsessed individual, creating something that would link textured hair to these notions was an obvious decision. I tend to think that your interests should lead to somewhere or something concrete, and, if it doesn't come to you, you need to create it yourself.
The biggest challenge and reward in The Curl Talk Project
The most challenging part was to believe in myself and my ability to create something great. Not knowing how to use a real camera, my insecurity in regards to my written English (as a nonnative English person) or even my introversion, made me doubt a lot about the possible end result. But as often, these doubts are mostly irrational. The idea is to stop finding excuses and do the work, whatever it takes.
The most positive part? The way the Curl Talk Project has been received. Since its launch, so many women are getting in touch, telling me how important this is for them but also for following generations.
It's great to see that what you had in mind and what you worked for is reaching the hearts of so many people.
My thoughts on natural hair in the workplace
It really depends of the sector people are working in. Curly haired women working in creative industries might be in a better place than curlies evolving in a very corporate environment.
However, this contrast shows that textured hair isn't fully assimilated, it's still not seen as a normal thing everywhere. Even when colleagues have nice things to say about our hair, they will very often highlight how different it is. Not different from theirs, just different. In my opinion, this is where the issue lies.
Being different from each other is unavoidable and it's what makes our society so rich and multicultural.
But simply being defined 'different' by someone who sees him/herself as the norm can be frustrating, as it almost questions our place in society. I believe that the general perception of curly hair needs to change for it to be fully accepted in the workplace.
We still have some work to do on this.
I believe the natural hair community has an immense impact on each of us. It materialises the idea that we shouldn't limit ourselves to what the mainstream media are showing us. This community is sending a strong message: not seeing ourselves represented doesn't mean we should let this happen without trying to create and disrupt the beauty industry as it is today.
However, more could be done. Opening a discussion about the curly hair experience is the reason why I created the Curl Talk Project as it's also important to associate our hair with more than just beauty tips and routines.
My advice for beginner naturals
Take your time and question the decisions you are making in regards to your hair. Are you altering your hair nature because you don't like it? If so, why don't you?
Are your decisions taken to please yourself or society?
When we are younger, we tend to convince ourselves that we made a choice but questioning our own mindset enables us to see if it really is the case. I wish someone could have told me that when I was 12 and convinced that straight hair was the only way for me to be beautiful.