Danetha Doe, former Indianapolis Colts cheerleader, is auditioning for the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush squad. While she cheered, she wore a relaxer and weaves. Since then, Danetha has embraced her natural hair and will rock it during auditions! NaturallyCurly interviewed her about her natural hair journey on and off the field.
NC: Do you feel pressure to wear your hair relaxed or wear weaves in your industry?
DD: Yes, there is a certain level of pressure to wear a weave in the professional dance industry. Parts of our dance routines have "hairography" elements where you have to whip your hair. With afro textured hair, my hair doesn't whip like it does with a weave and sometimes I feel out of place during those sequences because of my hair texture.
NC: What has your experience been wearing your hair natural to auditions?
DD: So far, I've had a positive experience wearing my hair to the preparation clinics for Auditions. I'm the only one rocking an afro and I've received a lot of compliments on my hair. Also, since there are so many girls in the process, it's important to find a way to make yourself noticed. My hair has definitely helped me stand out! My biggest concern is making sure I don't sweat my hair out after a long day of heavy dancing!
NC: What has the reaction been from other cheerleaders? From staff? From your family?
DD: The reaction from other cheerleaders, and staff, has been really positive. I've received a lot of compliments from the Gold Rush squad and other ladies that are trying out. I've also had women from other squads from the NFL and NBA reach out to me and wish me luck! The overall support, especially from those that don't have afro textured hair, has been amazing and reassuring.
NC: Were you a slow transitioner or a big chopper and why?
DD: I was a slow transitioner! I actually transitioned during my last season as a cheerleader for the Indianapolis Colts while wearing a weave. This process made the most sense to me. Since I was already a part of a squad, a drastic change to my look would have been difficult to do during the NFL season. After the season I rocked my natural hair and about eight months later, I cut off the remaining relaxed ends.
NC: What has been your greatest challenge transitioning?
DD: My greatest challenge transitioning was learning how to take care of my hair. My hair was very damaged while I wore a relaxer and I dealt with a lot of breakage and shedding. Once I went natural, my hair was much healthier but I had no clue how to moisturize or style it. I had a couple of friends who were natural, but I mostly relied on YouTube and blogs like Curly Nikki and NaturallyCurly to help me!
NC: How does your hair affect your persona on the field? Is that different now that you're natural?
DD: Well, I hope that I make the squad and I can tell you how it feels to be natural on the field!! But, hair can be a huge aspect of cheering on the field. Whipping your hair and flipping it around is all a part of being an attractive and sexy performer in the field. I definitely felt confident during my time with the Indianapolis Colts with my long hair and pretending that I was Beyonce! I hope that if I make the squad, I can maintain that level of confidence and inspire other women that you can be beautiful by rocking your naturally gorgeous look!
NC: Have you inspired any of your fellow cheerleaders to go natural?
DD: I have inspired other cheerleaders! Which is so awesome!! One example, a former Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleader is now auditioning for the Atlanta Falcons squad. She recently did the big chop and was thinking about wearing a wig or weave to auditions. She read my story in Ultimate Cheerleaders and has decided to rock her natural look at the auditions. Sooo cool and it reassured me that this is bigger than me making the SF 49ers squad. Its about helping to change mainstream's idea of beauty and helping other women recognize their own beauty.
NC: What's your current hair routine?
DD: My current hair routine is really simple! Once a week, I rinse my hair with Black Tea and deep condition it with mayo, olive oil and egg. I rinse it out and do the Curly Girl method. Once I get out of the shower, I add castor oil to my hair and wrap it with a towel. After 30 mins-1 hour, I run a styling product through it and either flat twist it back, two strand twist or braid it. I wear my hair in one of those protective styles for the remainder of the week. The last day or two, I untwist or unbraid it and rock it out. Once a month, I shampoo my hair to remove the buildup.
NC: Must-have products?
DD: I'm still trying to figure out what products I like! But, so far I really like Cantu Shea Butter, the Deva Curl line and the Kinky Curly Custard. Oh, and I have to have castor oil. It has worked wonders on my hair. My hair is colored right now (it's a honey brown color), so I've been using John Frieda's brilliant brunette's conditioner to accentuate the color.
NC: What do you do to maintain your hair at night?
DD: I have to braid or twist my hair at night or it will be a hot mess in the morning. If it's not already in a protective style, I'll add a little castor oil with Cantu's Shea Butter conditioner and braid it into 8 braids.
NC: What do you love the most about your hair?
DD: I LOVE the versatility of my hair. I can wear any style I want and I'm not dependent on a chemical or heat to make it happen.
NC: What advice can you extend to some of the natural newbies?
DD: My advice to natural newbies...is to enjoy every moment! Totally cliche, and not what you want to hear, but like life- learning to love your natural hair is a journey. Everyday you'll learn something new about your hair and its beauty and uniqueness.
NC: What are you working on now?
DD: I am a financial strategist and launched my accounting practice, EmeryCloud, last year. I provide bookkeeping, accounting, strategy consulting services to clients within the beauty and fashion industry! I love what I do and helping others build their dreams into successful, profitable businesses.
NC: How can our readers find you on the web?
DD: You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube (handles for all of those is MissDanetha) or my company's websitewww.emerycloud.com. I regularly post fitness tips and business/finance advice!