Just to refresh your memory, as the winner I was flown to New York in May 2006 for a makeover with "Curly Girl" author Lorraine Massey of Devachan Salon.

My life as a curly girl was changed by that trip. The way I wash my hair has changed. The way I style my hair has changed. The way I feel about my curls has changed. I realize there are a lot of people out there with curls. I love my curls and I don’t want to straighten my hair anymore.

People are always talking to my parents about my curls. They ask my mom how to maintain it, how to wash and style it, what products to use, and who cuts my hair (they know Dad is clueless).

Since I met Lorraine, I have been very careful about cutting my hair. Lorraine told me “just let your hair grow for 6 years.” Other than cutting some split ends, we have followed her advice. I really do need to let my hair grow a lot so the weight of my hair will allow it to grow down and long instead of out. My hair needs to do a lot more growing. But that's okay. I am willing to wait.

I use all of the Devacurl products. They make my curls look better and softer. I use the Devacurl No-Poo, Low-Poo, One Condition, Angell, B'Leave in, and Set It Free.

My curls are usually dry, and my two days of swim practice each week in chlorine water make them even drier. That’s why I recently started conditioning every day, and only No-Pooing two times a week in the hopes that my curls will get softer and less frizzy on top.

I am very careful not to brush or mess with my curls when I get out of the shower. To dry my hair, I only dab and scrunch my hair with a rag (not a terry-cloth towel). Try a t-shirt. It works!

Then I use the Devacurl AnGell to get my curls to look tight. I use Devacurl B’ Leave In conditioner on my ends to give them even more conditioning. If I have time, I put my hair in clips, spray on some Set It Free and let it dry. After all this prep, I end up with the curls I want.

My friends from my soccer team love to play with my curls and they ask me all the time how I get my hair to look the way it does. That makes me feel special in a good way instead of different in a bad way.

I am now proud to say I am a curly girl, and I hope that all those curly girls out there start wearing their hair with pride and not hiding it. I recommend headbands. They look cute with curls.

Keep that curl pride!

Your fellow curly girl,