CurlyTeen Scene is a column especially for curly teens. Julia Rizzo is a teenager living in Central New York. When not writing, she enjoys acting, reading and snow skiing. She has loved writing as long as she can remember, and plans to pursue a career in English. She hopes her column will provide encouragement and inspire girls to love their curly hair.

As someone with lots of curls, it’s not uncommon for people to describe me simply as “the girl with all the curly hair”. Even though I consider myself a very multi-dimensional person, often my hair is what people see as my distinguishing feature.

In this e-mail Sarah has experienced the same thing, and expresses her frustration:

“I'm 13 years old, and I have very, very curly hair. A lot of people tell me that my hair is really bouncy, and pretty, but others sort of look at my hair as frizzy and that I'm not normal because of my curls. The ways that they look at me make me feel self-conscious, like they can't get past my hair to see me. What can I do to fix this?"

Even though a curly girl’s hair often may be her most memorable feature, it is not what defines her. We all, as teenagers, have a range of passions and interests. I love to write, I read like crazy, and never have more fun than when I’m on stage or at an audition. This is what really makes me who I am — not my hair or anything else that is tangible. I always hope that the people around me can recognize this. I always try to let my passions shine through. For example, I join clubs where I can meet people with common interests. Strike up conversations with people you meet and share your interests with them. Share what you’re passionate about — whether it’s ballet or basketball — with those around you. People will see past your hair if you show them what really makes you tick.

Sometimes it’s harder, however, to feel completely comfortable with your hair. When I started middle school, I felt as if I stuck out. But I realized that people weren’t judging me on it as much as I thought, and while it wasn’t totally typical, my hair definitely wasn’t “not normal”. Looking around me now, I see a lot of confident women — including teens — with curly hair.

Curly girls are everywhere, and when you start looking for them, you’ll be surprised at how many confident curlies you’ll meet.