Julia Rizzo

Julia Rizzo

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.

Middle school was a crazy time for me. Everyone was changing and growing, and social circles and interests shifted constantly. People seemed to separate into two group — the “cool” and the “uncool."

In middle school, I was decidedly “uncool” In seventh grade I was self-conscious about the way I looked. I really had no idea how to take care of my hair, so I did one of two things. I would either brush it until every snarl (and with it every defined curl) was gone, leaving it a frizzy triangle, or twist into a tight bun at the nape of my neck. Depending on the day, I looked like I’d been electrocuted or like I was posing as the headmistress of a very strict boarding school.

A few friends thought the solution was straightening my hair. “Have you every tried it?” they said. “You’d look sooo pretty!” These comments were reinforced by makeover shows and movies like "The Princess Diaries" where women had their hair blown out as part of a dramatic makeover.

My mother refused to buy me a straightener, taking me to a local salon instead. The hairstylist there changed the way I looked at my curls! She took away my hairbrush and replaced it with leave-in conditioner. She taught me how to diffuse my hair, so if I didn’t have time to air dry it. I could skip toweling, which just creates more frizz. Suddenly I had hair I could manage! A severe twist or a frizzy ball became a cascade of curls, a playful ponytail or an easy up-do. My classmates stopped pestering me to straighten my hair, and a few had even left their flatirons behind themselves!

Learning how to take care of my hair gave me fresh confidence that I took with me as I started high school, and I soon realized that embracing my curls simplified my life.

I rock my hair, even on days when it’s less than perfect. I sleep in later, my curls are healthier, and I don’t fear the weather. Even better, I enjoy watching my little sister, Lilly, go through middle school as a confident, content curly girl. Although she couldn’t straighten her hair if she tried, her unblinking acceptance of her unconventional curls never fails to make me smile.

Stay Curly,