Image source @janerarose
Hair isn’t just about looks. For many women, hair is an outward expression of self love. From an early age, Janera took pride in her hair and its versatility. She channeled this creative energy into an illustrious career of beauty and styling. Between leading a team of volunteers to pamper women in need and styling Janet Jackson, Janera is an innovator in the world of natural hair. We dive deep into her inspirations and creations to find out more about Janera’s magic.
1. What inspired you to do this work?
For as long as I can remember I was interested in hair – whenever I was asked as a child what store I wanted to go to, it was always the “beauty supply store.” My mother would work overnight shifts at the hospital leaving my father to style my hair before school, so I learned pretty early on how I liked my hair and how I did not like my hair. Practicing on myself turned into practicing on others, and because practice makes perfect, by the time I was in middle school I had a side hustle of braiding hair for the kids in my neighborhood. I attended cosmetology school directly after high school, and 10 years later, I never would have imaged that a skill that I picked up during childhood would take me all over the world, reward me with invaluable opportunities and become a means to provide for my family.
Image source: @janerarose
2. What was it like growing up with textured hair?
My favorite part about growing up with textured hair was wash day. Before I became my own little hairstylist, my mother typically kept my hair braided with beads or in ponytails; She was not a fan of styles that made young girls look “too grown.” But on wash day, before she proceeded with my kid-friendly styling routine, she would always let me stare at myself in the mirror while my hair was wet and curly, then again after it was blown out and hot combed. Whether curly or straight, I always admired the versatility of my hair and was taught very early on that everything from my brown skin to my textured hair was beautiful!
3. What are some of your most memorable moments of your professional journey?
I have SO many, but I’d say that my most recent memorable moments would be: 1. Working on set for Janet Jackson’s “Made For Now” music video. 2. My latest campaign with L’Oréal that was narrated by Beyoncé’s Makeup Artist, Sir John. These moments are most memorable because they were both ‘aha’ reminders of how hard work, prayer and persistence eventually…inevitably pay off.
Image source: @janerarose
4. When creating styles, where do you draw your inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from a variety of sources such as art, music, books and magazines, fashion trends (current and previous) and social media. The best part about working in a major city like NYC is that you can literally walk down your block and be inspired by the people and the culture – it’s easy to see what’s in, what’s out, what’s new and what’s coming back in style.
5. What does natural hair represent to you?
Natural hair represents unfiltered beauty and the ability to love every inch of yourself, even down to your hair follicles. Natural hair represents freedom, strength, power, versatility and diversity. Natural hair - in all of it’s kinky-curly-coily glory- is captivating!
6. What legacy do you strive to leave?
When I am not working on set, I work with underserved women in marginalized communities by providing pampering services to residents of public housing facilities. These services include facials, hairstyling, makeup application and manicures. About two years ago I started volunteering once a month; now I’ve have created a small team of stylists that have worked with 23 facilities and have provided services for over 1500 women. It is very important for me to utilize this skill that God has given me not only for my worldly advancement, but to enrich the lives of others. I hope to expand this ‘purpose project’ globally, pass it down to my children and have it live on for many generations after my departure from this Earth.
Image source: @janerarose
7. What are your top tips to protect the crown?
Physically? If you want to keep, treat and grow your edges, purchase a satin bonnet or a satin pillowcase. Scalp massages reign supreme for growth and stimulation. Also, purchase products created with integrity from hair brands such as Oyin Handmade, TGIN, Alikay Naturals, EDEN BodyWorks, Jane Carter Solution, Camille Rose…and the list goes on.
Mentally? Find your peace! Whether it be a concrete plan toward financial freedom, carving out an hour a week to read something new or do a face mask, try to fill your life with more of what you love. With so much going on in the world around us, it’s important to constantly nourish our mind, body and soul.
8. What are your thoughts on the natural hair
From events like Curlfest and Texture on the Runway to platforms like Naturally Curly, the natural hair movement has created limitless spaces for women of color. Many have managed to update their hair regimens with texture-based recommendations from online and offline friends. Some have created profitable and flourishing hair care businesses that educate and cater to women worldwide. Others have simply found the courage to wear their homegrown tresses in the workplace with pride and without shame.
From mainstream to the hood, from work to the gym to happy hour, the natural hair movement has restored our confidence, redefined our sisterhood and heightened our influence!