Curly Teen Scene

Email your questions to Julia.

Note: High school columnist Julia Rizzo has entered her freshman year at Cornell University where she will continue to write about being a curly teen.

As I boot up my computer and sit down to type my column, I can’t help but remember writing last month’s column, sitting in the family room at my house, the sound of conversation and SportsCenter in the background. I took a break to eat dinner with my family, and then did a little packing.

I was packing because I was going to be leaving for college in a few days. I’m a freshman and it’s hard to believe I’ve been away for more than a month. As I meet new people I frequently hear “Oh, I love your hair! Do you ever straighten it?!?” Not really, I tell them, I prefer to wear it curly.

It’s strange, starting over, coming to a new place. For the first time I had the opportunity to fully reinvent myself. People only know what you tell them. They have no other insight into your past. I could become someone completely different.

There is my curly roommate who can’t believe how rarely (read: almost never”> I straighten my hair. We had an interesting conversation during our first week of classes when she realized I had curly hair, she assumed I’d be adept at using a flat iron and could help her (at home, her mother lent a hand”>. She told me this while she was straightening my hair, in the middle of our communal kitchen.

It was kind of an odd scene, so I’ll start from the beginning. We were getting ready to go out and she asked if she could straighten my hair. Wanting to get to know her better, plus a little curious about how I’d look, I assented. She plugged the flat iron into an outlet in our room and promptly blew a fuse. (I should have taken it as a sign.”> After getting some help resetting the circuit breaker, we relocated to the kitchen. After a considerable amount of time (and a few odd looks from people who came in to use the microwave”>, she was done. My new look went over well with my hallmates, but their reaction was different than how my friends at home would have responded to the new look. Since they didn’t know me very well, they weren’t aware of the significance of the change. Seeing my roommate, Cheryline’s, hair straight, and then curly, and then straight, they thought I styled my hair the same way. After I showed my friends this column, they made me promise to admit to my readers that I let my hair be straightened. So, in the interest of full disclosure, that’s what I’m doing!

My change in style was interesting, but it was kind of a relief to wash it the next day and have it revert back to curly. Cheryline quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be straightening my hair regularly. But I haven’t given up trying to convert her to a full time curly girl. I’m getting there.

Stay Curly,


Cozy Friedman


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