Category Archives: Season 2 Judges

My thoughts and observations of Challenge #4

As usual, it was a delight to see the contestants express themselves mentally and visually for their challenge.  This time around I took a different approached and looked at the photos first and read the submissions after wards.  Here is what I observed.



Valaira’s images were most dynamic.  It seemed that her approach to here photo were well thought out.  It look like a considerable amount of time and effort was put into what she presented.   It was very compelling that each of her images looked totally different, shot in a different locale with a different look and energy.  The images were striking and memorable.

Valaira’s story of seeking her inner truth from with-in was an open and genuine  sharing and I found her perspective unique to the group.


Chistina’s photos expressed color, joy and exuberance.  The smile was ever present even when it wasn’t on her lips but came from her spirit and her eyes.   Her play with color was delightful.

When first looking at Christina’s images the thing that stood out for me was the shine in the fabrics used for her head-ties.  She then tied in this same concept when she explained her choice of cloth, her eyes telling her story, her goals and the tools she uses to express herself.  Her story and her photo were complimentary.



My favorite photo of Safeeya was the one with the leopard head tie.  It image set a mood and reminded me of Josephine Baker.

Safeeya’s story hit on a universal truth about the power of a smile, the gift of a smile and how it can relax one and others and how it can open doors.  I love how she uses her inner and outer smile to carry her through her day and how in anchors her when she’s facing challenging or  unfamiliar circumstances.


Janeria’s images did not offer enough diversity, they were the same looks but with different poses.

Janeria’s story of how she unfolds during the shooting process was insightful. It’s wonderful to hear a story of a young model so self possessed and grounded in her own truth.



Toshia has an undeniable beaut.  She would look good in anything.  However, this challenge was to use hats and scarves and I did not see the creativity here in these images.  They seem to all have the same head wrap used in the same way in each image.  There were no images with hats on and so for me the photos didn’t make the mark.

Toshia’s painted us a lovely picture with her descriptive narrative on the environment where she was shooting.   This I enjoyed as well as her story about being a natural woman.



Lenore’s images were very dark, the pictures were sharp and there wasn’t enough diversity.  It seemed as though very little time, energy and thought went into the photos submitted.

Lenora has a lot of spunk, confidence and energy in her written piece.  It’s written from a place of self assurance and willingness to play and be creative.  I just wish her pics had reflected her story.



Karla’s images didn’t show enough changes.  I know that Karla can bring it, so I was expecting much more in terms of creativity.

In today’s fast past world, one needs to be succinct when they can be and I feel Karla’s story was just too long.  Links to common words was puzzling, and the overall tone of the story had pedantic feeling to it.



Teesha’s last photo of the scarves hanging from above caught my attention and held it.  I looked at that photo long than I did the others.  I loved how she seemed to be just be a part of the scene almost like a manniquin, very nice.

Teesha’s insight into how creative endeavors are interchangeable and reflective of the universal source was unique.  I enjoyed her humor and her seemingly joyous expression writing this piece to win.


Disclaimer:  And I mean this, what I say is not the  “Truth”.  It is just my opinion.  As a judge, it is not my intention to do anything other than inspire each contestant to present what reflects her very best.  That said my choices are as follows:

For Challenge #4 I choose:

For best photos – Valaira Sa-Ra Smith

For best story  – Teesha Borum


Do You! – Challenge 4

Do You! – Challenge 4

Safeeyah – You do possess a great smile which is disarming.  And that is definitely a plus.  But I felt your essay was repetitive and could have been edited.  Your photo is lovely, but it looks like a snapshot.  Your photos are full of hot spots and under your eyes could have been cleaned up.  I found your execution of this challenge disappointing.  That said, you do know how to work some scarves and hats.

Toshia – It was great that you wrote of the “true” you.  We all should celebrate our true selves.  But you should have profread your essay a little more carefully and I thought your photos should have shown a bit more range.  No hats or scarves?

Christina – I loved your essay.  It was a very different perspective from all the other ladies.  And you really take lovely photos.  You’re very regal.  A great effort for challenge 4.

Karla – I like the nature background for your gallery photos.  In one of the pictures, it looks like you are squinting because of the sunlight.  Overall, I think it’s a good spread.  I loved your essay for this challenge.  You definitely knocked it out the park!

Teesha – Each challenge I really look forward to viewing your gallery photos because you know how to put it down.  Photography is on point, make up is masterful and your pictures really tell a story.  Bravo!  This week you stepped it back up with your essay as well.  Inspiring and winning.

Lenore – Disappointing effort, again.  Check your angles and face positioning for your photo.  I am not sure where your gallery photos are.  Perhaps I have overlooked them.

Valaira – I loved your essay for this challenge.  The only problem I had was how the 2 font sizes were distracting.  Your essay photo is fabulous.  Classic & classy.  But where are your gallery photos?  Perhaps I overlooked them.

Janeria – Your essay is wonderful.  Your photo is great.  The lighting could have been somewhat better, but I thought you looked HOT.  But I could not find gallery photos for you either.  Perhaps I overlooked them as well.

 My choice for the challenge 4 winner is Teesha.  Best in Show!



NP Challenge #4

Toshia I always love your shoot locations.  Love your earrings in this one.  I would have love to see you in a few more colorful scarves or hat in this natural location.

christina you look nice in your head wraps. you look like you were having fun as you let your natural beauty show.

Safeeya I love your photos.  They were colorful and very stylish.  I like your creativity in this challenge.  It was guaranteed to catch a customers eye.

Karla your photo were very nice. also

Teesha, I always love your photos.  The color  and creativity in your shoots are great.  You always look like a pro.

Valaira your photo was nice as well


Lenore, I wish I could have seen you in more color.  you look great in color.  I like the big hat, but it was a little large, I think it would have look great in a brighter color


I’m going to go with Safeeya for the photo shoot in challenge 4 and

I’m going to go with Karla describing her take on the challeng, very confident and inspiring





Challenge #5 Curls

It’s very telling to see that only the strong or determined survive!  We started out with 10 contestants and in a few short weeks we’re down to 5.



Toisha’s story was a little scary considering how dangerous the pipe cleaners can be.   Despite those facts, she’s found a way to make it work for her and achieve the style she desired. 

Toisha’s pics were full of curl and a bit quirky.  I especially got a kick out of the photo with all the skin showing and a snow man in the background.   Toisha’s smile is infectious and it seems she had a lot a fun taking her pictures.



Teesha’s story was written in a light, breezy but informative manner.  The images used to show the steps were clear and crisp and made the technique easy to understand.

 Teesha’s hair has a naturally large and loose curl pattern.  As such her styling options should be more varied.  Instead, Teesha seemed to just use the natural texture of her hair to represent this challenge.  The pics didn’t really show defined curls.  Still her pictures were evoked fun, beauty, and creativity.



Christina’s story was succinct, short and to the point with great accompanying pics.  The draw back for me is that her choice of crimping the hair is a very well known and common technique.  Still she executed her assignment in a very clear manner.

Christina showed us a number of different ways to style long, crimped locs.  I was especially taken by the first pic with the fan and the up-swept  Locs.  Very pretty.



Before I could read Karla’s story I was stuck on the picture that accompanied the story.  There was nothing about the style that made me want to read the story.  I would not be interested in knowing how to achieve a style that I was not find interesting or attractive.

Karla is beautiful, no doubt and her sweet and charming spirit shines through in all of her photos.  But this is a challenge about hair and curls.  I found this style to have no shape or definition and no curls.   It seems the technique she used is not a very effective one for her hair.  I was really disappointed because there are a number of really effective styling techniques to curl the kind of kinky hair that Karla has.  I would hate for viewers to think that kinky hair can’t be curled in a stunning and attractive way.  Karla missed the mark on this one.


Safeeya’s story was complicated but well written.  I liked that Safeeya used a technique that was both innovative and retro.  I love how she wove environmental concerns into her story.  She also offered insights into why this wash and wear material trumps other tools that become lodged with product and debris.  Great job Safeeya!

Safeeya’s pics featured creativity, moods and many style changes with this simple but versatile style.


For challenge #5 my pics are:

Teesha for her easy to follow story with great accompanying pics.

Safeeya for creatively showing versatile pics of her style.


NP Challenge #5

Tosha love the holiday curls and the red dress, very cute and festive.  would like to have seen more detail pics of how to use the pipe cleaners.  great idea, love the results and all the curls

Christina Nice crinkles and and nice photos and easy to follow instructions

Safeeya  You look so cute and happy in your curls.  love  the results, but process a little confusing would like to see more photos of the twisting clockwise step and how to wrap around cloth strips

Karla You give off a very happy vibe in photos.  Would love to have seen you in more festive     colors and see your curls fluffed out more

Teesha  love the twist out up do with the yellow flower and nice photos and results.  Your instructions layout was nice.

I chose Tosha for her great festive photos

I chose Christina for her great How two instructions layout


Challenge 5 – Holiday Curls

Challenge 5 – Holiday Curls

LENORE – Best of luck to you in all your endeavors, Lenore.  You are gorgeous and I am sure you will do fine.  Just remember your angles when you are in front of the camera.  Happy Holidays!

VALARIA – Valaria, you were by far the most regal of all the contestants in the America’s Next Natural Model Contest.  Beautiful features and a camera presence will get you very far.  Best of luck in your endeavors.

CHRISTINA – Wonderful step-by-step instructional this week.  Clear & concise with fantastic photos.  Very well done!  Your hairstyles and pictures in the photo gallery are off the chain.  FABULOUS!

TOSHIA – I think your intentions for this challenge were honorable.  Your hair looks beautiful.  But is very unclear to me, even after reading it, how to use the pipe cleaners to achieve the look you end with.  Also, you should have applied make up for the instructional.  You look washed out.  Check out Christina’s entry to see a great example.  I love the use of feathers and other accessories in your gallery photos because it looks very festive, however, you’ve had clearer and more engaging photos in the past.  And I know you can do better.

SAFEEYAH – Safeeyah, I am so pleased with your tutorial this week.  The photos are clear and detailed and I love that you decided to Go Green for this challenge.  It’s a very smart & enlightened approach.  I love your delicate features and broad smile, but your photos in your gallery never do you justice.  And I think this is such a disservice to a young woman as lovely as you.

KARLA – Your tutorial was clear, well-written, and concise, but I am going to have to agree with the other judges that it did not give you the desired results.  And ultimately, no one is going to want to follow your instructions because they are afraid thie hair will not end up with the curls/crinkles they wanted.  But a very good effort.  Although your pictures in the gallery do not show much range, I think you look very pretty.

TEESHA – Very well done instructional.  I like that you point out that there are other options to achieve curls/crinkles other than heat.  And I always love your gallery photos because they are so diverse and wonderfully thought out.  Always a pleasure.

As we come down to the wire, each week gets more and more challenging.  My choice for winner of this challenge is Christina.  Job well-done!

Miss NP Challenge #1

Christina piece on going natural wonderfully and creatively summed up so many of our journeys, from the beginning, middle to present.  Covering acceptance, self esteem, confidence and how others accept us.  Great piece Christina.

I love what Valaira’s  did with the headband accessory.  Instead of wearing it like a traditional headband she made the prettiest bow for the back of her drawstring puff.  what a lovely bow photo from behind.  Very Creative and cute Valaira  .  I love it


Challenge #6 -Formal at The White House

We’re past the half way mark now and I am glad to see the tenacity of the five remaining contestants.  Hang in there beautiful ladies.

 Here is what I saw:



Teesha’s story had an outlook on chic that is bold and assured.  I loved her ideas around individuality and the possibilities of natural hair options growing.  Her entry is creatively written and very engaging.

Teesha’s photos – Teesha has so much hair that the options for creativity are endless.  However, this style did not reflect that range of possibility.  Many of Teesha’s photos from past challenges have been so dazzling, that these were a disappointment.



Safeeya’s insight into our history of emulating the beauty standards of others is, spot on.  Her light and breezy way of explaining how simple an up-sweep hairstyle can be achieved made her story a delight to read.

Safeeya’s photos with her up-swept,  bejeweled Locs, shimmering shawl, and the dramatic look of the dark nail polish, made her look like she was ready to step out for that special occasion.



I enjoyed reading about the different options Christina offered for chic hairstyles and it was my hope that when I viewed  her photos that they would follow through with her writing and they did.  My only critique on the writing is that the challenge is around being chic and meeting the First Lady at the White House.  Therefore, the references to such outings as the neighborhood juice bar and a Neo Soul Lounge, did not really tie in with the subject matter.

Christina had the most variety of looks with her hairstyling options and the styles followed through with her story of style choices.   That last image with Christina’s hair styled up in a fanned bun was absolutely exquisite and one I think would definitely impress the First Lady and her esteemed guests.



Karla decision to wear a twist out and accessorize it with hair jewelry spoke to her level of comfort with her naturally kinky texture, which is both a powerful and beautiful statement.  Her chance find of bedazzling hair accessories seem to spark her creativity and she described the many choices available for accessorizing. 

Karla looked stunning in her primary photo.  I love that her hair looks more defined in this challenge.  The brilliant fuchsia color of her dress and hair accessory looked stunning on her and enhanced her natural beauty.  I am just missing the variety in styling.  The Twist out is a wonderful style and can be dressed up and dressed down, but I am hoping to see more styling options in the remaining challenges from Karla.



Toshia’s graceful explanation of the reasons and ways to wear and up do was telling as she described showing off her neckline and allowing her hair to be the accent instead of the focus of a her look.  Toshia’s visualization of conversing with the First Lady and giving her options for her hair, was priceless!

Toshia’s photos were beautiful, elegant and she put herself in settings that looked the part of the challenge.  Great work Toshia.


My winners are:

Teesha for her great story and wonderful writing on the topic

Christina for her versatility in styling her hair for a festive occasion


Challenge 1

This was a very difficult Challenge for me to judge. Each model has her own uniqueness and the photo shoots were tailored to each contestant’s individuality.

I was impressed with each model, some more than others, but I saw a genuine effort made by each model to put their Challenge items to their best use.

That said, Nappturality is about putting your best hair forward, and allowing yourself to shine, no matter what society tells you what is supposed to be beautiful.  

Toshia Shaw-Lacy (Miss NP8) Showed a regal beauty with a Nubian royal touch, while Valaira Sa-Ra Smith (Miss NP10) played with a puff style that everyone could achieve. Tatiana- Green (Miss NP9) had a playful Catwoman image, Monique Dixon (Miss NP7) had a cute and stylish updo, showing the jewel to its best advantage. Christina Dzenyuy (Miss NP6) had an amazing flair for style with a loc crown of an African queen,  while Lenore Johnson (Miss NP 5) & Janeria Dunlap (Miss NP2) showed us a refreshing girl next door look. Karla Thomas (Miss NP3) is living the natural, healthy life and Safeeyah Amos (Miss NP 4) combines citrus with the Caribbean with a beautiful natural twistout and Teesha Borum (Miss NP1) is just too cute.

Since the challenge was to show the jewel or scarf to its best. Not to overpower the accessory, or hide it underneath hair or props. I think the model who best achieved this is Teesha.

The scarf is shown used in different ways, with different hair style positions. I especially like the ‘bow’ effect in one of the photos. Her style complements the accessory and does not overpower it. The accessory enhances her hair and fits right in with her style. I like the natural looking makeup and wardrobe and although the more formal models were stunning as well, in this challenge, the simplicity and clean lines of the shoot won me over.

With the writeups, for me, the essay by Monique wins hands down. It resonated with me, and will resonate with those who have gone natural, and those who haven’t yet. Maybe not in a good way, but it will plant the seeds, which is what Nappturality is supposed to be about. Teesha’s overall challenge, both photos and essay, were the most consistent, and I would have to vote for her for winning the Challenge overall.

Challenge 6 – Natural Chic

Challenge 6 – Natural Chic

Wow!  We are now down to the top 5 and you ladies must be in it to win it because I am just blinded by your beauty.  No matter who is named Miss Nappturality, you are all goddesses.

TEESHA – Wonderfully written essay, but there were some spelling errors.  Just call me Mr. English Professor.  LOL!  But I love the sentiment.  Your hairstyle is regal and fabulous and chic.  LaJoyce really worked it!  Beautiful photos in your gallery as well.  Are you based here in NY?  I’d like to work with you for NY Fashion Week.

KARLA –  I love your essay.  I think accessorizing is very important because it really allows you to make your look your own.  It is very well-written.  You take great photos, but I think there is a little too much light infused in 3 of them.  Fuchsia is a great color on you.

SAFEEYAH – The essay that you’ve written for this challenge is excellent.  It’s passionate and empowering.  Very well done.  There is a misspelled word – “dwelve” should actually be “delve”.  But it does not take away from the content.  You’re a very pretty young woman, but I am always disappointed by the hot spots that show up on your face each week.  You’ve chosen a lovely colored background, your hair is awesome, and your face is done, but you do yourself a disservice with the amateur photography.  But if you are New York based, I’d love to work with you also on fashion week.

TOSHIA – Another very well written essay.  I really like how you tied in the first lady.  It’s topical and relevant.  And your photo is really nice.  What a lovely smile you have.  You showed a lot of versatility in your hairstyles in the photo gallery.  I am impressed.

CHRISTINA – Your essay is well-written, but it lacked the personal touch that was so prevalent in the other competitors.  Yours left me a little cold.  And while I think you are beautiful and posses a wonderful smile, I’ve seen you do much better with your photos.  A little disappointing this week.

 I could not choose one winner this week.  My vote for best essay is Safeeyah and for best photos is Teesha.  Congratulations, ladies!