Category Archives: Season 2 Judges

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!

Voting – Challenge 1

I’d like to begin by saying all of the contestants are intelligent and beautiful and it was no easy task deciding who to choose in either category.  I could have pick them all of one reason or another.

That said, for use of the headband of ornament my number 1 pick is Safeeya.  The way Safeeya sported her headband gave the impression that it was made just for her.  It didn’t distract or take away, instead it enhanced her style and looked like the perfect choice for her current style.  She is definitely versatile.  I couldn’t believe she was the same model as the one who have the fish net across her face.

In terms of their stories my pick is Janeria.  I love her journey of self awareness, acceptance, discovery and love.  I also appreciate her idea of hair being political.  I believe that Janeria is very insightful and we will hear much more from her in the future.


Challenge 7

Hi ladies, it’s nice to “meet” you. I am so excited to be a judge for this contest. I really enjoyed reading your articles and looking at your galleries. Best of luck to all of you. 

 Karla:  The Ngozi Amber and Carnelian Necklace you picked is absolutely stunning and it’s obvious why you were attracted to it. I was impressed with the research you did about the stones and thought it was great that you were able to define the connection you had to the piece. I also think you picked the perfect location—your description of the Gardens and your beautiful photos make me want to plan a trip to see it in person. Your layered tank tops were a good idea and I particularly liked how the yellow one peeked out and picked up the warm tones of the Amber stones. As for your hair (the most important part!) I agree that a low maintenance hair style was the way to go. It definitely complemented the necklace instead of taking away from it like an intricate look would have. Overall, you did a wonderful job! You get my vote for the best essay. 

Toshia: The blue necklace you are wearing in the photos is really gorgeous, I just wish you had included a bit more information about why you chose that particular piece. I like that you kept your wardrobe and makeup in the same color family as the stones in the necklace—it definitely made it pop. Despite the fact that you’re wearing a statement piece of jewelry and colorful makeup, your hair still managed to grab most of the attention. I love the styles you’re working in the photos (which are great by the way). Way to go!

Teesha:  Wow! Your photos are so amazing, especially number three—gorgeous! Your essay on asymmetry was very interesting and I like that you chose a piece that wasn’t “perfect.” The location was the perfect complement to the natural elements in the necklace and by wearing a simple black top you created an ideal backdrop to show off both the piece and your hair style. I’m assuming that your style was a nod to the “asymmetry” theme which was a clever way to be consistent throughout. Phenomenal work! You get my vote for the best photos. 

Christina-Dzenyuy: A luxe fur, a gorgeous necklace, and amazing hair—what more could a woman ask for? I loved your glam, winter-themed photos, you look absolutely radiant in all of them. I thought you did a great job with your article. Thank you for providing us with some insight into why you picked the agate and jade necklace. The stones really popped in the outdoor setting. Your hair looks elegant and I love that you switched up the style a bit in each photo. Nice work! 

Safeeyah: Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find your article on the 7th Challenge, but I did look at all of your photos and they were really fun (I especially liked image #4). Purple is one of my favorite colors, so of course I loved the necklace you choose. The overall feeling I got from your whole look (necklace, makeup, outfit, poses, and hair) was flirty and playful. I’m sorry I couldn’t read your essay, but I will check back later to see if it’s available and update my post accordingly. 

Thank you again for this opportunity.

Andrea Lavinthal  









Challenge 2 – Sula, NYC

Challenge 2 – Sula, NYC

Congratulations, Divas!  You really stepped it up for this challenge.  The photos are well done.  And the participants took my advice about proofreading to heart because there were fewer grammatical errors – a serious pet peeve of mine.  Each of you had very similar essays, but a couple of you had very original approaches to the challenge.  Unfortunately, there can be only one winner.  But first I’d like to critique each queen individually.

TOSHIA  – Very well written.  Concise.  Photos were clear and detailed.  Since you made this challenge about your legs, I was happy that the focus remained on those lovely gams of yours.  Excellent execution of the challenge.  I think you should watch the lighting.  In some of your photos, you have hot spots.

JANERIA – Although brief, your appreciation for the product is clear.  But your testimonial felt rushed.  And your photos look like you didn’t put much thought into them, either.  They are poorly lit and you could have further enhanced your beauty with a little make up.  You do have pretty legs.  But all in all, it is a little disappointing.  Last week you seemed a lot more focused.

LENORE – I really liked your approach to the challenge with the step-by-step photo instructions.  I know when I get something new from the store, it is always helpful to have a photo guide show me the way through.   You are a very pretty girl and that’s obvious.  The only criticism I have for your testimonial is that you could have written a few more sentences to flesh it out.  Your photos were disappointing.  Poor angles for your face and not engaging.  You’re better than that, Lenore.

CHRISTINA – I love your use of the acronym H.E.L.P. for your testimonial.  Very inventive.  Well-written.  It’s obvious that you put a lot of thought into this challenge.  And I did enjoy the extreme photo close ups to illustrate your point.  Once again, be careful with your lighting.  There are hot spots.  It happens often to me with my digital camera.  Perhaps all you ladies can consult a photographer friend for tips.  And your photos for the challenge are mostly blurry.  Especially disappointing considering the thought you put into your essay.

VALAIRA – Your step-by-step instructions were very clear as were your photos in your testimonial.  You’re very pretty with a fabulous mane.  GORGEOUS!  And your photos are killah.  It is very obvious that you were born to be called Queen.  Work It!

TEESHA – Superb essay.  Well written with fantastic photos.  Your photo gallery is beyond perfection.  If you continue in this vein, you may very well be America’s Next Natural Model!

MONIQUE – I liked your essay and I loved your accompanying photos.  They are styled very well.  While the photos are a little dark, it does not distract us from the wonderful arrangement.  And your locks are gorgeous.  Good Job!  I like the tightness (close up) of your gallery shots.  And I love dogs, so seeing your furry companion in a shot humanizes you even more.  I still feel like you need to focus on make up application.  And better lighting would have been a plus.

SAFEEYA – You’re lovely.  That’s obvious.  But your essay left me wanting more.  The images were too small.  And it just didn’t read like you were invested in this challenge.  Your photo gallery images, on the other hand, were absolutely fantastic.  I LOVED them.  In your essay you wrote that the Sula, NYC experience was sensual, but in your photos you SHOWED how sensual it was.

KARLA – Wonderful essay!  Great photos to illustrate the use of the product.  And I loved, loved, loved the time and research you put into this challenge.  You definitely get an A+ for that.  And your gallery photos are just sublime.  Watch out ladies, Karla could potentially be America’s Next Natural Model.

 I love all the ladies.  They are beautiful black women who know how to work a natural ‘do.  But my top picks for this week are Teesha & Karla.