Category Archives: Season 5

Judges on Black History Challenge

Judges on Black History Challenge

Dajuan JonesFeedback from Dajuan Jones Professional photograper and owner of|| dajuan @ dajuanjones (dot) com

Angela C. Kirkendoll
I found your style choices interesting. I loved the choice to use black & white images for your flapper representation. I was a little conflicted with the straight haired look, but that reflects our history (as painful as looking back can be). Your tribute to Angela Davis, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, and Martin Luther King, Jr was thoughtful. I thought your 3rd and 5th images were the strongest images from your set. You expression as a model was awesome. I also appreciated how thoughtful your write up was. I would have preferred to see five different looks though. However you did well in the two looks and five images submitted. (4 stars)

Farah Albritton
It is evident that you put forth great effort in preparing and shooting for this weeks challenge. Five images, five different styles! Reading how you realized the strength behind the afro was moving. I thought your 1st and 5th images were your strongest because I can clearly see your hair (very important). I really liked your hair style in the 4th image, but the lighting was off and looking at your other images, you’re working with a team who can make the adjustment. Don’t be afraid to look into the camera and portray the power you felt. (5 stars)

Jayme Goodwin
Great creativity. I loved that you stayed natural while depicted different eras of time. I loved your first image. Not only did your convey the era, you did so strongly and I appreciate that. Keep the focus on story, your hair. The last three images lost me with image processing and things that aren’t conveyed by hair styling. (4 stars)

Lydia K. Young
You got it! That was my first impression upon seeing your photos. Although you didn’t push for significantly different hair styles, you made adequate adjustments to fit the era you portrayed. You put forth five goals and set forth to accomplished them. As a model, connecting with your audience with combinations of eye and/or expression is important. I thought your 3rd images was visually the strongest, but the expression came mostly from the chains. I wanted your first image to be the best, but the goals of strength & pride didn’t jump out at me. So what was it that made me think that your got it? Your hair was the hero in all of your images! (5 stars)

Lydia Onimo
You’ve got it too! Five images and five eras. All conveying your message through hair style and modeled expression. One BIG tip: move away from the wall (notice the shadows). (4 stars)

Marilyn Louis
Umm, Kung Fu fighter? I like that you put together five different looks for five different eras. I even like your expressions. However, you’ll really want to partner up with someone to take your photos for you to free you up to model. Your strongest images were your first and third image. But Marilyn, did you not have something to say about the challenge? (3 stars)

Suzu T.
You may have put forth the most in executing this weeks challenge. You too provided five different looks for five different eras. Your second image was so strong, I initially questioned if that was you! I would like to say that the hero / focus is your hair, and that is lost in one or two of your images (which were otherwise very nice). (4 stars)

Tiffany Owens
You didn’t share the details, and you didn’t need to, but I’m glad you were able to accomplish the task. As with Angela, I was torn by processed hair looks, but again I recognize that it IS part of our past and ongoing history. I liked how you kept the hair style the focus of your images. Your third and fifth images were your strongest. You’ll want to connect more through eye contact. I sensed a passion for the shoot in your write up. (4 stars)

Rachel RitfeldFeedback from Mireille

I think you did a wonderful job. Very nice how you pictured an African style from the era before we were brought to the Western world. The only thing is that you can’t really see the style but I like how you put tribal effort in the image.

I also like how you pictured the straight styles. They were indeed typical for certain time. I wish you had put a bit more into the 2nd one make it black/white for instance and a different background. That way the image would really transform you in time by just looking at it. The other straight style is on point salt & Pepper, Hip Hop but you could have also made it a bit more hip hop by the clothes you’re wearing. Think about the full concept.

I love the afro shot! The top also brings me back to the 60’s when the fro was ruling the fashion world. And your twist out is fantastic! You end with a bang. I love the earrings, the hair, the color. Overall good job!

Your last black and white shot is the best. It could literarily be from one of those books that pictures tribes in African history. The makeup, the jewelry, absolutely fabulous!

Having said that, the rest of your shoot is a bit disappointing. I like the wrap idea, and I even love your expression in that shot but the image overall is not well executed. I see more of your elbow. I don’t think the pose worked for what you were trying to portray, a slave woman. Your afro shoot is good, again great expression, fabulous hair but it looks like the photo is over exposed. The best way to take photos is outside with daylight so you don’t have to worry about flash and lightning too much. Watch out for the sun though.

Your last two photos are the same. I love the your poses and look on the rocks and in the grass but the shots are just too ordinary. Not model yet. I need a sharper look of you and your hair. I think it may be a photography issue more than that it’s you.

Your enthusiasm speaks through your words as well as your images. Your first shot is awesome! It’s like a modern tribal style. Love the jewelry and the makeup. The only thing is that your mouth could be a little more relaxed.

I also love how you did Josephine Baker. Even before I read your essay I knew who you portrayed and that is good! The whole picture, the light, the jewelry and of course your hair. I also love how relaxed you look in your fro shot. You skin is beautiful, I like your pose, the dress that floats lovely and you have a nice smile but I still think you can relax your mouth a bit. The other two shots are just ok for me. I didn’t get Billy Holiday if it wasn’t for the flower.  Over all I think you did a good job.

Suzu! I absolutely loved what you did! All five images are so totally different. More than just a hairstyle you went beyond the styles to portray history. You show incredible range as a model. You look completely different in each shot. That is a skill. You show your range as a model. I am really impressed. Your black and whites are the best. Love the slave woman and love the fro!

Although I really love what you did at the same time I feel like the hairstyles suffered a little bit. Especially in the Rosa Parks shot. It seems to me that you focused more on history there than on the hairstyle you needed to portray it.

Your image with the chain is intense. The large chains add drama and so does the expression of your face even though you are turned away from the lens. I also like your first shot but to be honest overall your pictures don’t transform me to other eras. No different hairstyles. I liked your writeup but your shoot is a bit disappointing to me.

Lydia Onimo
I think your best shot is the cornrowed updo. The hairstyle is really fierce, I like your expression but the photo is over exposed. To be honest I think the whole shoot is a bit average. You wear a beautiful dress with a matching headwrap yet the photo is not popping. Again, try to shoot outside. Shooting inside with a basic flash makes it difficult to get a professional looking photo. Your hair in the afro shots looks nice but I don’t get the greatness from the images yet.

Yes, your images definitely take me back in time. You portrait the 60’s so well. It’s a joy to see. My favorite photo is the one where you sit with a hat on. Love the attire, your poses, your expressions and even the background you choose. I also like the afro shots. Especially the explanation of MLK’s dream. However, you have three of the same kind of images representing one era. I would have loved to see you portray at least one more era as well. Overall good job though.  

I have to say that you get an A plus for creativity because when I saw you Saturday I was really happy you came up to me but I knew you weren’t prepared. Still, I was hoping that you had already written the essay and had already taken photos. Considering that you did a reasonable job using the tools at hand and your creativity. I like the photo with the headwrap and the same top but overall your images are unprofessional. That doesn’t look like a five pixel camera photos to me and for that, I have to let you go. It was one of the requirements so I am going to ask you to send the accessories back.


Angela’s Kumba Out Featuring Going-Natural Products

Angela’s Kumba Out Featuring Going-Natural Products

Angela's Kumba Style
Angela's Kumba Style

When I have the opportunity to try new products for my hair I feel like a kid in a candy store. It is overwhelming yet exciting as my heart fills with anticipation for great results. For this next challenge we were asked to use Going-Natural products to create a Motjo Kumba hairstyle. I’m sure you’re asking, “What is a Motjo Kumba?” Well, I started scratching my head and realized I needed to do some research as well. Although I did not find a written or oral style explanation, Mireille Liong is a great source who she shared her knowledge and hands-on experience.


“Ain’t I a Woman?”

“Ain’t I a Woman?”

Curly Twist-Out Hair
Curly Twist-Out Hair
I titled this weeks challenge, “Ain’t I a Woman?” after Sojourner Truth’s famous speech in 1851. I feel as if sometimes natural haired women are often seen as less attractive than other women because of the length of our hair or the texture.  Women who wear head-wraps are also stigmatized in various ways. In our society I think that long-hair is often associated with beauty, but beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures. All women are beautiful and every woman’s hair texture, length, and size should be embraced. In this challenge, I wanted to show that natural hair doesn’t make you any less of a woman. In nature, in a head-wrap, and even in the studio ain’t I a woman?
Lydia about ANNM video

Lydia about ANNM video

Lydia's Natural Hair
Lydia's Natural Hair

The importance of clothing that accurately portrays a Black woman

The theme for my shoot is “New Orleans beads for SoulSeed Tees.” I incorporated Mardi Gras beads into each of the shots. I chose this theme because I see a lot of similarities between the representation of my city in the media and that of Black women. When people think of New Orleans, Mardi Gras is one of the first things that comes to mind. It’s seen as a tourist stop, a place that only matters during that time of the year. New Orleans is also feared for its crime. In a nutshell, what I hear from the average tourist is “New Orleans is a great place for a party and a good time, but if you want a nice place to live, choose elsewhere.”


ReShonda –  A Day To Love

ReShonda – A Day To Love

A Day To Love

For this Challenge, we were told to talk about a Romantic Style for Valentines and Natural Brides. Valentine’s Day to me means showing the people or that special person in your life that you love and appreciate them! I feel this should be done every day, but Valentine’s Day is just that one day out of the year to pay extra special recognition to the ones you love and to show a little love to yourself! When i hear the word “Valentine”, I think of my husband and I think of my kids!


Judges on Challenge 3 – Kumba Out

Judges on Challenge 3 – Kumba Out

Hello Ladies,

There were again issues of tardiness this week. It is not easy being a model is it? The actual photo shoot is the easiest part don’t you think? Preparation and planning takes most of the time and you can mess all of that up if you choose a photographer who doesn’t send you the images in time.

Things can always go wrong. If there is an outage or your internet connection doesn’t work there is little you can do but it helps if you have a team of people around you that help you succeed. In the President’s words, ultimately the buck stops with you. You are responsible for the photos that you submit and will be available for the rest of the world to see and to judge.

Enough of the preaching. I know it’s tough and stressful but believe it or not I am cheering for you. I want you to shine but at the same time I also know it will only get harder from now on. Don’t be intimidated though. At this point you got the hang of things and you are at that point where you can bring your A-game! That is ultimately what this competition is about. So let’s get down to the judges.

After the judges and I had another round evaluating I came to the following conclusion:

1) Most of you have taken our feedback at heart. We see that and we love that.
2) Lydia Onimo’s photos were among the best this week as were Suzie’s: clear and to the point. I especially love the quote: From Frizz to (KUMBA)ya in 30 Minutes…
3) Sadly we also agreed that the only contestant who didn’t seem to take any of our advice is Tiffany. Same type of images no improvement at all.

Here are our individual responses to your Kumba Out photo shoot this week.

Dajuan JonesDajuan



  • Interesting use of shadows on the bridge, I liked your third image the best, but the crop cut off the top of your hair. 4 stars

  • Interpretation: Good. 4 stars

  • Hairstyle: Nicely done 4 stars

  • Write Up: Enthusiastic. 4 stars

  • Connection: Not much. Bring your eyes and make a statement. I believe you can do it. 3 stars

Lydia Y:

  • Photos: Your last image was your best in my opinion. However, cropping into the hair should be avoided at all cost in this competition. Your second image was a better attempt of connecting with your audience. I encourage you to make a big bet if you advance to the next rounds to partner with a photo who can challenge you to break through your comfort zone. 3 stars

  • Interpretation: Better in the write up than the photos. 3 stars

  • Hairstyle: Your hair is your strength. You did well in this area. 5 stars

  • Write Up: Good write up. I like that you researched the origins of the style. 4 stars

  • Connection: I want to say there was an attempt, but take a look at the last two images in your set. There’s attempts to connect, but what is it saying? 3 stars


  • Photos: Your instruction image showed your hair well. Your last image may be a nice image for your personal portfolio, but it says nothing about your hair.I love how you responded with a little more expression this week (your last few images). You’ll want to bring a LOT more of this if you advance in the competition. 4 stars

  • Interpretation: Good. 4 stars

  • Hairstyle: Unfortunately it didn’t work out for you this week. 2 stars

  • Write Up:

  • Connection: Much better this week. One of the best this week 4 stars

Lydia Onimo:

  • Photos: You are having fun! I really enjoyed your images this week. The ONLY thing holding you back from taking top honors this week are the instructional images: to much contrast in the images led to less detail in the hair. 4 stars

  • Interpretation: Good in my eyes. 4 stars

  • Hairstyle: Nicely done. 4 stars

  • Write Up: Very good write. 4 stars

  • Connection: Several good images connected, and that is better than most of your competition. Keep it up. 4 stars


  • Photos: Everyone, please take notice. Commercially clean images showing good detail. Still, a hair light would’ve helped. Loved your last image. Give us a LOT more of that. Advice for coming weeks, vary your expression. 4.5 stars

  •  Interpretation: Very good. 4.5 stars

  • Hairstyle: Nicely done. 4.5 stars

  • Write Up: Good. 4 stars

  • Connection: The best of the week. 5 stars


  • Photos: One of the best photos this week (image of you in red dress sitting on your feet). But Farah, you have the same facial expression in the majority of your images, and the remaining images just weren’t that strong. 4 stars

  • Interpretation: Good. 4 stars

  • Hairstyle: Nicely done. 4 stars

  • Write Up: Good. 4 stars

  • Connection: I wished for so much more. Bring your eyes to the camera, or give us a look that pulls us in. 3 stars


  • Photos: No improvement at all from previous weeks. The poorest submission this week. 1 star

  • Interpretation: Not translated well 1 star

  • Hairstyle: Only one of the final instructional images gave a glimpse. I can’t tell. 1 star

  • Write Up: Good. 4 stars

  • Connection: None. 1 star

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Michele GeorgeMichelle’s Feedback

Angela’s Kumba Out(3)

You have taken your challenge this week to a new level. I appreciate your attention to details in your historical summary of the Kumba as well as your step by step pictorial annotations. The quality of the pictures were reminiscent of an online picture album in a familiar/retro way which was nice. However, with low definition and quality. Great presentation and summary including GN products. However, the shortfall for you this week is presentation of the style. I wish you would have given us more of you and your personality, working with the Kumba by integrating the diversity of your with the Kumba, connecting with the viewer. The bridge pose was a taste and I wanted more and I wanted to see it closer! So you wet my appetite, but left me hanging. Next time focus both substance and quality for the win!

Lydia Young(4.5)
I love how you bring it with your diversity and energy. You brought us a tutorial, a well researched summary with personal inflection and detailed explanation of the various steps involved in reproducing the Kumba. You took the time on your pictorial presentation and your written summary with an ontime presentation incorporating GN products. You took the previous advice, applied it and it shows. The rawness of the style poses was commendable. Lighting was ok, the order of the poses was a bit confusing if I were to reproduce the style. I know what to do, but would others? It’s difficult to critique your poses. I love the diversity you bring with your poses and I particularly appreciate the professional close ups of YOUR HAIR! You connected with me and demanded my attention. I felt your confidence come through, even though you hair was doing it’s own thing. That’s big for me. Good job.
Keep It Knotty!

You gave us style and personality and I enjoyed reading your summary this week. With 2 judges as authors, it makes a difference to us to read a quality presentation that represents who you are. You shared with us in such a way that I felt the stress of your week, yet you showed that you could still show up to the job and give your all because the stress does not show on your face. And, that’s a difficult thing to hide from the camera. I enjoyed your description of the style and how you used GN products to set the style.The lighting throgh me off(shadows were distracting) fro your beauty. The order of the instructions was a bit confusing to follow in pictures-not in print. Once again, lighting could have really helped to get you over the edge and some of the hair shots chopped off the full view. The action shots were dope and I was feeling the Mardi Gras vibe and appreciate the energy you put into repping the N.O, while showing the diversity of the Kumba. Good job!

Wow, I didn’t even know that was you! Your face seems to transform with the style and I think that’s pretty unique and shows that you can bring forth a diverse look easily. I applaud you for bringing forth multiple poses even though the Kumba does not seem to work best for you and your multiple hair types. I think this style would work better if left to set un wet hair with you for a 24-48 hours, to help with the definition, etc. However, that’s my preference. Others may like it wild and free. It was a bit distracting to me, as some of the poses seemed to convey that your style was in a state of transition, not complete. I did not connect with a feeling of confidence, you met the request of the challenge but didn’t sell me on it.

When modeling, there will be poses, looks, make-up, clothes that you would not prefer-but you still need to draw from inside and bring it with confidence so the end-user will buy what your pushing. The summary was good and the explanation with pictures and use of GN products would help me. A new natural might be overwhelmed with the mixing of other products-akin to other YouTubers concoctions-and I would have preferred to see you stay within the realms of this challenge and only implement GN products. Your lighting is the best I’ve seen so far on the tutorial shots and the professional poses are good-minus the disconnect already mentioned, the order would have made more sense if rearranged. Keep focusing on connecting and selling whatever you are working with for the win, like you did in the first challenge!

Susie T(3.5)
You didn’t give us much in your summary. It was more like a quick commercial bit. It was surface without explanation of your styles, and history of what a Kumba is along with how you used the GN product CK(heavy, volume? distribution? Any others or just that?_Even thought this is a model contest, I would have liked to read more from you because you seem like you have so much more to you-but you are holding back. Your hair is cute. As cute as you are, at this point I need to see more than cute, show us who you are. Tell us why you’re in it. Bring it with some background, some history, much more of you. You seem to be good at keeping people aloof, away from the real you. And even though this is a model competition, the camera can read emotions well. Cute and pretty will get you in the door-but with this fierce competition, I’d like to see the flame turned up a bit and see you challenge yourself to a higher level because you got it. I hope you share more of it.

I thought your summary was simple and concise. You explained the GN products that you used and the steps you took to prepare the Kumba. I would have like more historical background on the Kumba. Your pictures are cute and diverse, as are your hair styles. You gave us close ups and a full view of how the Kumba could flow with your style and schedule. That’s great. From a Mohawk to a puff-the Kumba is truly diverse and you reveal that with your poses that made me stop and think that I’d want to know more about ‘that’ girl.I think the Kumba is truly a winning hair style for you if you choose to rock it! Good job.

I felt like you just showed up and turned in the assignment this week. Your summary was limited. I would have liked to see more background on the Kumba and how you implemented the style with instructions. The pictures were a bit distracting and the fuzzy touch ups did not help me. I felt like I was looking for you again. You showed up in the last competition, then you started hiding again. I did not connect with you in the competition and the Kumba style does not feel like you were ‘feeling’ it either. It came across as indefinite and incomplete and a bit like you wanted to distract the viewer because of a lack of certainty with this look for you. It’s ok if it’s not ‘the’ look for you, just remember as a model you have to still show up and bring your A game and sell whatever is on the table, regardless of your preference.


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Rachel RitfeldMy feedback


It seems like you were one of the few who got the hairstyle down. And not only that, you clearly had fun doing it. You were clearly in the Mardi Grass mood and it comes through. Your writeup helps get me in that mood.

Your best shot for me is nr. six with the flower in your hair. Your hair looks fabulous and your facial expression is that of a model. The ninth is also a great shot but the last shot is lost in all the Mardi Gras fun and phone booth. So for the next challenge also focus on what the sponsor wants. Definitely use your self expression but don’t let it deter from what is asked from you as a model.

Your images are absolutely on point. Your photo shoot carries what was asked in the challenge. I look at your photos and see the guide. That is great.

I also see a smile and your connection. That is great improvement. As I said the quote to Kumba(ya) is great. The only thing I would have liked to see is more shots of the end style that could be used on a billboard. One is really limited but please continue to improve. I look forward to more of your images.

Lydia Young
Lydia, you got a gorgeous head of hair. Indeed the boldest brightest strands that stand out. I really love image nr. 6. I like the colors your look. You look happy, you connect and draw people in but I miss that billboard head shot. Your last image may have been an attempt. The makeup looks good, your hair fabulous but your hair is cut. I don’t get to see the style not sure what you are telling me.

Looking at the rest of your images, I think you can loosen up a bit more. You look tense in shot nine. I can see it in your fingers. You don’t seem relaxed. Same with shot 7. So try to relax more for your next photo shoot.

You were way, way, WAY too late. Of the pictures that were you had one up of the products. It seems that you are missing the point. When we ask a model to shoot we want you in the picture. We got our product shoot. So please no more photos of products. Use every image to promote you, yourself as a model.

Having said that, I liked your photo. But then again the photos are nice, the environment well chosen, your style is lovely but these are not images that I would be able to use for a hair commercial. For a billboard. So ladies this goes for all of you, when you do a shoot, listen to what the customer asks for. The one shot that may had a chance is the 3rd headshot but your hair is cut.

So, although you clearly improved your photos this week, you missed the point a little bit and you were late.

Jayme, even though the style didn’t come out as you expected I see that you are more expressive in your shots. So I do see improvement. I really like the shot with the Kumbas. That is where I see you open up to the camera. You let the photographer in. Very nice shot even without makeup, your eyes, smile and hair are enough to draw people in.

I also like your 5th shot. It’s what I call the classic Jayme look. I think this can be one of your signature expressions. I saw it in the Bridal shoot too and it works for you every time.

Now I am not sure what went wrong in trying to do the style. Reading that the end result looks like a Bantu Knot makes me wonder if you got the style right because there is a big difference in how a bantu looks and what a kumba looks like. A Bantu is created on top of the head around the base while a Kumba is tucked into the base.

The other thing is the products that you’ve used. That may be another reason why the style didn’t come out right. When you use oils on your hair you get a whole different result than when you use a milk. The Hair milk will make your hair curly and moisturize your hair with a h2o base. A Hair Butter will moisturize and protect your hair but wont bring out the curls. It is a bit of a disappointment because you were specifically asked to use the Going Natural products. I hope you do better next time.

Farah, I think it’s great that you got the style right and got great definition from it. You got it. The Kumba Out Natural Hairstyle is all about bringing out the beautiful definition of ones uniquely coiled tresses. I liked the fact that you wanted to shoot for different age group. I like that thought however I wish I could see more of your hairstyle throughout the shoot. I only see one close up/head shot.

I totally agree with Dajuan about your best shot: the one in the red dress where you look over your shoulder. You clearly love style and the dress looks gorgeous on you. You look sexy! The other red dress shot could be in a fashion magazine as well but I can hardly see your hairstyle and that was what this challenge was about. So next time, again yes, use your creativity but stay through to the challenge.

Tiffany, you were the first one to submit your images and your essay and I was more than pleased with that. I enjoyed reading your experience with the Curly Twist Out Hair Milk and your approach to creating the Kumba Out natural hairstyle but unfortunately that is the best thing I can say about you this week. I hardly see your beautiful big hair. The images just look like cell phone photos that you share with friends. I don’t see model at all. Maybe the style didn’t come out well but I sure expect better photos than hat.

So Tiffany because we all of the judges agreed on the fact that you didn’t improve and your shots are really not up to the standard, we have to let you go. I do think you have talent and that your hair is gorgeous so I like to thank you for your participation and wish you good luck.

Definition at Its Best – Curls and Patterns

Definition at Its Best – Curls and Patterns

Lydia Curly Twist-Out Hair
Lydia Curly Twist-Out Hair

For this shoot, I knew (and still know) that I have A LOT of work to do to prove to the judges that I should still be in the competition.  Our job this week was to try out, the curl keeper and show off our curls!  Definition at it’s’ best!  🙂 We also were to rock a head wrap, and a colorful ponytail holder.  To me, I wanted to create a shoot that showed off a variety of patterns, whether on the head-wrap, ponytail holder, or in my clothes.  I like the play on words…


The Judges on Challenge 8

The Judges on Challenge 8

Hello again ladies,

Now, before I tell you or post the results online, I want you to know what the judges decided first. So without further ado, here is what Dajuan Jones said:

I feel compelled to acknowledge how tough this years competition has been.  These ladies have met each challenge, overcoming so much for each contestant with various duties, hurdles, and circumstances along the way.  Adding to that, trying to grow each week in order to better there individual abilities, while also competing against each other.  I commend each and every sister for her participation.