I am Natural… I am Unique!
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.
This is why wearing clothing that accurately portrays the power, beauty, and class of a Black woman is so important. We need to plant those seeds of identity that say ‘we are powerful, beautiful, strong, and valuable’ in our community to combat the lies that say ‘we are powerless, ugly, feeble, and worthless.’’ When our women conform to these outrageous lies, it perpetuates the cycle of violence, crime, miseducation, and poverty in our community. We can’t wait around for someone else to redirect our lost queens and kings tomorrow, we need to do it ourselves today.
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.”
Image 1: Anxiously Awaiting
After realizing that I would be in America’s Next Natural Model 2013 I was ecstatic but also as I thought about the time commitment anxiety slowly set in. I was in Vermont, which to find photographers willing to help was going to be scarce, my mother who was neater and could of help with hairstyling was miles away, my boyfriend who is the biggest supporter of my natural hair journey and who would do anything he could to help if needed help me take pictures had left college for clinical. Finally to top it off being vice president for the Black Student Union had a great deal of responsibilities coming up because Black History Month and our signature Fashion Show would occur during the same weeks of the challenges. Slowly I began to think, “What did I get myself into? Should I have waited until I had graduated? Will I honestly be able to handle this at the moment?”
“Evolution of Farah” Photographer:
I was a member of the going-natural.com because I wanted to know other naturals, learn from their experiences, hair journeys and the tips and tricks that they could give me to help me with my own journey. Looking through the website I saw America’s Next Natural Model, and intrigued I clicked on the link and looked at all the model’s beautiful pictures showcasing the various challenges. Unfortunately I had missed the deadline twice, and I was extremely determined to get into the next round!
Wow! I can’t believe that this was the last challenge of the competition. I am sad to see it all come to an end but I had so much fun along the way. Even though this challenge was the most difficult because there was so many different components to it, it was definitely my favorite one.
For the last five pictures, I really wanted to represent me. After completing this competition to the end I feel on top of the world which is represented by my pictures on the rooftop.
The ones on the roof and with the pretty wallpaper were also shot by Vanessa Karel. It was amazing to shoot on top of a roof in San Francisco. It was a very liberating experience. In most of these photos I wore my hair in a combed out afro style.
Hello again ladies,
The judges have spoken again this week. Guest judge is LeAnne Dulce, owner of Naptural Roots Magazine and sponsor of this wonderful challenge. Here is what she and the other judges had to say about your performance of challenge 7 Haute or Not.
Naptural Roots is all about physical, mental, and emotional health. It really is about so much more than just hair. After reading a couple Naptural Roots articles and looking through the pictures, I came across The Naptural Bill of Rights. The Naptural bill of rights really stood out to me. Article 2, “I have the right to pursue excellence in health, wealth, and personal welfare without man-made limitations, judgments and obstacles” stood out to me in particular. This is something that I strongly believe. From starting out on my own at the age of 17 and working 2 to 3 jobs just to get through school, to attending a full-time Master’s program while running my non-profit, the past couple of years have been challenging. However, no matter what life throws my way, I have always strived for excellence and it is my right to do so.
Even though, I was unable to receive the package from the sponsors on time for my photo shoot as well as being in Vermont a t shirt is the last thing you would want to wear in the blistering cold. Nonetheless I was able to find a t shirt and showcase how to wear a t shirt several ways in the Haute or Not Challenge.
To begin I would like to thank the sponsors of this challenge for providing us with awesome tshirts and earrings that promote natural hair and beauty. Naptural Roots Magazine positively reinforces the concept of loving oneself and natural hair. This magazine also strives to educate real people on real issues, which is something that I appreciate.
Challenge 7: Naptural Roots Website and Magazine
Healthy living has not always been a priority in my life…daily I splurged on custard, French Fries, Pizza and Chinese food…yes…DAILY. It took many years to lose weight, but also get my mind RIGHT. Because of my choices in college, not it is extremely important for me to not only be healthy physically, but also mentally and spiritually.
When I browsed through the Naptural Roots magazine and looked around online, I loved the fact that real people were spotlighted and concrete ideas were mentioned to help inform people about being healthy and natural. (I really loved Poets Peace as well as the pieces on wellness and spirituality, as well as natural hair and skin care!)
Defined Curls and Caribbean Cool
You may notice a difference in the quality of my photos this week. Unfortunately, the photographer I was scheduled to work with this week cancelled last minute. This week was the first time I’ve wanted to give up in this competition, but I persevered and did my best to be creative in delivering the three themes while taking my own photos. I hope to have better luck next week if I’m selected to continue in this competition!