Exclusive Interview: NFL Cheerleader Goes Natural for 49ers Auditions

You ever have that experience where you think you know somebody and then they say something that completely blows you away? Well that happened with me and Danetha! For the past year I’ve known Danetha as an accountant who specialized in beauty industry clients, but then I get this email, being all like “Yea, so when I was cheerleading for the Indianapolis Colts I wore my hair straight, but now I’m going natural!”

:::stops the car and pulls over on the side of the highway:::

“When I used to be an NFL cheerleader” is not usually something you hear in casual conversation, right!? Anywho, I got the scoop from Miss Danetha about her hair-story as an NFL Cheerleader and how this next time around she’s going to be rocking her natural hair! Read on for a truly inspirational story!

Cassidy: When you were a cheerleader before, was there a pressure to wear your hair a certain way? What other beauty standards were you expected to uphold?

Danetha: Yes! There weren’t any other natural hair girls in the league (that I knew of) and long, flowy hair was the norm. We had routines with “hairography” and you had to be able to flip your hair in order to look sexy. Our squad was sponsored by one of Indianapolis’ top salons, and the stylists were awesome! But, they didn’t know how to work with ethnic relaxed hair, much less natural hair. At the time, my hair was relaxed and they suggested that I wear a weave. I worked with a stylist to determine my look and we settled on a long, straight weave. I was fine with it because that’s what I considered beautiful and I wanted to fit in with the other girls. As far as other beauty standards…there weren’t really any. I guess, we were all expected to be physically fit, but I think that comes with territory of being a dancer and athlete.

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C: When and why did you decide to go natural?

D: My last relaxer was in 2008, but I wore a weave until mid 2009 so I didn’t have to do the big chop :) I cut off my relaxed ends at the end of 2009. I decided to go natural because my hair was falling out. I had HUGE bald spots all over my head and my hair was in bad shape. I went to the best stylists, so I knew that the reason for this was because my hair could not handle a relaxer (I had been relaxing my hair for 16+ years). It was time for a change and time for me to learn how to take care of myself, and not have to depend on a stylist.


C: What has changed and inspired you to rock your natural hair texture for auditions?



D: I really feel that there is power when someone sees their image on the big screen. As a natural girl, who loves to follow celebrities, I crave for a figure that looks like me and has “made it” and considered “beautiful” by the main stream. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it is reassuring to see your image reflected on TV or in magazines. I hope that I can help push that image in mainstream media. Also, I’m at a point in my life where I’m comfortable with me and I don’t want to conform to anyone’s idea of me. So, take me natural or don’t. Whatever.  I did audition last year for the Gold Rush as a natural, but it wasn’t the right timing. I moved to the Bay Area (literally!) a week before auditions and I had wayyy too much going on to focus. I made the finals (from 300 girls to 80) and then I was cut. I think everything happens for reason. Although I was super bummed, I had a chance to explore Bay Area, fall in love with it, and start my company which was another passion of mine. I’ve had a year to find my place in this area and now I feel like I’m ready to represent the 49ers.



C: What is the audition process like?

D: Haha. I could write a novel on the process ;) You know, its similar to the Dallas Cowboys series but not that long. Each squad is different. The 49ers Gold Rush complete the process in one week. On the first day, you learn a dance and perform it. There are two cuts that day. If you make it past the first day, you are in the finals. During finals, you have one group practice with the head choreographer. There is an interview day with a panel. You are asked any question you can think of- from who is your favorite player, to what are your career goals to what you like to do for fun. They really want to see that you are able to engage with strangers and relate to the fans. The last day is the final performance. You perform a dance choreographed by their Director or Head Choreographer and a solo piece. This is open to the public. Overall, the process is a lot of fun. But it is SO NERVE WRACKING. There are so many beautiful, talented, intelligent women in the process and you just hope that you stand out.

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C: What sorts of styles can we expect from watching your audition journey?

D: As far as hair, I will be rocking a lot of protective styles. I’ll be working out a lot, so it’ll be important to maintain my hair. I’ll also be trying out different products to see which one I should use for audition days. My hair doesn’t hold styles very well and I plan on wearing a twist out while performing. So, expect some product reviews while I try to find the “perfect” product for my hair for the big day. I will also test one or two professional stylists in the Bay Area (Cassidy, if you have any suggestions please let me know) Editors Note: I always do! Hit me up and we’ll talk! to see if they can get my hair ready for auditions. As far as clothes, I will be shopping for my interview outfit (fingers crossed, I make it to finals again) and my audition outfit. Check me out as I shop for the most flattering ‘fits :) 

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I don’t know about you, but I am hella excited to watch Danetha as a natural go through the audition process! Let’s all share some words of encouragement in the comments to support our fellow naturalista as she takes this big personal leap! I personally believe that the more authentic one is, the more they are accepted, so I’m proud that Danetha is showing and auditioning with her true texture!

To follow Danetha’s natural hair journey through her audition process, follow her on her social media channels:

Youtube: www.youtube.com/missdanetha
Facebook: www.facebook.com/missdanetha
Twitter: www.twitter.com/missdanetha
Tumblr: www.tumblr.com/blog/missdanetha
Instagram: @MissDanetha
Pinterest: @MissDanetha

Fall Into Natural: meet our stylists!

Fall Into Natural: a natural hair brunch affair is just around the corner!  Last week we met Dr. Kari Williams, our featured presenter, and today I wanted to introduce you to our expert stylists who will be doing live styling demonstrations at the event!  Both of them are extremely talented artists and I’m thrilled that they’re going to be a part of this event because they bring unparalled expertise in both loose AND loc’ed natural hair!! 

Read on to read about these fantastic stylists AND learn about a super special, beautiful, HUETIFUL giveaway just for Fall Into Natural attendees!

Introducing: Sumayyah

In 1998 Sumayyah Abdul-Haqq was introduced to the world of natural hair after being hired as an assistant to a well known Atlanta natural stylist. She immediately took to the craft and soon discovered her passion. 14 and a half years later she still has that passion for caring for natural hair specializing in all types of natural hairstyling ranging from loc maintenance, loc styling, twists styles to transitional styles. Sumayyah started out in Atlanta, Ga where natural hair is booming but wanted to offer her services to a place where there was a greater need for her talents, so she moved to the Bay Area in the Summer of 2010 and is well on her way with a growing clientele who she services out her home. She hopes to open a natural hair salon of her own in the near future.

Examples of Sumayyah’s Work:




Introducing: Gracie

“I went natural in 2006. It was something I wanted to do for a while but didn’t really have the “know how”. I did a lot of research and I stepped out of my comfort zone. I became intrigued with the subtleties of hair.  The way hair grows and takes on different textures and patterns. The experience was very liberating for me.


I decided to loc my hair in 2008.  It was difficult at first, I went from stylist to stylist but no one had the technique or the products that met my hair needs.  I finally found a salon in my hometown Chicago that suited me, and were able to answer any questions I had.


The technique, and the products left my hair shiny, healthy, and fragrant. But it was the personal attention that really made them stand out.


My own personal journey inspired me to take the courses given by the salon owner to become a certified loctician.  I did not only learn about how to maintain locs. I also learned the nuances of hair texture and growth, how to repair natural hair, and how the fusion of different herbs and oils can restore the hair’s natural balance.


Caring for natural hair – as cliché as it sounds – just seems to come natural to me.  Being a natural hair specialist has been both rich and rewarding to me because I am able to connect with people, and impart my experiences and knowledge to them while doing something I love.


About two years ago, I moved out to the Bay Area. I immediately fell in love with Oakland.  It’s rich culture and the spiritual energy of it’s citizens captured my heart. When I found the proud and educated community of women with natural hair, I knew I was home. I was both touched and honored at how lovingly I was accepted. Now that I am here, my mission is to make sure anyone who wants to wear locs, can wear them proudly and wear them with style!”
Examples of Gracie’s Work:



Aren’t they uber talented!?!  I’m super excited to see what these ladies come up with Strawllers and EDEN Bodyworks at the event!  I can’t wait to learn from them!
Be sure to buy your tickets to the event!  If you buy your ticket by Saturday September 22nd, you’ll be entered to win a HUETIFUL HAIR STEAMER ($130 value!), the ultimate natural hair hydrator!

The story of HIS relaxer…

More often than not, the natural hair world is a women’s world, so much so that many of us forget or don’t even realize that there are some men who have many of the same hair concerns as us gals.  For some guys, it’s how to keep their hair moisturized or for others it’s how to find an easy way to detangle, but for Jez it’s how to manage his curls without a relaxer.  I met Jez in New Orleans when I was covering all of the natural hair action at the Essence Music Festival this past July. Imagine this natural hair enthusiast’s surprise to learn that HE of all people had relaxed hair!  Check out this video of him explaining his story and the next step on his hair journey:


As he mentioned in the video, he’s used relaxers throughout his life to manage his curls, but his hair story goes even deeper than the occasional relaxer. Once upon a time (specifically in 2007), Jez was a contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser and lost 150 pounds (!!!!!!!!!). Prior to his losing weight, his curly hair played a huge role in his self image. “Any time I’ve tried to hide, I’ve tried to hide behind my hair,” explains Jez.

“Whenever I find that I’m not feeling good about myself, I tend to have longer hair and a more unkempt appearance, but when I feel better about myself and my body, I like to maintain a cleaner appearance. Now I’ve learned that I want my curls and to wear them short, but I just dont understand maintenance and using products.”

The good people (lady?) of NaturalSelectionBlog.com have already provided Jez with some quality curly care products and hair care tips as he transitions out of his relaxer. Next week, Dawana of Beauty on da Bayou the top natural hair salon in New Orleans, will be giving Jez his big chop so stay tuned for the next step in HIS natural hair journey!


Here’s a couple of before pictures of him from this summer.  Any words of wisdom for him as he takes on The Big Chop and learning to manage his curls??



Oh no, Willow!!!!! Anti-Afro Talk + Stripper Poles!?!?

Stumbled across this video yesterday in which Willow Smith discusses how her least favorite hairstyle was an afro:

Get More: MTV Shows

Hard to comb!?!?! Crazy!!?! Waking up super early!!?!?

You know what that sounds like to me? A novice natural falling into the usual traps, getting frustrated, and throwing in the towel too early. Can’t say I blame her for trying on her own, seeing as she’s still a tween and all and this whole natural thing CAN be tricky to get.  Even she said she needed some help with it. But she also has access to some of the best stylists out there. Uh, not to mention the internet!

Let’s back up and do a little refresher of the ol’ Wash’n’Go Success Plan before we go the way of Willow and find ourselves on tv denouncing afros.

  • COMBING: Do it on wet hair with lots of slippery conditioner to make the teeth glide through
  • WAKING UP: Well, never try anything new in the morning if you’ve gotta be somewhere.  That’s just a one-way ticket back to Relaxerlandia.  Try to wash and style at night.  Then use braids to stretch your wet hair while you sleep so you can still work with damp and not-dried hair in the morning.
  • WHILE YOU SLEEP: Do so on a non-cotton pillow.  It seriously makes all the difference in the world in terms of retaining moisture and not getting tangles while you get your zzz’s.

Afro’s rock.  That’s all there is to it.  But it’s all in the maintenance and care you put into it. Admittedly, part of the reason this makes me a bit bummed out is that just last year Willow’s hit single “Whip My Hair” became the #naturalhair anthem inciting women around the world to whip their twists, braids, locs, and of course—their afros back and forth.

And while we’re on the topic of Willow Smith needing some assistance and supervision.  Gosh, I was particularly disturbed to see this little nugget over on NecoleBitchie: Miss Smith tweeted a pic of herself on a stripper pole saying “Vegas Chick….”



She’s ELEVEN!!!!  And just on the tails of the birth of the newest power-couple bebe, this was just a testament that they just grow up so so fast…especially in the limelight.  Moral of the story: slow it down Willow.  Just slow it down.  (and come get your kid, Will and Jada!!!)  Maybe I’m just the type that holds on a little too long to the way they were, considering that Lindsay Lohan’s Parent Trap can still bring a tear to my eye.  So right now, I’m just going to end on remembering a scene from the good old days…


Ahhhhh….much better.

I See You and Your New Shaved Sides, Jill Scott!

And way to go girl! Never has there been a better time for me to say: GREAT MINDS MOST DEFINITELY THINK ALIKE!

Right now they’re thinking that clippers are in and fades are hot! On Monday’s VH1 Diva’s showcase, Jilly from Philly debuted a new style that featured a shaved sides topped off with a bouffant of two-strand twists.



Oops sorry, was that last one of me? Gosh, it’s so confusing to have quasi-matching hair do’s!

Jill’s hair do’s have always been envelope-pushing and avant-garde; as such her styles are highly anticipated and frequently recreated. This fully shaved side look is definitely no different. A quick call over to her stylist and my amiga Felicia Leatherwood revealed that this look isn’t necessarily new nor the first time she clipped the sides. “She’s a fun challenge to work with,” said Felicia, “it’s always exciting to hear what she comes up with next!”

What I’m interested in is how she carries this style forward and what happens when she unpins the twists. What are her other styling options here? I purposefully left one on side of my hair intact so that when I wanted I wouldn’t be exposing the Damn Fade all the time, but she boldly went with both. I’m also curious to see what she does with the grow out. Is she going to clip the rest off and start from square one or just let it all grow together? Another thing Jill and I apparently share is our envy of Felicia’s closely cropped hair…hmm….

It’s been 2 weeks since I did the Damn Fade and my clipped side is already growing super fast! The once super precise lines are now fuzzy and little textured curls are creeping back in. While I’m tempted to go find a barber and clean it up, I’m also wondering if I should just let it grow back in so that when the twists come out in a few weeks I don’t have a totally lopsided do. That said, I kinda specialize in lopsided do’s these days, so whatever I’d have would just be naturally dramatic!

Then and freshly clipped

Now and starting to grow (just 2 weeks later)

If you’re wanting to hop on this style train, but don’t want to make the commitment to clippers, may I suggest using cornrows or flat twists to pull in the sides to achieve this look.

Either way, I’m totally loving Jill’s new do, partially because OMG MATCHING FRIENDSHIP HAIR, but also because it looks fantastic. I can’t wait to see how this style evolves…on both of us! Happy Friday, Joyous Weekend, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

Meanwhile Over On NaturallyCurly…

I realized that I too infrequently post links to all the goodness I’m writing over on NaturallyCurly.com and I wanted to share them with you! Here’s a round up of some of the most recent ones:

Stretching Natural Hair with African Threading

A heat-free elongation technique that uses thread to stretch coily hair as demonstrated by The Damn Salon.


CURL CRUSH Event Recap!

There was a really cool “speed dating for curlies” event in NYC a couple weeks ago and here’s the scoop on what went down.


My Monthly Event Feature!

There’s always a ton of great events going on in the world of curls, and each month I write a column that features my pics for the ones to check out.

If you’re a gem and just want to read all the stuff I write, here’s a link to all my articles over there.

Three Natural Hair Mags To Watch

You’re a fan of reading blogs. I know this because you’re reading this one. Well, please allow me to share with you our online media cousins: web magazines! Here’s a round up of three that I’m digging right now.

Natural Hollywood Magazine

Published by stylist extraordinare Jennifer Lord, this magazine stands out for its stunning photography and editorial spreads. The hairstyles are unique and distinctive. Upon further examination, you’ll see that almost each and everyone of the styles were created by Jennifer herself! Awesome features to scope this issue are an interview with the Natural CEO, Miss Pam Jenkins of Koils By Nature and an eye candy-filled style spread featuring the Toronto Dancehall scene. To download your free copy visit www.naturalhollywood.com

Thirsty Roots Digital Magazine

Chances are if you attend an event in the south eastern part of the country, then Sharina and Calvin Hill of Thirsty Roots have been amongst the crowd snapping your picture and taking video. It’s no wonder then that this is digital mag is like natural hair people watching! I’ve always said that one of my favorite parts of going to hair events is seeing the creative styles that attendees rock. This magazine features some of the best of the best styles, the kind of stuff you wanted to get a good picture of, but either it was too dark or you were too shy to ask. Bonus: it’s chock full of haircare tips and styling techniques. Oh ok fine, and a picture of me too! Download your copy of this digital mag here: http://thirstyroots.com/ebook/

Natural Style Magazine

More community and lifestyle focused than the other two, Natural Style magazine features a variety articles on news, fashion, skincare, and events. Never fear though, it’s got the lots of natural hair styling tips and eye candy too! Ok ok ok, fine! I’m also in this one :) Check out the preview here.


Had to take a short break from Loc Week to talk HAIR SHOW! Had to. Last one of the YEAR! So I’ve been down here in Texas for the past week and a half and frankly—-IT’S FREEZING!!! Considering the last time I was here it didn’t dip beneath 95, I didn’t know Texas had freezing in it, but apparently it does. That said, Lola is much more used to the cold than the heat so she’s been faring alright. Great stuff has been happening here in Austin though from the NC.com headquarters. We’re in the midst of planning a GREAT event—our most spectacular yet— and there’s a lot of other good curly-dom on the horizon.

In other news, I got a new tattoo. Special gift to the first person to spot it in a pic or video and leave a note in the comments about it! Hint: it’s awesome.

Tomorrow begins the Nzuri Natural Hair Show and I’m getting all jazzed to dip my toes into the world-o-expo! As I said, it’s the last one of the year and is bound to be a good time. I’m going to be paying close attention to the workshops as there’s a lot to learn and soak in at this particular show. I’ve given away 5 pairs of tickets and I can’t wait to meet the winners so see you there and stay tuned for coverage!

Loc Week: Help a Loc’ed Sister Out!

Specifically my 9-year old sister Skya. Skya JUST hit her one year loc-i-versary (yayyyyyyy! wooo! get it Sky!!!) and she’s come a long long way since she first started her locs last November.



THEN (November 2010)


THEN (November 2010)



It’s really amazing how much her locs have grown in the past year!  She started them as braids, but they’ve really beefed up and…well…loc’ed and its absolutely gorgeous!!

Thing is, she’s kind of hit that in-between phase where her locs are too long to stay out of her face and too short to pull it back. Continue reading

I got 99 problems, but my hair ain’t one

I peeped the NaturalHairProblems Tumblr over BGLH earlier this week and LOVED – I mean LOVED – this site. I’m all about internet memes so when this one popped up in my #naturalhair sweet spot, I just ate it all up! Number #54 I found to be particularly on point, remembering a time when this happened to me. Unfortunately (lucky??) for me, I have a lot of friends who are non-stop-real-talk, and my butt I got called out on it. O_o

Here are a few of my favorites to sprinkle a bit of pre-weekend sunshine on your Friday!

Happy weekend, y’all!!

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