Founder of Shea Me - Founder of Sisterforlife
We asked Flavia for an insight on her personal experience with her hair!
Can you relate?
What is your first hair memory?
My first hair memory is of my hair being styled in sections in like a 'bon-bon' hairstyle. Along with that signature style of mine, my mom would add four massive braids with little clips that looked like sweets on the end of each braid. It was a really quick and easy style to do and to take out.
What hair style was your favourite growing up?
Box braids! Especially whilst transitioning from my jerry curls to relaxed hair ! Yes... just like many other girls I had a JERRY CURL! I did notice that my hair broke off during this change. I was raised in Italy. It was very difficult to locate quality hair products for people of colour during the 90's to support the regrowth of my hair.
What style did you hate?
I was quite open to different styles whilst growing up but the jerry curls had to go! I hated it because of how wet and oily my hair was and I found it hard to maintain.
How was your school experience in Italy with regards to your hair?
School was difficult for me at the beginning. Particularly because I grew up in Italy where the community had no clue about black culture let alone black hair. I was always teased for how stiff my hair was and rigid in movement. It affected my confidence and self esteem. In my own way I battled against this by morphing into an outspoken and out-going person who refused to allow anyone to bring me down. It took time to truly love my hair. I had to start again. I looked to celebrities on television as a source of inspiration and felt that I could not live up to the standards even they were setting. When I was younger, I had no knowledge of wigs or weaves and assumed celebrities only had their natural hair out which made me think I really was someone with abnormal hair. This had a negative impact on me. Now that I have grown up, I can see why embracing natural hair is an important step to loving ourselves.
Did the other children play with your hair at school?
The other children were as much of a problem as the old ladies and teachers. They used to touch my hair and comment on how it felt like candy floss. They used to pet me like an animal and this made me feel like a rare human species. This part of my experience felt very degrading. hence, why now, whenever a somewhat ignorant comment is made regarding my hair, I nip it right in the bud with a snappy comment! Those days are over!
How old were you when you started doing your own hair?
I have been pretty lazy when it comes to my hair! Up until about four years ago I decided to do the big chop! I said bye to all of relaxed hair despite how thick and healthy it was. I decided to start my natural journey by washing and treating it myself. Today my hair is my pride and joy! It has been one of the best decisions I have made for my hair and self esteem. From time to time I do indulgent in a good wig. I love wearing wigs especially in the UK as the weather can be harsh on natural hair.
You can find out more about Flavia via the links below: