It was the day before a big job interview, and I checked everything off my to-do list: buy an outfit, print out copies of my resume, and stop by DryBar to get my natural hair "blow-dried straight with extra attention at the roots, please." Blowouts were a biweekly part of my hair routine — anything to keep my naturally curly hair "tamed" and "professional," as my Dominican family would say.
But, of course, the day of my interview was one of the most humid days of the summer. My hair began to frizz and the extra care given to my roots had gone out the window. I began to panic and called my mom, who told me to brush it down into a sleek updo or reschedule my interview. I ended up pulling my hair back into a ponytail and rocking the interview, but later that night I was caught up in self-reflection. I wondered: What's so wrong with my natural curls? Nothing.
That's when I decided to start wearing my natural curls more often. I wanted to be comfortable wearing my hair however I wanted, whether that was straight or curly.
Unfortunately, wearing my natural ringlets was a lot more complicated than I thought. Growing up, I had a head full of coils, but after all those Sunday salon visits with my mom and eight years competing in pageants — which involved lots of extensions and hot tools — I started to lose that curl shape. Getting my hair to curl up at this point required scrunching in mousse until my fingers hurt.
I wanted to see what my curls were capable of if I just let them be. So, I got a big chop. I cut 10 inches off my hair and ended up with a short bob ... another no-no in my family since long hair was deemed "a blessing." For this transformation, I made my way to New York-based curl expert Mona Baltazar, a.k.a. @themonacut, who cut off the heat-damaged strands, gave my hair shape, and shared her favourite curly-hair products.
I couldn't believe how different I looked at the end of it all, but I've never felt more like myself. I hope that my transformation can start a larger conversation about embracing naturally curly hair, especially for those Latina women who are told that only long, straight hair is beautiful.
To watch my dramatic haircut, check out the full Hair Me Out video above.