Martina Nicholas – Curly Hair Specialist Q&A
Diversity in Entrepreneurship
Martina began her curl journey in 2016. She was tired of her hair constantly breaking due to straightening, and not being able to retain length as a result. She had every intention of going right back to straightening her hair once she gave it a little break from heat. By letting go of her hot tools she discovered her natural texture is something to be loved and embraced.She now helps her clients love their natural texture and it is one of the most rewarding things she’s able to do day in and day out.
Many black women growing up did not embrace their natural hair texture. Is that something that you faced? If so, how did you grow to love your hair?
“Yes, I absolutely faced that. I wanted my hair sleek, no hair out of place. I became a pro at my hair and had my own system that would get it the most straight. I wore my hair straight from about 13-26 years old. I used to relax my own hair every 3-4 months but haven’t had a relaxer in about 11 years. I actually originally went natural to help my hair grow longer & intended on going back to straightening it once it was a certain length and I just didn’t. I started to really realize, this was my hair and I needed to figure out how to take care of it in its natural state. I don’t love my hair everyday, but I do most of the time, which came with patience. There’s a whole process of getting comfortable with how you look and feel because going from straight to natural, your whole appearance changes in literally one wash.”
The CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) has only been passed in 7 states and Arizona is not one of them. Why is this issue important to you? Have you ever faced any discrimination when it comes to your hair?
“This issue is so important because it shouldn’t be an issue. To wear your hair how it naturally comes out of your head or any protective style. It’s just another way to discriminate and have some way to excuse racism. No other group of people in this country has ever had this issue, just us. It’s our culture and it’s unfortunate that we always have to fight so damn hard to keep it. I am working on what steps I can do to help push the Crown Act along in Arizona because this insanity has gone on long enough.”
“Our culture is beautiful and strong. Often imitated, never duplicated. Hair is such a big way we express ourselves, Especially as black women.”
What are some goals or things you are aspiring to accomplish in the future in regards to hair care?
“On a bigger scale, I a want to see more diversity from bigger brands. More inclusion of texture, not just typical curls but coils, kinks, afros, I want it all. Personally I am working on some projects that will just push us forward with more confidence in our hair. I want to do so much because we are far overdue. I am working on getting some more exposure of curly styles on apps/websites like Pinterest where most of us go to look for style inspiration & see nobody that looks like us. Pre-Covid I was working on a workshop where parents can bring their kids in & learn how to take care of their hair. Working through how to pivot and adapt that concept to something that’s safe for our climate right now. I am also getting into curly hair education because there needs to be more of us stylists who know what we’re doing! There is definitely enough curly hair to go around. “
When people leave your chair how do you want them to feel?
“Free. Relieved. My curl journey showed me how much my self esteem and sense of self was tied up in my appearance and my straight hair. But now I would never go back. This is me. Who I am. I want my clients to feel like that. Like the best version of themselves and like they have a person now. A professional on their side for support. “