Professionals Keep It Kinky-Brenda E.

CIMG2041a Display Name: Brenda E.
Age: 32

Degrees: B.A. Economics, Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Industry: Education/Marketing/EntrepreneurTitle: English Teacher and Business Owner

Questions1. Based on your profession and corporate culture, what were your primary concerns about wearing natural hair in the workplace? How did you overcome them?

I've been natural now for 7 months. I did the 'BIG CHOP' two days before packing up and leaving for South Korea. I was so scared that people wouldn't accept my hair, so I wore wigs for the first three months of my stay here. The thing is, I was so uncomfortable in them, because I never really felt like myself in them. Finally one day I decided that enough was enough, I wanted to wear my natural hair, and I was determined to do it, regardless of my hesitations about it. I’ll be honest, I was unsure about how my fellow Korean teachers would perceive my hair, but I had gotten to the point where I couldn't lie to myself anymore about who I really was, and about what I really looked like without the wigs.
Wearing my natural hair in public was a big decision for me to make, because as many of you may or may not know, South Korea is a very homogeneous country. While South Korea currently has approximately 30,000 foreign teachers in this country, the black teachers are still few and far between.

While I didn’t quite overcome my fears about going natural in South Korea, what I did know was that on that particular day, my desire to show my natural tresses was stronger than my fears about what people would think. I wanted to wear my hair and style my own hair. I didn't want my idea of what other people would think to hinder me anymore. Three months was enough, and it was time for the reveal!

Today, I feel so much more confident with my own hair than I ever did wearing the wigs. I think the confidence comes from knowing me, and not being afraid anymore about how people will react to my hair, or what they will say. I think that I look better with my natural hair, and that's what is important - how I feel with and about my hair.
My decision to show my natural tresses was was THE best decision I have EVER made, and I am never going back.

2. How did your co-workers, clients and boss respond when you revealed your new do?


The next morning when I walked into the teacher's lounge with my natural hair, my heart pounded so loudly, I thought that everyone could hear it! I had arrived a little early as all of my Korean coworkers were in a meeting, so I had time to settle in. Before you know it, their meeting was over, and they all began to flood into the teacher's lounge, one after the other. I braced myself for the comments but the reactions were all the same... "Oh wow Brenda, I love your hair!", "Oh wow Brenda, so cute!"
The comments that I heard that morning were positive reinforcements that I had made the right decision - for me!

3. Has your performance been rewarded since you’ve been natural? If not, do you believe your hair has been a factor? Any regrets?


My performance hasn't changed, as I am still an excellent teacher. However, knowing that I can walk into work every day with my natural hair is an extra boost of confidence, which never hurts!

4. What advice would you offer a professional peer who’s on the fence about going natural?


Do your research; search the internet, and blogs about natural hair. You'll find that you are in great company of women who want to be to be natural if they're not already.
Educate yourself about hairstyles. You'll realize that there are so many cute ways to wear your natural hair inside and outside of professional settings.
Be honest with yourself. It's normal to have a million doubts about whether or not to go natural. Some of the questions that will pop up usually start: "should I......?", "can I.....?", "what if......?", "how will they....?" and finally, "what will they......?"
Answer those questions/doubts honestly, and hopefully you'll find that there are more POSITIVE than negative reasons to go natural.

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10 comments:

  1. Pwetty lady and love u hair

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  2. I applaud you ... for many years i wored in banking and wore processed hair .... i left the bank in 2002 and there after became pregnant with my first child and i let my hair grow out naturally as i didnt want any of the chemicals harmimg my child ..... when i went back to work i went back to chemically straightening my hair and while it was beautiful i was no longer comfortable . three years later when pregnant with my second child i decided to go natuaral again .... this time i locked it ..... its been 4 years and i havent had one regret ,everywhere i go , i get compliments .

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  3. I did my big chop this past Saturday and I have received nothing but complements from co-workers, family and friends. My husband hates it, but like you I got tired of wearing the wigs. I had to do this for my health and for me. I love your hair and I am looking forward to seeing my hair grow!

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  4. Your story just hit home for me...I'm wearing wigs now cause really I'm nervous about really letting anyone see it. But so glad you had that courage...I'm hoping to have my hair grow just a little bit longer to style better and then let go of the wigs!

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  5. Thank you all for your words of encouragement!

    Janice... 4 years and going strong! Keep it up girl!

    Said... Congratulations on your big chop! I'm sure that your husband will grow to love your hair! :) (What's HSK??)

    Anonymous...You will know when the time is right to let go of your wigs. When you do you will have no regrets!!

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  6. I'm proud of you girl! <3 ya!!

    I think I'm gonna do it & stop hiding behind my braids! : )
    (u know who this is!)

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  7. thank you for your honesty! i have been natural for over two years and love it:)

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  8. So happy for your experience! I am 57 years old and sometimes feel that those in my age group are frowning upon my locs.....do I care? NOT! I absolutely love my hair...you're only as old as YOU feel!! I am so glad I made the natural transition 4 years ago...I would never entertain the thought of going back to relaxers.....welcome to the natural club< Brenda...work it, girl!

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