Tell me a little about your natural hair journey as far as when/why it started, how long you’ve been natural, etc.
After encountering some serious damage from an at home relaxer I decided to give my hair a “break”. I stopped relaxing my hair in about 2004 and had every intention of relaxing again once it had recovered. So I wore braids as an alternative. I ended up falling in love with my braided styles and went through a “Brandy” phase for 2 whole years. When I finally stopped wearing the braids, I was so intrigued by what was on my head. It was a full, thick ‘fro! I loved it! And I decided to keep it.
Speaking of the natural hair community, they’ve really embraced you. When you’re out and about, do people recognize you for your videos?
I’m so happy to have found my home on Youtube! Outside of attending Natural Hair shows, when I’m out and about I don’t get recognized too often because I am Canadian and most of my subscribers are my American neighbours to the south. 🙂
Have you always had a passion for drawing and painting or did that talent come later in life.
I’ve always had a passion for drawing as early as I can remember. As a matter of fact I still have my 1st grade report card where the teacher complained that I was always doodling in my books instead of paying attention, lol. I sort of graduated from sketching to painting in my early teens and just fell in love with the vivid colours that I could add to my creations.
As an outsider, I see you as a successful woman who has branded her name, but I know we all define it differently. Do you consider yourself to be successful at what you sought out to do or is there more work to be done?
Thank you! I’m excited about what I’ve been able to accomplish so far but I do feel that there is more work to be done. Oftentimes when I’m out and rocking a big natural hairstyle, I get compliments from a lot of different women who often say the same thing, “I wish I could go natural.” That is why I think there is more work to be done. I want to use my channel to spread the message to other black women that there IS another option. I’m not one of those people who thinks everyone should go natural, but I do want everyone to know that it is at least an option they can consider. That is why I try to show the versatility of natural hair with my tutorials whether it’s a crazy lady gaga hair bow tutorial that maybe a young 14-year-old student may come across, or a natural hair professional style video that a 40-year-old lawyer may come across. I try to stay away from all of the “natural hair rules”, length checks, and product ingredient videos that saturate our community. Not only do I think there is enough of that, those things just don’t apply to my journey. I’d rather send the message to women in all walks of life that they can manage, appreciate, and most importantly have fun with the hair they were given. I wish I had found that out a lot earlier!
Purchase Toni’s paintings and earrings at http://www.tonidaley.com.
(Toni’s D.I.Y. project for a crafty way to organize and showcase earrings.)