I came across this young lady while attending a natural hair event hosted by Sunshine Malone. We later worked together on a photo shoot and I was totally inspired by her poses (especially seeing as it’d been her first time)! So I was happy to feature her on My Natural Reality for my readers to be inspired as well!
Hi! My name is Kouki (pronounced “co-key”), I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. I attend Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and major in mass communications with a minor in French. I manage a natural hair channel on YouTube dedicated to sharing information and documenting my hair growth.
My natural journey started about 4 years ago when I decided to become a vegetarian. I’ve always been extremely health conscious, so I started thinking about healthy alternatives to chemical relaxers. Initially, I stumbled on a product claiming to be a “natural relaxer”. I was so excited. At the time, I was only 16 years old in high school, so I couldn’t afford the product every 4-6 weeks like directed to use.
Photo credit: LBphotography1
Bummed out about the natural relaxer, I ventured to YouTube and natural hair forums to learn everything I could about hair, African American hair specifically. That’s when I found Kimmaytube, one of the natural hair gurus who inspired me to go natural.
On December 22, 2009, I had my FINAL chemical relaxer. Back then there was not a ton of information on the proper way to transition to natural hair, so I honestly didn’t know what the heck I was doing. During my transitioning time, I refrained from heat almost entirely, began doing hot oil treatments, and deep conditioning my hair. I noticed a change in my hair growth immediately. I transitioned for a total of 6 months and did the big chop on June 2, 2010.
People thought I was crazy, they told me I was crazy, and they looked at me like I was crazy. Many assumed I was about to start growing dreads, when I told them I was not, they asked, “Well what are you going to do with it.” Wear it natural, duh!
Now three years later, others look to me for inspiration and information on going natural. Going natural had to be one of the best decisions of my life. The amount of confidence and respect that I have for myself is so much higher than it used to be while I had relaxed hair. I’ve learned to love myself exactly the way I am. No longer do I submit to society’s standards of beauty. I am beautiful, because I am me.
FACEBOOK: Kouki Collier