Kimberly Elise Embraces Her Natural Hair Journey

Many know actress Kimberly Elise from some of her acclaimed roles in ‘Set It Off’, ‘John Q’, ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’, and ‘For Colored Girls’. Her incredible smile and intense on-screen persona are just two characteristics she shares with her audience. Now, we can add her natural hair to that list. In fact, she’s been on her natural hair journey since the early 2000’s.

“Around 2000, after years of color, relaxers, weaves, you name it, I had finally had enough,” admits Elise. “I had enough of the burning scalp and scabs on my ears. I stopped putting chemicals in my hair altogether and went back to wearing a press-and-curl and would add in extensions for different styles. One day, I saw a photo of myself on the red carpet wearing long, straight hair down my back and I realized that I didn’t even look like myself. I said to myself, ‘Who is that? That’s not me.'”

On Women Who Want To Transition To Natural Hair
“It’s so incredibly personal. I definitely wouldn’t try to persuade someone because there is a lot of commitment that goes with it. But if a person is at a point that there sure that this is what they want to do… I’d say get as much education as you can even before you big chop! I recommend reading ‘The Science of Black Hair’. Be patient with it, listen to it. What works for your sister may not work for you. It’s an exciting, magical process to watch your hair come to life and thrive. My mom is 73 and she said her hair is saying ‘finally!’ It’s true because your hair really will talk to you. Surround yourself with a community of support. Not everyone will be supportive. There is still a lot of stigma against us with our natural hair. Pressures to have it straight. It’s important to have a support group, even if it’s just strangers on the Internet. Have fun with it. Create some new styles and share them. It’s a magical journey and it’s liberating. You can walk out in the rain and not worry about it… it’ll create a new fantastic hairdo!

On Having Curly Hair
“I love how my curly hair is such a personal expression of the woman I am. The woman God created. I get excited as I see it grow and grow and I see it as a direct reflection of my own growth into myself and accepting me as me. I find that though not everyone embraces my hair most people do and they love to ask me about it, learn how I care for it especially if they are struggling to understand their own hair. I am always open to answer their questions and advise them as much as I can. They will start asking me about my movies and we always end up talking about hair care! Also I find that people of other ethnicity’s really really love our kinky curly hair and are always full of compliments and praise and simply cannot stop the flow of positive words about my big kinky curly hair. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate self and be celebrated by others who may be different from me. I love it!”

“A little while after going natural, my youngest daughter who is 12 years old said to me, ‘I want my hair natural, too’ so we trimmed off a little heat damage that she had on the ends and now she wears this big natural hair and it’s so fierce. I love seeing my mom and my daughter embrace their natural hair. I’m glad I’ve embraced it, too.”

“Now when I see myself on the red carpet, I say, ‘There I am. That’s the real me.'”