Natural Sistahs: How long have you worn your hair natural?
Rhonda McKnight: My hair has been natural since August 13, 2010.
Natural Sistahs: Did you transition, big chop or something else?
Rhonda McKnight: I went natural kinda by accident. I had my last perm in May 2009 and had been wearing Kinky Twists which had been my signature hairdo for about four years. In April 2010 I took a set of twist out and my hair was a mess. It was badly damaged and shedding like crazy. The front broke off completely down to about 5 inches. I was horrified, but I didn't know what I needed to do. I was literally in tears about it on the phone one day and one of my besties invited me over for girltime. My hair was in a ponytail. I was looking rough. My girl had sisterlocks and she suggested I try those. I knew sisterlocks weren't in my budget and said so. She suggested going natural and I asked, "What's that?" Seriously, I live in Atlata and I asked what's that. Seriously, there were four other natural headed women in the house and I asked, "What's that?" She simply said, "No perm, girl." Her mother offered to two strand twist my hair right there on the spot and the next day I rocked an adorable twist out. Then I got online to learn more about this natural hair thing. I found You Tube and CurlyNikki.com and became fascinated with the idea that I could wear my hair in it's natural state. No more relaxer, no more Kinky Twists, just my God given curls and kinks. I did a few mini chops and then on Friday, August 13th I stopped by Sally's for a pair of scissors and did my final cut.
Natural Sistahs: Share some love with your Natural Hair Sistahs you would have loved to receive when you started your natural hair journey.
Rhonda McKnight: I got nothing but love from other naturals. Living in a city like Atlanta makes that easy. The perms are durn near in the minority. Most of my love came from my online buddies in natural hair forums. I started blogging and posting pictures and the responses were High 5, "you look fab sistah". It was all positive, so I felt very comfortable wearing my new look which was short. I was rocking a 4 inch curly afro. I have to add that I'm in the over 40 age category and usually we women have a sense of confidence about who we are by that age. I really didn't care what anyone thought about my hair. I suggest if a woman is newly natural and can't get the love from friends and family, join a local meetup and become natural on a forum like CurlyNikki or in a Facebook group. You'll get more than enough support from the women there.
Natural Sistahs: Tell the Natural Sistahs about your books and experience as a natural sistah in the publishing industry .
Rhonda McKnight: I write edgy inspirational women's fiction. My novels are An Inconvenient Friend, Secrets and Lies and What Kind of Fool, the highly anticipated sequel to An Inconvenient Friend which releases on February 1st. As far as hair in the literary world, I've received absolutely nothing but positive feedback including lots of Facebook messages and sidebar chats at events about what I use in my hair. My 2nd novel came out on August 1st 2010 and I already told you I cut my hair off on August 13th. My readers were shocked when I started touring, because all my promo material included pictures with Kinky Twist, but they quickly adapted with comments like, "Wow, your hair looks great or we see so much more of your face." It was way cool and my confidence in the book and my hair just had me glowing. The only thing that's been a challenge is making sure I'm successful at having a good hair day when I have an event. That proved to be a challenge in the spring and summer humidity, but I made this hair do what it was going to do and smiled for the pictures. By and large I think I looked fierce no matter what my hair was doing. Please stop by my website or Facebook fan page at http://www.rhondamcknight.net and www.facebook.com/booksbyrhonda and check me out.
Natural Sistahs: What is your natural hair care staple?
Rhonda McKnight: In recent months I have been delivered from the sickness of product junkism. I had it bad, but now I just buy a few new things here and there and only on sale. I have found that my hair responds best to products with all natural ingredients. No mineral oil or petroleum for these curls. They dry it out. I also can't use Shea butter. Dries out my hair and breaks out my face. One thing I have found is that my hair loves grease. Natural greases like Original Moxie Hair Bling and Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade, which surprised me because my hair is fine and is pretty thin in some spots. Hair like mine tends to be weighed down by oils, but not so in my case. My hair eats up some oil, number one being jojoba. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out the best ingredients for my hair and found that it loves water, aloe vera juice and fatty alcohols like cetearyl alcohol. It also purrs when I use a product with up Behentrimonium Methosulfate in it, so I look for products with all those ingredients. As far as actual products go, if one looked in my closet you would find products by Darcy's Botancials, Oyin, Original Moxie, Afroveda and Shea Moisture. I also just started experimenting with Curl Junkie and I'm impressed. I like supporting the small companies owned by sistahs so buying their products is a win-win. My hair is happy and I'm spending my dollars where I think they're most deserved.