When I met Curly Nikki, Mrs. Nikki Walton, of Curlynikki.com I couldn't help feel like I was greeting an old friend and a complete stranger at the same time. So of course when I recognized the smile, of the now top natural hair blogger on the web- with over 4 million views a month, I walked towards the familiar smile and we greeted in a hug like old friends. After a few words on my part and many on Nikki’s -it was clear that she was the same on the blog as she was off. Since I’m a sucker for all things art and self-expression and want to celebrate it; I just had to feature a woman that makes it seem like a piece of cake! I hope the interview below inspires you and impacts you just as much as it did me! Enjoy her personal style story in the pictures below.
Liv Love: Hi Nikki, thank you for doing this interview with Unbelievably Human Today. UH, is about finding ways to express and share our stories using art as our medium; to promote love for self, love for life and love for others. During our interview we want to get to know what keeps the woman behind the curls self-assured and persuaded to accept the good and bad of life and continue to live out her love for life through her purpose and life desires.
Nikki, you seem so self-assured and comfortable in your own skin and at home with anyone. It seemed like you weren't meeting strangers but old friends. Was this always the case? Where did you find self-acceptance?
Curly Nikki: That’s a tough one. I’ve met people that seem super self-assured and confident as well. I feel we all deal with that [self-assuredness].So while on the outside we may come across very self-assured and confidant, often times we are having a struggle on the inside and we are believing that others are perceiving us a different way. So it’s funny you should say that I look so self-confident and I do believe that I am confident in a way, but I am also self-conscious and that is something that I have shared with my readers in the past and something that I feel that most women deal with at some point in their lives. I believe that part of it is a facade that we all have, unfortunately.
The other part is just loving what I do. I really love to get to meet the women that read Curlynikki.com and read the posts that I write, the post that I curate, it’s amazing, and those sorts of events remind me why I do what I do.
LL: Was “finding your voice” an issue for you?
CN: I would say that it’s a place where I found my voice. I was very passionate about getting past my hang-ups with my natural hair and not feeling pretty unless my hair was straightened. I knew after some self-reflection – a lot of self-reflection that it wasn't healthy and was headed somewhere worse. As a counseling psych grad student I was very interested in the social and psychological factors that were at play. So I began researching everything about the science of Black hair, learning to care for it, to style it and of course to ‘accept’ and ‘love it’. I synthesized everything I learned and experienced and felt very passionate about sharing it with other women that were like me.
So I think that the vulnerability piece that comes in with it, doesn't feel like that. I’m sharing myself freely because it feels like the right thing to do. I feel like even in the bad times that I share that somebody can get something positive from it. Like I’m serving a larger purpose, you know.
LL: I really do. Nikki, you do publicly share about bad times or painful times in your life. This question was hard for me to ask but I've heard you speak about your miscarriage earlier this year, publicly. But with no hang-ups and just a positive amped spirit to try again! It was pretty inspiring your countenance, What helped you through that and what‘s helping you heal?
CN: Yeah, well, you know, when it happened I was in St. Louis, I was with my family. So that was a large part. I was in my mother’s home, so I had her there, my father as well. My sister was home from grad school, so I had her there too. My husband was there and Gia was there so I had a huge support network – in real life.
CN: They were checking in with me, but they weren't over bearing. You know, they were very protective. I prayed and meditated a lot. When things are going on, I try to get quiet and center. I have this very clear gut feeling that things will work out in their own time. I’ll give Gia a sister or a brother one day soon.
LL: That’s truly awesome!....What is a constant activity you do in your life to center and give to yourself, BEFORE you give in your role as mother, wife, writer, psychotherapist and online best online curl friend?
CN: I would say mediation, again. Prayer, Meditation, and faith. Mediation shouldn't be about trying to quiet or stop your thoughts, because you can’t and you’ll only frustrate yourself. I’m talking about establishing a new relationship with your thoughts. Allowing them to come and go and not getting hung up on any one of them, good or bad thing. Realizing, that you are not your thoughts, or your feelings. I do this to achieve the peace that I need to re-enter into my daily life to be the best mother, the best wife, the best online curl friend I can be.
LL : I love what you said … Establish a new relationship with your thoughts. That’s amazing.
CN: Yea a lot of people think that meditating means stopping your thoughts, but you can’t stop your thoughts.
LL: You can’t yea…
CN: No, No, cause if you could stop your thoughts… If you could control them, you would never have negative ones! But you have negative thoughts all day!
CN: That means that you can’t control them. If you could you’d choose happy thoughts you’d choose them, but you can’t choose your thoughts. So you have to establish a new relationship, with the thoughts that you are having. If you could do that if you could learn to do that. To let them come and go you’d be happier and a lot more peaceful. Just let the thoughts be. And once you understand this in practice, you can direct your thoughts better… use your mind rather than letting it use you.
LL: I believe that, what is a personal creed you live by?
CN: Unshakable faith. Knowing that what I am setting out to achieve or do will happen because of a higher power and because I believe what I am doing is servicing women. Black women like me, who are just looking for a better quality of life.
LL: Do you see yourself as a blog-celeb, and how does this creed play into that? Cause I mean let’s face it Nikki for A LOT of women you are!
CN: Gosh NO!
CN: I understand that there is that aspect of what I do. My family and I get recognized from the blog because I talk about them so frequently. I feel like I’m often depicted as a role model for young girls. I get told that they look up to what I am doing and not just in my professional life and career but what I’m also doing in my personal life and with my family, because we are sharing so much of ourselves. The flip side of that, I feel often that I am not present in the moment. A lot of my life is spent taking pictures, and trying to get the next story, like you, with the perfect funny witty captions!
CN: When you’re doing that, you’re not in the moment living your life. I think that it was Kim Coles that said “Are you going to tweet about it or be about it!”
CN: And I am always tweeting about it.
CN: But I am trying to find balance so that I am able to be in the moment and enjoy it, because all we know is that we get this one life. So I need to make sure that I am fully in the moment with my family here and not living in some imagined future or swept up in thoughts about the next blog post.
As far as with my life philosophy, I don’t know. I feel this very large responsibility to be the best person that I can be so that I can be a light for others. The CurlyNikki platform is something I take very seriously. I don’t think of myself as that [role model]. I make a lot of mistakes that I share with my readers. All of it! The good and the bad! But I do feel this huge responsibility through my blog to show that everything I have is attainable and does exist, and can happen. Any thing you want to achieve and do, you can. You just have to have more faith than doubt.
LL: How are you being intentional about instilling self- love and acceptance into “Boogie” aka Gia [Nikki’s 3 year old daughter]? As one of your followers, I know that when you do her hair, you affirm its beauty but what other things?
CN: Every morning and night we spend time. I get her out of her bed each time and bring her into mine, and we lay there and we talk.
CN: It’s about nothing usually.
CN: In the morning I ask her how she slept. At night I ask how her day was. But it’s about laying there and giving her dedicated time and my attention- my dedicated attention. Not my torn attention that she may get throughout the day. No cell phone, no computer, no I-pad, just the two of us. And during that time, at some point I give her a big hug and I tell her “You are the most beautiful” and I stop at girl and she goes “in the world”.
CN: So she repeats back to me the things I tell
her every night. You know I don’t know if it’s going to help , but I do feel that way about her, and I know that I am biased!
CN: But hopefully it’ll sink in! But I think that the dedicated supremely important. Because it shows her just how important she is, and how important she is to my life.
LL: Yea EXACTLY, it’s like the spotlight! This interpersonal thinking makes me think of Curlynikki.com that just turned 5! As CurlyNikki.com has evolved it’s really become not only hair beauty –but the whole package-inner and outer beauty. As a psychotherapist, was this the vision that you always had for the site? And how does that relate to your own ethos?
CN: Yes, I was coming from the angle of healthy body image and self-esteem. Because I am a licensed psychotherapist, when I was learning about natural hair, I wasn't just focusing on the aesthetic piece. I was also doing the reflection piece that I told you about trying to figure out what it was that made me so scared of it, that made me so self-conscious when my hair wasn't straightened. So I knew that I could not be the only person who was dealing with that, in fact it’s a large part of the transitioning process for women that choose to go natural. So I knew that the blog needed to be dedicated to beauty inside and out.
LL: What do you envision for the next 5 years?
CN: That it [natural hair] would become the new standard of beauty, for women with highly textured hair. It just becomes what you do, and which is why I say that it [natural hair] is not a trend. Because the ability to wash and style your hair when you want to will not go out of style.
LL: That’s good stuff! What would be your advice to handling haters or people let’s say people that get uncomfortable when you begin to follow your passion?
CN: Let’s just say that when you decide to put yourself out there, criticism is not that far behind. So I feel that it’s something that you have to accept. It comes with the territory; and can become a source of motivation for some. I suggest not to focus on it ‘cause for the few haters that you have, you have thousands of others that see the positive and that are in support of you.
LL: Ok Nikki, here are some rapid fire questions for you!!!
CN: Sorry, Gia is singing happy birthday outside the door, and it’s not my birthday.
(LAUGHS and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Being belted by Gia. Nikki tells her serenading daughter she loves her and that they’ll play in 2 mins. )
LL: What’s your creative outlet?
LL: How would you characterize music in one word?
LL: What’s your favorite food?
CN: All of it…Fried things.
LL: Finish this sentence… Personal style is ___________
LL: What are you reading right now?
CN: Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
LL: toughest and best lesson ever learned?
CN: It would have to go back to what I talked about earlier. The toughest and best lesson is being in the moment and being present in my life. I don’t want to miss a second… with my daughter with my family. I won’t anymore; I’ll always be mentally present when I’m spending time. I've made a conscious effort to do that.
LL: Best decision but hardest to make?
CN: From my experience when it’s the right decision, it’s not really hard to make. Things work when they are supposed to work and they work quickly, and it’s obvious that it’s the path. I feel that I have been blessed with intuition and I trust it. Generally speaking, even as far as Curlynikki.com is concerned and my career in psychotherapy …where all of that is concerned, when decisions arise the “right” one is there and it’s easy for me to make it.
Nikki is truly Unbelievably Human. What’s your heart response to this interview? Anything Resonate? Where you inspired by Curly Nikki's personal style story? What’s Unbelievably Human about you? Let me know in the comments below!
*All pictures without photo credit are from : Curlynikki.com and Betterthangoodhair.com
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