Meet The NGR® Brand Ambassadors…….
My name is Paula Gipson and I am 27 years old. I enjoy fitness, reading, and photography. I currently work for the Georgia Department of Corrections and aspire to pursue a career in the forensics field. My natural hair journey began in the Summer of 2012. I was heavily influenced by younger sister Pamela, who went Natural two years previously. Since I was starting a new career, I thought it was time to revamp who I was as a person. I began transitioning in June by wearing braided extensions in my hair. At work, I found comfort by two female Correctional Officers who have been natural for years. On Veterans Day weekend in 2012, I walked into a salon and got the “Big Chop.” To my own surprise, I was happy that it was done and I was officially part of the Natural Hair Community. I started looking forward to watch my hair progress and grow. When my co-workers saw my new hairstyle, I received positive compliments. Since I was working at a female Correctional facility, I would have inmates approach me about hair advice. It was wonderful how a simple haircut, was inspiring others to do the same. The best thing about being Natural is being able to finally come out of my norm. I have been able to try new styles with my hair and clothing as well. More importantly, I have bonded with so many women and men in the Natural hair community. That is the best feeling that money can’t buy.
My name is Deidra L. Bulger, I am 46 years old and have been fully natural since March 2012. I'm a New York native and have been in Athens, Ga. Since December of 2001. I work for the Clarke County School District at Cedar Shoals H.S. as a Special Ed Paraprofessional, working with disable students. I am the oldest of 5 siblings, I am very active in my church Timothy Baptist Church, I sing in the choir and the praise team, I am a youth advisor and a member of the Deaconess board. I was diagnose with Lupus 3 years ago and this was one of my main reasons for going natural. Because of all the meds, stress and depression i was under and going natural, not knowing what to do with my mane lol. I was almost 3 hundred pounds! My confidence & self-esteem was lacking! Because of my faith in God i picked my self up and started treating myself right and taking care of myself, lost 70 pounds and maintaining my lupus pretty good; i do have flare ups but i handle them pretty well! I have a great Mentor & friend Ragonda of "Natural Healthy Hair Diva" who helped me through my Natural process; I gain my self-esteem and confidence level up so much I try-out and became a Natural Girls Rock season 6 Ambassador, to show the world "I have Lupus but Lupus don't have me!"
My name is Karrington Warfield. I am 42 years old and originally from New Castle, Pennsylvania. I have been a resident of Atlanta since April of 1998. I’m currently employed at Careerbuilder as an Event Manager/Administrative Assistant and hold a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management.
I am an active member in church, and love to read, write, watch movies, and spend time with my family. My natural journey began in October 2012. I transitioned from a relaxer to my natural hair and a few months later I did the big chop. Throughout this natural journey I have learned to love my hair but most importantly to love MYSELF! It has been an honor to represent Natural Girls Rock and I look forward to what God has in store for each individual person who is a part of the organization and the organization as a whole. It has been an amazing journey so far and I can’t imagine my experience getting any better. I feel so very blessed to be a part of something so REAL, EMPOWERING, and around so many amazing people! I thank God for the vision He put in Kelly J!!!!
My name is Cara Rivera. I am a wife, mother and natural hair lover. I currently work as a Public Health Advisor for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I have had natural hair all my life. I started my locs at the age of 5 and rocked them proudly for almost 16 years, never once putting a comb through my hair. It wasn't until 2009 during my sophomore year at Spelman College that I felt the urge for change. I cannot say what it was exactly that sparked this new desire. I just knew that it was right and that nothing would stop me. Although I was excited, I was terrified at the same time. I was unaware of my true hair texture, the maintenance required of "loose" hair, or what I would look like.
In June of 2009, I cut my waist length locks in half and began the "lock take down". My mother, expecting tears, slowly passed me a mirror and awaited my reaction. At that moment, looking into the mirror, I realized that it was not the just the end of a journey but the beginning of a new one...an amazing one.
That same year, I was featured on a popular blog as a natural bride and saw how my story regarding the internal battle I faced over whether or not to wear my natural hair down the aisle touched the lives, hearts, and hairs (lol) of so many women. Next thing I knew, I received emails and calls from both strangers and friends telling me about how I had inspired their journeys. I cannot begin to describe what it feels like to empower women and young girls and to let them know that they are beautiful... just by being me!
When I hear individuals say "Natural is NOT for everyone", it literally makes me cringe. How could something I was born with, something that is so unique to me, not be for me? I want to be an inspiration for those who are afraid of the unknown. I am no natural hair expert. I had locs all of my life and am still learning how to do my hair and what I can and cannot do. What is important to me is that I am not afraid. I am excited to try new things and embrace what I have.
I am not my hair... but my hair is sooo me! Sassy, big and sometimes wild. I am growing to love my hair more and more each day.
My name is Cara Rivera. I am a natural girl and I rock.... because I do!
Hello, My name is Grenisha, aka Nisha. I have been a resident of the Atlanta area since 2005. I am originally from Jackson, TN by way of East St. Louis, IL. I am the wife of a man that is my other 50%. I am the mother of a 21 year old daughter. I give her support, as much as possible, as she makes her way through life's ups and downs. I am the daughter of a mom that would give her last for her kids. I am the little sister to two brothers that are my keepers. I am currently pursuing my degree in Psychology with a long term goal of obtaining my PhD, LORD willing. Upon first meeting me, I may seem quiet but I'm really not. I am an observer and usually don't miss much. A few of my favorites include: movie, Love Jones; color, black; music artist, Mary J. Blige; author, E. Lynn Harris; sport’s team, Dallas Cowboys; food, crushed ice; Okay that’s not a food but it is edible.
My journey back to natural hair began as a challenge to myself to see how long I could go without getting a relaxer. I was one of those relaxed ladies that ran to the store to get that box of Optimum Super, when I felt a slight crinkle at the root. My doobie wrap had to be fresh, ALWAYS!! The challenge became reality October 2010. This was the last time I received a relaxer. By December, I was feigning. But I stuck it out and transitioned with several mini chops….because those two textures were not working together. November 2011, I cut the remaining relaxed ends. I wasn’t completely happy with my decision. To be honest, it took me a few months to accept the fact that my hair was not going to look like the girls in the YouTube videos or on the natural hair blogs. And to this day, I still get frustrated with “her” but I don’t let it bother me like before. I’ve learned to accept it and Rock It…like only Natural Girls that Rock can do!!!!
Hello world! I’m Valerie Irving and I’m from Evansville, Indiana but have lived in the Atlanta, GA area for well over 20 years now. I guess I should just claim Georgia as home…NOT (lol)! Like most people, I’ve survived much and because of every challenge my mindset became one of not simply surviving but one of conquering! I’ve chosen not to merely exist but I’ve chosen to LIVE! For me that means travel…travel near, travel far and travel wide! This world is a lot smaller than we know and if I have my way, I’ll see every corner of it. I love to encourage others (particularly women) to see the good in all things but especially within themselves. Trust me, experience has taught me that EVERYONE needs someone to give them a boost, to let them know they are thought of and loved. I’m always willing to give a smile & a hug and a word of reassurance. Stop by and see us at RockBox Atlanta and believe me I’ll greet with you a smile, a hug and good ol’ southern HEY! I mean we ARE in the South right? Hope to see you all real soon. Be blessed!
Hello World! I am Brandi Kay…and I’m Natural…and I rock!!
I was born in Queens, NY but the South raised me. Moving from Big City Life to trees and dirt roads was a big change, but I managed to adjust. Growing up, I was very naive. I can remember always wanting others’ approval and always wanting people to like me. I was so concerned about what people thought of me that I didn’t think much of myself. I would always try to fit in and be accepted. It wasn’t until I got to college where I began to become my own person. For me, going natural just happened. I realized that my hair was still manageable without the creamy crack. Back then, I always wore my hair straight. You would never catch me with a fro. The first time I did the “Big Chop” was my junior year in college. I felt like I needed a fresh start…a new beginning at that point in my life. A lot of people questioned me as to why I cut my hair and told me I shouldn’t have done it, but I didn’t care. I had gotten to the point where I needed to live for Brandi and not others. From there on, I began experimenting with color and different styles. A stylist by the name of Cidney wanted to cut my hair into a mohawk. She was working at a new salon that was having a photo shoot as part of their launch. I was all for it! From then on, I rocked my mohawk with confidence and I was even complimented on it. I wound up chopping all my hair off again (just because I felt like it and didn’t care what people thought) and adding some color this time! Some people mistake my confidence for cockiness, but that’s because they don’t know what I’ve experienced. Once you learn to ignore the negative opinions of others and just do you, you will live freely with no doubt about who you are. With that being said I leave you with a short but meaningful quote: “Know your worth or someone else will determine it for you.” I am Brandi Kay and I approve this message.
Hello Divas, my name is Aja Eishell Davis (yes, I really like my name) and I am a Natural Girl, who Rocks!!! I am a native of Compton, California, but I have lived the ATL for many years now. I am the proud sister to two younger brothers and the even prouder daughter of a mother who was allowed her final healing while never complaining about her fight with Multiple Sclerosis. Don't let this baby face fool you, I have been teaching in Atlanta's urban school system for nearly 15 years now. My natural hair story started before I was even aware. I grew up with a mother and grandmother who had a totally different hair textures that mine which shaped my thoughts of my hair in a negative way. I never looked at my hair as bad, but I definitely looked at their hair as "good". When I turned 30, I began to make some changes in my life. I began to come into my own. Being healthy all around, was one of those changes. I decided that I was going to grow long, strong hair and the way that I thought to do that ways by stretching out the time between my relaxers. While I was in the process of doing that, I learned the term "transitioning". I did more and more research on transitioning, on Youtube, of course, (don't judge, you probably did it too) and decided that that was something that I wanted to do. It never dawned on my that my mom and grandmother were natural because they had "good" hair, but I was in love with all of the images of kink, coils, and curls that was being exposed to. I transitioned for 9 months and finally did my big chop in July 2011. I had finally made a decision for myself that didn't take into account what anyone else would think about it. I have never second guessed my decision. I never knew that my decision would have such a positive impact on the little girls in my school. Now I am not saying that natural is the only way, but for a little girl, knowing that her natural hair is beautiful is very important. I find myself encouraging their decision to wear their natural and constantly tell them that they are beautiful. God allows us to make decisions for ourselves, but he also finds a way to use our decisions to minister to others. Natural Girls Rock....Because They Do!!!
Hi Ladies! My name is Lyndsey Hayward and I am 23 years old. Upon graduating from Hampton University’s 5-Year MBA Program in May 2013, I relocated from Upper Marlboro, Md to Marietta, Ga. While my background is in business, my true passion is encouraging youth to appreciate their uniqueness and inspiring them to explore their imaginations, passions, and dreams. I am currently an active member of the Iota Zeta Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, member of Toastmasters, member of my church’s choir, help with the youth step team, and I am also one of the youth directors for Grace Community Christian Church.
I have never had a perm, but I did get that press-n-curl on the biweekly basis. While at college, I decided I was going to do big things and started straightening my own hair. EPIC FAIL! My hair is not meant to be and does not want to be straight. Why fight it? When I began to attempt to wear my hair in its natural state my hair was so many textures and one side refused to curl. The damage was irreversible. I wanted to know what God carefully designed and intended to be growing out of my head. On February 13, 2013, I had enough. Spontaneously, I had my hair dresser cut my hair into a tapered TWA. While the style was cute, there was still damaged hair on the top. Leaving the damaged hair would have defeated the purpose of cutting her hair in the first place. So, after a couple of months I had the top portion cut off. I had it colored that day too. I felt so free. Wetting my hair and leaving the house was a good time indeed. Cutting my hair was one the best decisions I ever made. Wearing my hair natural started a lifestyle, attitude, and wardrobe change. It is just something about cutting your hair and holistically embracing your natural beauty that brings out a certain glow and confidence.
My hair is a part of who I am, a legacy of boldness, and a glorious reminder of who God made me to be. Natural hair is strong, yet precious; unique, versatile, and it is especially beautiful. That is how God made me and every other black woman. Every day I celebrate that blessing and hope to continue to inspire other black women to appreciate and take pride in their natural hair. I may rock my natural hair in an up-do, slicked back in a puff, or have it wild ‘n’ out. No matter the style of the day, I make sure the world knows and has no doubt that I am a natural girl that rocks.
I was born Ya’Shika Solomon, but was soon given the most awesome nick-name of “YaYa” from my Natural Girls Rock (NGR) family!
I am 25 years old and from a smaller town in Georgia, also known as Athens. I relocated to Atlanta to work in marketing literally three days after successfully matriculating from Savannah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and a concentration in Public Relations/Advertising in 2010. But moved back to Athens literally a year later in 2011. I soon found myself traveling back to Atlanta frequently thereafter with NGR after being selected as a Season 5 Brand Ambassador, so it’s like I never left the “A.”
I am now pursuing a Masters in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. I love all there is to know about the mind and believe that developing a positive mindset in all aspects of life will produce positive results. I plan to become a life-coach, as opposed to a traditional counselor and help individuals, primarily young women to understand who they are in God, while assisting them in becoming unstuck and teaching them to actively pursue their God-given purpose in life.
Much like my personal purpose, Natural Girls Rock is also an organization comprised of positive individuals that educate women on natural hair. But the purpose is greater than hair—matter of fact, greater than all of us. It really is about rocking your hair with unwavering confidence regardless of the texture or length, much like what the NGR mission states.
I was first introduced to Natural Girls Rock from doing a Google search on natural hair and natural hair meet up groups about a year after I started my natural hair journey. Natural Girls Rock has become more than an organization for me, it is a lifetime sisterhood composed of women with various personalities, shapes, ages and sizes, but we all have a sincere and genuine love for God, natural hair, and the well being of each other. I have had the opportunity to travel locally with these ladies, as well as internationally when we journeyed to Paris. Each time, we learn a little bit more about each other and the love continues to grow. For me, I had never really been around a group of women and to be quite frank, brown women who genuinely cared for each other and were all about being positive and on one accord in order to bring about a universal change in another woman’s life. This is monumental! So of course, I had to be a part of this great movement!
Unlike other naturals, my natural hair journey was quite unique. For years, I had always envisioned being natural before it became known as a popular trend or a lifestyle for that matter. I believe at the time it was fear that held me back from actually pursuing it. However, after receiving several blow outs, I experienced severe heat damage which resulted in hair loss for me. I had over five bald spots in my head due to the constant pressure on my hair follicles. After this experience, there were really only two choices for me: go back to a relaxer or move forward and pursue the natural hair lifestyle. Of course, I am all about moving forward, so going back was not an option. Talk about a wakeup call! This experience was truly a blessing and a curse, but it ultimately helped me get off of the fence and really embrace my hair in its God-given state!
Loves, we all have different stories in life, whether it is related to your natural hair and/or personal experiences, but it is about overcoming those trials much like my previous fear and ultimately sharing your story with others. I look forward to hearing your stories as well and hope to meet you in person at RockBox, the official home and retail store of NGR for our next pop up shop or one of our many natural hair events!
Remember that you are a rockstar because you chose to step out and start the natural hair journey. No matter where you are in the journey, keep going and do not look back! Greatness is already inside of you and the best is yet to come!
Yours in love,
Hey Rock-stars my name is Christina aka Chrissy. I am a 30 year old child of GOD, wife (Tony), step mama (La’Myah), daughter, sister, and friend. I grew up in Savannah, Ga and I come from a big family (oldest of 7). I moved to Atlanta for college when I was 17 and I guess I found my niche here. I work in the Public Health field as an analytical chemist performing cardiovascular disease and iron deficiency research. I really enjoy my career because my research will help to improve life and health for future generations; however, eventually I want to work on HIV/AIDS research. I am a very easy going, genuine, outgoing, and humble person. I love life and I try my best to always see the positive in situations and encourage others. In my spare time I love spending time with my family and friends, volunteering in my church and community, traveling, watching movies, and spending time with my NGR sistas at are our various events at the ROCKBOX and ABROAD!!!
I am a season four NGR ambassador and I will be natural 10 years on July 3rd. Doing the big chop was one of the best decisions I ever made. I love my curly, coily hair and all the cool things I can do with it. I think I have worn just about every natural hairstyle with exception of locs. I recently did a semi big chop again and cut my hair in a tapered cut which I’ve been having too much with, lol. Being apart of the NGR sisterhood has had a profound effect on my life. I’ve always wanted big sisters and now I have too many to count. To me, NGR is more than just natural hair, but it’s about uplifting our community and encouraging women to be confident and proud of their natural tresses. Well enough about me, I can’t wait to meet you ladies and gents at the Rockbox or a city near you!!! Chrissy
Greeting Natural Divas,
My name is Pilar Donald, your Season 5 Brand Ambassador, so many call me Ms. Pea. Resigning in South Georgia, but call me a Florida girl. I'm the wife of an awesome man that is my one hundred. I'm the mother of three grown children and I'm so proud to say have changed my life more than I could ever say. Hey they are calling me, yes my three beautiful grandchildren. I'm a Operating Surgical Nurse, (knife, pickup, stats) and now you see that I love my job. My journey has always been my life, I've been natural all my life. Trying a texture kit when I was a teenager caused my hair to come out on one side of my head. Between me and my mother we decided that I would continue to be natural and rock my curls.
Five years ago I join my best friend on the loc journey, that now has me at 16 inches of hair or more. I love rockin my hair totally in so many different ways. It always amazes me how people come up and ask me how did I get that look or how do I enjoy having my hair in that style or wearing the locs. Its been an awesome experience that I enjoy everyday. I also enjoy trying and experiencing new things, volunteering on the Red Cross Disaster team, crocheting,modeling, spending time with my family and friend just enjoying life. I'm a entrepreneur with a travel business that I enjoy more than anything because it allows me to do something that I enjoy. Seeing the world! I also admire the way that I can be a inspiration to all those full figure women out there that are natural and those that are not even natural. If you're transitioning it will be an awesome experience for you as well as your spiritual being. So if you're ever in Atlanta, please stop by the RockBox Atlanta stop by and say hello all the lady that will greet you with a smile. Now if you happen to see me there or stop me out and about,holla at a Diva.
My name is Dionne Gardner. I'm a mother who enjoys sports, arts and crafts, a good movie, and sleep (although that's rare with an infant).
I've been (accidentally) natural since 2009. I waited too long between relaxers so my friend Alicia encouraged me to start the natural hair journey. I wasn't on board initially due to the 'perceived' negativity I would receive in the workforce. I was also newly engaged and was unsure that I would be comfortable with a TWA for my wedding, so I opted to transition for nearly 2 years.
Fast forward five years, I must say that 'perceived' negativity never surfaced in the workplace. In fact, management and peers alike compliment me on my hair and it's versatility daily. I have gone on to complete two master's degrees and a position relocation.
Going natural was by far the most freeing decision I've made in a long time.
Kinky, coily, wavy, or straight, our hair comes in all textures and that's why NATURAL GIRLS ROCK!
Hello Queens, my name is Zetta Garnett I am originally from a small town in West Texas by the name of Odessa, Texas. I am a mother of two lovely daughters ages 11 & 20 years old. I am the fourth sibling out of six. I live for my girls and now that they are growing up and are not so needy I am looking forward to doing me. I have been natural for many, many, many years now I wore short bald fade… Just last year on my 45th birthday I decide to let my hair grow out for the first time ever in my life I really felt free. I love to work out and on a mission to living a healthy lifestyle. I just recently committed myself to an all women ministry group call Circle Of Greatness it is a group for Single women that meet up every Sunday for twelve weeks. I am a very simple kind of lady that strongly believe in who I am and what I stand for and that is why I strongly feel that every young girl, teens, and women should experience that feeling. I walk on cloud nine when I ROCK my fro and it is such a great feeling when I walk into a room all eyes are on me! Every woman should feel that way and no matter what people may say YOU have to stand for what you believe. I want to be the face and the voice for those that are not ready or have worries I want to take all of that away from them so they can live FREE…..
My motto is:
“Live in the moment the time is now”J!!!!