Welcome back to another ‘Noire Excellence’ post. Being that I’m really big on natural hair care and I really like meeting dope artistic people, and I was recently introduced to a girl who is just that. Meet Janae Raquel! This 24 year old, East Coast native not only has big curly hair but she has a big personality to match that shows through her photos and her paintings. I happened to be roaming through the world of Instagram when I found her pics via @curlbox. I contacted her about an interview.. she was diggin’ the idea…. we exchanged contact info and then boom ba da bing. And here’s is how the interview went —->
ATBEL: Hello doll how are you?
JR: Ready for the sun!
ATBEL: Me too! The weather here in STL is so bipolar. Mother Nature don’t know what she wants to do. She needs to get it together and have a few seats with all of this back and fourth weather. humph
JR: lol! I feel you on that one.
ATBEL: Well first things first, I want to say thank you for taking the time to do this interview girly. I know It’s been hectic with both of our busy schedules and with us working with two different time zones. I appreciate it though.
JR: No problem, I like being semi interrogated about my hair.
ATBEL: Cool Beans. Well lets get started.. shall we? For the ones who don’t know you, what is your name and where you are from/reside?
JR: For starters, my name is Janae and I am from New Jersey.
ATBEL: So when I found your pictures on @curlbox IG page, I was like her hair is amaazzinnnggg! From the color, to the big curls..i love it! Do you have any haircare regimines that you recommend for the other curly headed folks out there? Is that your natural color or is it dyed? Even though I cant speak for everybody else, I know that myself and countless other women out there have natural curly hair pattern and it soaks up any and every type of moisture that comes in contact with the scalp. Being that keeping your hair moisturized is important to keep it healthy and prevent breakage, what do you use to keep your hair moisturized enough yet it won’t weigh it down at the same time?
JR: When it comes to my hair, I am definitely a product junkie like no other. I have tried almost anything and everything that I felt would do the trick to get tighter-natural-curl pattern as oppose to frizzy soggy curls; when all along it has been in my bathroom! COLD WATER. If you have problems with frizz, cool water while rinsing your conditioner out will lock in any type of moisture and form tighter curls. I wish I was a natural ginger, but I’m not; my hair is naturally black. My hair is dyed, and I have not had any perm or any chemical in my hair since 2008. I have gone back and forth with colors from this color being my lightest to 50 shades of brown to black again. To lock in as much moisture as I can, I don’t wash all of my conditioner out. And I use a little less product. My go to conditioner AND stylers are Miss Jessie’s. I use Crème de la Crème Conditioner and Pillow Soft Curls. One, they control frizz (because the middle of my head has the most frizz at one point), and two, they don’t weigh my hair down. I am a day two, day three, and bed head kinda girl so I use Quenched Curls 2nd Day Curl Refresher. Its basically a “back to life” potion that freshens the girls with a snap.
ATBEL: Cold water ay? Never would’ve guessed that. My hair is naturally black too. I’ve always wanted to put color in my hair but never got the courage to actually go through with it. Maybe one day though..maybe lol I like that color on you- it compliments your skin well and it’s a nice color shade.
JR: Why thanks. If you ever do color your hair, keeping it moisturized is not up for debate. If you don’t, it will break off and that’s what you don’t want to happen.
ATBEL: In your IG bio, you referenced the IAMMYHAIRCAMPAIGN. Can you provide some detail on what that’s all about?
JR: I Am My Hair Campaign is my company that brings together both hair and personality.
ATBEL: What made you want to start this movement? What do you want to do with this movement and where/want do you see this campaign going in the future?
JR: IAMH was designed to bring hair together as a culture no matter the hair texture. Launching the campaign, I want to bring awareness and acceptance of natural identity and expression with hair. I plan to do A LOT with this company and as for right now, Im working on the site www.iammyhaircampaign.com where I feature HairStories. This campaign is like my baby and we are in our walking shoes now. On the right path! It seems like a walk in the park from the outside, but doing this alone has its highs and lows; nothing I cant control.
ATBEL: Thats whats up! I think hair care is so important no matter what the texture of the hair is because often times hair sites might just cater to a certain type of texture when not every woman will have the same type. What might work for you might not work for the next person so for you to start a company that is working towards helping a broader spectrum of hair types is great. Your company will get to where you want it to be in due time girly, so no worries.
ATBEL: I was looking through your photos and seen you were at a look book party. Really dope and fun pics btw! Was that for you or somebody else? I saw that you used the hashtag levi’s so I wasn’t sure if you were apart of their new campaign or anything.
JR: Thanks! The event was in Brooklyn at such a cute venue! It was an invite/RSVP situation. It wasn’t an Ad or anything, they just had an instant camera machine and uploaded our pics to the site for their new denim promotion. Throughout the event, they allowed you to customize your Levi’s, open bar, and food to nibble on along with a live DJ. Pretty much it.
ATBEL: That sounds like fun! You tight lol
ATBEL: On different hair sites i have visited, i’ve noticed that homemade hair concoctions are all the rave these days. You have made your own hair concoction with eggs, mayo, olive oil and honey. I never would’ve put those ingredients together but what made you do so? How do you know what ingredients work well with curly hair? And what about those ingredients are benifical to adding protein to daily hair care?
JR: Everyone needs a little protein in their hair. I, myself need a little more shine than protein. So I have used honey and also mayo mixtures. I have done my research on them on different YouTube channels and then I add my own touch to it. One thing I can say, DON’T OVER PROTEIN your hair. Too much of the mayo, and eggs will make your hair hard. I would recommend it ONCE every three months.
ATBEL: *Jots down notes* got it. lol
ATBEL: It’s about to get muy caliente this summer. What hair tips can you give us natural gals on how to keep your hair moisturized enough but not overly moisturized so the sun don’t make it drip out like a jheri curl but it will keep it protected enough so that it won’t dry out and become brittle? No matter the season, a girl’s hair should always be fabulous. *hair-flip* lol
JR: 1. Don’t wash, condition and rinse. Wash your hair maybe twice a month. You’ll realize that the more you rinse with conditioner frequent, the less oils and product build-up occur. You should always run out of conditioner before you run out of shampoo.
2. Keep a conditioner/ water mix spray bottle in your bag (travel size) to spray when you’ve been out all day in the heat. Nothing like quenching your curls thirst.
3. Protective styles & leave in conditioners are your BFF’s (twists, braids, buns ect.)
4. Don’t blow dry, AIR dry, and apply all products while hair is wet to soak it all in. Blow drying your hair is like placing a egg on a pan, INSTANT fry.
ATBEL: Any hairstyles you recommend that are cute yet low maintenance that can be worn in these summer months? Do you go to any hair blogs/websites for ideas?
JR: I don’t do too many protective styles, I have to let my hair loose. It cant really be tamed,:so the most I’ll do is a bun or strand corn-twists. Oddly enough, I just protect my hair over night, and let it wild in the sunlight.
ATBEL: Oh ok. Now, lets switch subjects and talk about these paintings of yours.. You are really talented girl!!
JR: Thank you! I did my first introduction of my art in March and I was super nervous. Im not much of a public speaker.
ATBEL: See I am fine with public speaking but my artistic skills stop with me at coloring inside the lines of a cartoon coloring book.
JR: Lol! You can’t be that bad
ATBEL: Oh but I am. lol I have artistic thoughts like I can give great ideas on what I think would be dope but turning those ideas into a reality is a whole different ball game. I need some outside assistance for that to happen.
JR: lol understandable.
ATBEL: So how old were you when you started painting?
JR: I’ve always painted, when water colors were all I knew. But I started to draw seriously in high school, so about 16. I discovered my “hands” when I had to draw my left hand and every detail it had as an assignment. Ever since then, all I needed were a few tunes, and no distractions and I could put my hands to work.
ATBEL: What made you want to paint these types of pieces? And what is the story behind your art? I love all the vibrant colors you use. You have a lot of amazing pieces.
JR: These paintings reflect women as a whole. Most people don’t realize that many women are judged from a distance. You never know the full story until SHE tells it. We brand and label women based on our own perception of her appearance and material possessions which is sad but true. The reason they don’t have faces is because it allows you 1. Either to fill in the blanks, because every woman has their own story, 2. Read her story provided, however it is a privilege to know WHO she really is rather than assuming.
ATBEL: Nicely put! So are they in any galleries or do you sell any of them? If so, where can they be found?
JR: I have had art displayed in Syndicated in New Brunswick, NJ for some time now. However, my art is not currently on sale. I want to create my collection entirely before I price them. If anyone is looking to purchase or is interested in doing any collaborations they can email me email@example.com or subscribe to my site www.justpieces.com / www.iammyhaircampaign.com
ATBEL: As you now know, I can’t even draw bubble letter yet alone paint something worth looking at but there are a lot of up and coming artist that can and then some. What advice do you have for them?
JR: Try to find your place and make a trademark for yourself so that if a person looks at your painting, they know it was by YOU.
ATBEL: Do you have a favorite painter? Who or what inspires you when you create your pieces?
JR: I honestly don’t have a favorite painter. BUT I can say, that I was bored at my desk and created what you can now call my trademark. Idle time and interests (hair) got me here. I scribbled and then perfected.
ATBEL: That’s dope. So do you ever want to open your own art gallery one day? Or is this just for fun?
JR: That is one of my many dreams! I actually already have a partner who I have known for some years now who is going to take a stroll down the business brick road with me.
ATBEL: Nice! Well keep me posted on how that goes because you defintely have my support.
JR: Will do! I appreciate that
ATBEL: Anytime girly. And now we are switching subjects again.. lol From your hair, to your art, to your own personal style, you express so much personality. Angela Simmons and Solange are two of my favorite fashionistas out there. Whose style do you think is awesome sauce?
JR: I LOVE Solo! She’s such a ball of fire and she’s taken over her own lane. She has her own clean cut, and isn’t afraid to add fuel to the fire.
ATBEL: I agree! Solange always looks amazing. What kind of style would you say you have?
JR: I would say that my style is unpredictable. I never look the same twice a week. It’s a “signature uban chic” twist … I don’t know. I usually let others define what they see when it comes to my style.
ATBEL: I personally love to shop any and everywhere. Where are your favorite places to pick up some trendy pieces?
JR: One of my many go to places for trendy pieces is Francesca’s Boutique. They have everything by color. Quick and easy.
ATBEL: What trends are you looking forward too for this up and coming season? The spring/summer fashion to me is all about bright and fun colors and mixing and matching cool patterns.
JR: Im looking forward to the florals, mints, and tie dye (true hippy at heart) Im into the comfortable cozy look too. Saggy top and biker shorts look, the “lets go to brunch” above the knee dresses, and of course the boyfriend denim movement!!
ATBEL: Yes!!! Mint colored anything gets 2 thumbs up in my book. I love floral prints, boyfriends and destroyed denim. They are a must have for any closet. You can dress pieces from those type of styles in all types of ways and thats why their so awesome!
JR: Oh indeed!
ATBEL: Well Ms. Janae, that about wraps up our interview. Thanks again! I wish you much success with your paintings and in the further development of your IAMMYHAIR campaign. You will do great things with it lady!
JR: You’re so sweet, thank you! I appreciate you for reaching out for this interview and I’ll definitely keep you posted as things progress. Cool?
ATBEL: Ok girly, Sounds good!
Janae is a really cool chic and it’s been a pleasure of getting to know her better. I wish her nothing but many blessings and success with her future endeavors and if you have any hair care questions hit her up on her instagram @JANAE_RAQUEL. She’s good with responding to questions about the products she uses/recommends as well. I’ll keep you posted on all new things Janae Raquel here so stay tuned loves!