naptural TALK! | Angela Clay of Liberated Strands

Since this blog is generally about all things natural hair, I wanted to start a series where I showcase fellow naturals to generate some discussion around natural hair and healthy hair care practices. I've featured women in the past on this blog, but my goal is to go a bit deeper than before. To keep the conversations going, my goal is to not only get to the nuts and bolts of why women decided to go natural, but to really get other women's views on the natural hair movement, the natural hair community, and the ways in which returning to natural hair has affected them.
I bring you the "naptural TALK!" series, and this week's feature: Angela Clay of Liberated Strands

Napturally Dany (ND): Introduce yourself!
Angela Clay (AC): Hello my name is Angela Clay, and I am the founder of Liberated Strands, a website that is geared toward helping naturals stay on their natural hair journey.  I am also an Accountability Coach. I work with women entrepreneurs who want to start up a business, but feel confused and lack confidence on where to start. I help [women] with accountability, overturning self-doubt, and assist with tapping into resources to build the business of her dreams. 
ND: How long have you been natural? What motivated you to transition to natural? Did you transition for a period of time, or did you Big Chop?
AC: I have been natural since 2009, so 8 years. My, how time flies!  I transitioned for a while, [wearing] weaves and braids until I was ready to take the plunge.  I really needed to boost my confidence before I could really step out. 
ND: Going natural creates a bit of uncertainty for women, especially those who are used to their relaxed texture. What were some of your fears/concerns when deciding to go natural?
AC: Back then, I think it was the fact that there was not a lot of products out on the market.  The information was scarce and I live in an area where people have no clue about natural hair.  As I sit back and think about my fears it was more or less how will I look with this new hair.  I was thinking will I be able to do awesome things with my hair? My hair came in curly so I basically did a lot of wash & go's, pack [my hair] with gel and oil, and then go! I had a little concern on how others would receive my new do!
ND: What do you think is the perception of kinky textured hair, both within and outside of the natural hair community?
AC: Most people always want what they don’t have.  That falls in almost every catergory in life.  People can be fit and lean and look at Beyonce and long to have her body.  However a reality check needs to come in! Genetically your hair might not get to waist length and no matter what products you use it will not magically change your hair into a different texture, unless you pick up the relaxer again. 
I really try to embrace my natural hair, kinks and all. Many people kick and scream when they think about shrinkage. This is my take on shrinkage… it’s like those delicate flowers that you see open in the morning. They absorb the fresh dew, reaching out to it. When the Sun’s heat [becomes] too much, the flower folds in to preserve itself from withering and drying out. Can you think about the preservation of your hair? What a beautiful design.  I mean really, to have a hair that automatically knows what to do. Who else on the planet can say that their hair does that? Only kinky textured hair. Learn to love your intelligent design.

ND: What do you love the most about being natural? What has your experience as a woman with natural hair been?
AC: Hey, as a natural there is always a conversation to be had about our hair.  It is a conversation starter, a room show stopper, people pause and take a moment to ponder on our hair.  The versatility of my hair is awesome. One day you can rock a twist out and the next day you can let it air dry and rock a short Fro. As far as my experience with my hair is concerned, I am happy that I have been able to motivate people to love their hair.  I have a diverse group of friends, and I paused one day and noticed that they are now wearing their hair, wavy, curly and really liberating their strands. 
ND: You have an online community called Liberated Strands. What is Liberated Strands' mission, and how did you get started with your online business?
AC: Really, my mission is to [encourage] people to really learn to love their hair.  I think it also needs to go a step further: grow a business. There are so many entrepreneurs in the natural hair community with great ideas. What [would] happen if you shifted, learned to love your hair, and let it run its course on its own?  Then took that energy to really build, and grow a sustainable business that could give you the income to live the life you want to live?  What would that life look like? 
ND: What do you enjoy the most about owning and running your own online magazine for naturals?
AC: The magazine is on pause at the moment. I felt that my talents are stronger with rolling up my sleeves and being hands on with my community.You never know I may relaunch, we just have to wait and see.. 
ND: Given the stigma against women with kinkier textures, what advice would you give to women to encourage them to love and embrace their natural hair?
AC: Research before you decide to take [on] this journey.  Be aware of the highs and the lows and learn to overcome objections.  I have a workbook on my site that is free, it helps you to really get into the emotional side of returning natural. 
ND: What makes your strands liberated?
AC: I just say… In an awe inspiring way we are wonderfully made.-Jah 
It was for that reason, India Arie could say “And I know my Creator didn’t make no mistakes on me.” 

ND: What do you wish to see more of within the natural hair community?
AC: Unity among all hair textures, and if you made it in the natural hair game, turn around and give value to other people. 

I really love Angela's flower analogy as it relates to our natural hair. Really, what other hair textures knows exactly what to do! Learn to love your hair, liberates your strands, and be confident in the fact that God didn't make any mistakes when He made you. You are beautiful! Be sure to visit Angela's website, Liberated Strands, follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

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