Girl Behind The Blog :: I AM (not) My Hair…

Hair… Beautiful, pretty-ful hair. I had such a love-hate relationship with my hair growing up. I use to wish I had straight hair so I could fit in with my straight haired cousins and would take a flat iron to it whenever I could… Then, when I finally embraced my curls in college, I resented the fact that my hair seemed to be my only claim to beauty. My face is not symmetrical, my smile is crooked since I was born without a canine tooth, I have a lazy eye and my jaw bone is nonexistent (hello no chin)… According to “society’s beauty/photogenic standards”, I am not pretty. Maybe exotic but not beautiful. But my curly hair? My hair has always been “beautiful” even in those moments when I felt I wasn’t…

When Charles and I first started dating, my hair was even longer than it is today… I remember when I told him (after a year into our relationship) that I was going to cut my hair super short. His eyes went wide and he said, “But why? I love it long…”And in that moment, I wondered if he loved my hair more than he loved me. Crazy, right? But it was an honest thought that crossed my mind… I told him to get ready to love it short and left for the salon with renewed energy to chop my hair off in retaliation. Cutting my hair that day turned into a form of protest… A test to see if he loved me the same without my hair… A test he obviously passed since we’re still together 7 years later. I now know he would love me bald if it came down to it. 
I remember the day I walked into what would be my future apartment in NYC over 3 years ago. I had found a place on Craig’s List that seemed too good to be true and had scheduled an appointment to check out the apartment in person. The minute I walked through the door, I was welcomed by 3 curly haired women and we formed an immediate kinship. Needless to say, I moved in a month later and in the following 2 years, I learned so much about curly hair from my roommate, Meg, a curly hair specialist (all you curly folks in NYC need to set up an appointment with her via Devachan Salon asap). Meg taught me self love in that through her teachings: I learned that for all the justifiable reasons why I believed I was NOT my hair, there were just as many valid (and positive) reasons for why I AM my hair… Love you Meg. Thank you for helping me to embrace my natural (inner & outer) beauty. 

Hello there… My name is Setarra and I can finally say without any doubt or sarcasm: I love my hair. It’s not perfect.. There are days when my curls look spectacular and many more days when it’s a frizzy mess… But my hair is a direct reflection of my mixed heritage; a cultural kaleidoscope I’m proud to represent. 

Where am I going with this? I have no idea. These are just moments in my life that come to mind when I think about my hair journey and I simply felt like expressing my truth. I haven’t straightened my hair in 2 years and feel pretty damn proud of myself for not “giving in”. But who knows, there may come a day in the future when I feel like straightening my hair and when that day comes, I won’t beat myself up about it either. Whether long or short, straight or curly… It’s just hair, right? Looking back I realize how hard I was on myself… But no more. Beauty starts with confidence and confidence comes from within.

And you? What’s the story behind your hair? Love it? Hate it? Building a better relationship with it? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below because if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that everybody has some kind of hair story to tell :)

*photos taken by Charles on a moody Friday afternoon while sipping on wine and listening to Michael Buble…

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  • What in the world are you talking about?!
    Crooked smile?! No chin?!

    When I first saw you 7 years ago I thought you were beautiful! And no offense, but it wasn't because of your hair lol (Sasha Hollinger was my hair crush at the time lol)

    I've come to realize that we are harsher critics of ourselves and other people don't even really take notice of all the imperfections we find.
    Trust me, if someone looks at YOU and does't automatically think you're beautiful, your personality definitely seals the deal!

  • First off, you are effin' GORGEOUS. I had similar feelings about my hair. Compliments came left and right when I wore it straight, so all throughout high school the flat iron was one of my best friends. Then in college, after my sophmore year, I got too busy to keep up with it and just stopped caring. Now my curls have completely taken over and I don't even feel like myself when I do take the time to straighten it. I look weird! I guess it just takes a while to embrace ourselves as young women… Especially when all these other standards of beauty are being shoved in our faces. This is such a beautiful post, Setarra. And I too would love the way you look even if you were bald!


  • I had pin-straight hair up until I was about 15 and my hair got much wavier/curly. It's not as curly as yours, but after all this time, I feel like I don't look like "me" when I straighten my hair!

  • My hair looks like yours and it's funny, because from the first time I saw your photo on your blog, I thought yours was beautiful, but I'm still learning to love mine. Us curly girls sure do have a lot of issues when it comes to our hair! I've been trying to wear it natural more and more, but I end up miserable more times than I'd like to admit. I think I should find a curly hair specialist :)

  • I love your honesty Setarra! That, in itself, makes you beautiful. It's crazy how, as women, we can easily make a laundry lists of reasons why we're not beautiful. I'm inspired by your journey to where you are now and how people were placed in your life to help you realize your beauty. and by the way, you're hair is gorgeous!
    -Melody @

  • I have naturally curly hair and I admit I have been loving my curls lately but then I also don't like them sometimes when they don't do what I want them to do!

    When you went into the things you learned from your roommate I was hoping you would say one or two things because I think I need a tip on what I should do with it! LOL.

    I do embrace my hair and usually cave into the straightening of it so it's a love hate relationship for sure. It's straight right now but I may leave it curly tomorrow. The only thing I don't like is that if I have it curly one day I need to wash it the next day because I don't like how messy it looks the next day. So that's why I straighten it to keep me from having to wash it until it gets to the 3rd day.

  • Setarra! You're so dope. Andddd, I've always loved your hair :-)

    But, as a kid, I always wanted straight hair – I first started getting relaxers when I was like 7 yrs old. I grew out of that phase, and while at Mason, I realized that my hair was damaged – so, I cut it and eventually went completely natural & rocked a 'fro. It was the worst. LOL I didn't know what to do with my hair & I hated how it looked. During my senior year, I decided that I wanted to start locs because I thought they would look nice & I also wanted to work on my patience. So far, it's paying off, and I feel confident and happy with this process. Can't wait to see what's next on my hair journey :-D

  • Aww, I love this post – your hair is beautiful as are you!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • i'm pretty 'meh' when it comes to my hair. whatever i do to it, i know it always grows back so i'm not too concerned with cutting or coloring it (which i rarely do anyway). that said, most of the time it's pulled back into a ponytail because it's always in my way!

    Vodka and Soda

  • I LOVE your hair, curls and all! :)

  • Um, were you reading my mind? I love that I changed my hair and am feeling uncomfortable and you blogged about this the same day as my "reveal" :)

  • i am IN LOVE with your hair. i honestly would swap mine with yours in an instant! except, the reality is that mine suits me and yours suits you – there is a reason why we all look different :) i think you're a gorgeous lady and your hair doesn't hide it, it enhances it! x

  • First, I think you're insane. I've though you were gorgeous since jump! As for me, I've always loved my hair. There have been times I wished it was capable of having fingers run through it but it doesn't change my opinion on it. Curls for the win!

  • I feel you. Compliments came left and right when I wore it straight, so all throughout my life the Karmin G3 flat iron was one of my best friends. :( Maybe I should try letting it be once in awhile.