Tell us your name and where you are from?
My name is Adey. I am an African born and raised in Ethiopia and now live in New York City.
How long have you been natural?
I stopped relaxing my hair in 2001 (after reading Pamela Ferrell’s “Let’s Talk Hair”) and transitioned over a period of about two years.
What do you do? Is there a resistance or compatibility with your hair in your field of work?
I have a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and work as a Public Health Epidemiologist. I have not had any resistance with my hair in my field of work. I find that there is a lot of positive fascination and support towards my hair so I have always felt completely comfortable wearing my hair in any natural style I choose.
Favorite moment of your career thus far:
One of my favorite moments of my career happened while I was working for the NYC Health Department’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention. I worked for a unit responsible for interviewing individuals newly diagnosed with HIV to ensure that they are linked to proper medical care and other services as well as to obtain enough information about their sex and needle-sharing partners so they could be notified of potential exposure to HIV to facilitate proper follow-up. Part of my responsibility was to conduct epidemiologic review of cases, and in one particular case, our team of field workers had worked very hard to locate the partner of an HIV-infected individual without much success and were forced to close the case. Upon review of the case, we had reason to believe that the partner was likely HIV-positive and our team worked very hard to locate the partner who tested positive for HIV and had no idea that he was infected. We were able to help the individual get proper medical care and follow-up. It’s one of my favorite moments because everything about that case and the intricate details of the case investigation are a powerful reminder of why public health work is important and how much of a difference it makes in people’s lives.
Describe your hair.
My hair is extremely thick. It is very versatile – I can wear it bone straight, super kinky and anything in between. I think i have at least three different textures: the top of my hair has looser curls than the rest of my hair (3b), the hair close to my temples is 4b/4c and the back of my hair is 3c/4a. My hair grows relatively fast.
What is your hair regimen?
My hair regimen is relatively simple. I pre-poo before every wash using coconut milk or coconut cream. I shampoo using pure castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s baby mild liquid castile soap) or Trader’s Joe’s tea tree tingle shampoo. I use Trader Joe’s tea tree tingle conditioner and usually use coconut, argan or jojoba oil to seal moisture. I let my hair air dry in braids. When it’s time to trim my hair, I flatiron my hair straight and prep it for heat the day before by applying coconut oil and combing it as straight as possible.
What are the three biggest factors you attribute to your length?
- Diet and exercise – What’s good for your body and overall health is naturally good for your hair.
- Low stress (My spiritual life plays a significant role in this. It is not that I do not have any stress, but that God daily teaches me how to manage everything in my life and allows me to experience His joy and peace.)
- Getting my hair trimmed regularly (every 3 months)
What is your usual go to style?
My usual go to style is a braid-out bun. I also wear my hair in a big braid-out ‘fro. I frequently wear headwraps as well.
What is your nighttime routine?
I probably “pineapple” a lot more than I should. On days I don’t, I part my hair in sections and spray each section with a little bit of water to help detangle my hair. I then apply some coconut oil, finger detangle, brush and braid each section. I always sleep with my hair covered in a cotton headwrap. I know you’re supposed to use satin but I have used cotton headwraps since I was little without any damage to my hair.
Your top three favorite products and why?
I prefer using all natural products and rarely use commercial hair products.
Coconut oil – this is my go-to oil of choice because it helps make my hair tangle-free and soft without making it greasy. Plus I can cook with it and use it as a bath/body oil. Can’t beat that!
Shea Moisture’s coconut & hibiscus line of products – I rarely use this these days but when I do, my hair is left super moisturized and smells great! I discovered Shea Moisture’s shea butter in the early years of going natural and it was the only product that worked for my hair at the time, so I will always have a special love for Shea Moisture products.
The all natural, organic, hand-mixed, exotic balms and butters from myskinfolk.com! I discovered this wonderful company on Facebook and absolutely love their products! (Yay for social media!)
Your best hair advice?
I truly believe that a healthy diet and lifestyle contribute more to the health of our hair than any products we put on it. Ultimately, what will contribute most to healthy hair are the same things that promote a healthy body: a healthy diet, exercise, drinking plenty of water, reducing stress and getting enough rest/sleep.
Ultimate hair crush
I love and appreciate so many different types of hair that it really is hard to pick one. I love seeing older women rocking gray natural hair. I think gray natural hair has its own unique elegance and beauty. I love my grandmother’s silver ‘fro!
What is the strangest comment, request or hair story?
Last week I was stopped by two different young ladies visiting NYC from Europe who both asked to take pictures with me saying they have never seen hair like mine before. I get the usual touch requests and have gotten to the point of volunteering for people to touch my hair if I sense they want to but are afraid to ask.
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
I love modest, tailored garments. Sewing is my hobby and I recently completed the Fashion Institute of Technology’s ladies tailoring certificate program. I love African print fabric and like making modern cut garments using African print fabric. (The African print dresses in the pictures are ones I made for myself).
What advice would you give to people who might be afraid to show their true fashion sense or natural hair for fear of being judged by others?
God created all of us to be unique individuals and there is great beauty in that. My advice would be for each person to come to an understanding that he/she is immensely beautiful in the eyes of Almighty God in whose image he/she has been created. The freedom to be who God has created us to be does not/should not depend on others’ opinion of us.
What would you say to others who judge individuals negatively for their personal fashion style?
I think we should learn to appreciate people for who God has created them to be. At the end of the day, the essence of who we are is way more valuable than our hair, fashion style, etc. The reality is that we are all children of an indescribably awesome God who in His infinite wisdom gave us unique characteristics, tastes, etc. We should make an effort to appreciate each individual as the child of God he/she is and the image of God he/she represents.
When it comes to your style who, what or where does your inspiration come from?
I love the silhouettes of the 1950s! Whenever I make dresses or skirts for myself, I’m definitely inspired by the tailored, modest garments of the 50s.
I can’t think of anyone from the past but I would love to raid First Lady Michelle Obama’s closet :). I absolutely love her style and we have similar body type.
Favorite stores and places to shop for vintage or thrift
I don’t do much vintage/thrift shopping. I prefer shopping for unique fabrics and making one-of-a-kind pieces.
Most embarrassing moment
One of my most embarrassing moments happened years ago and involved one of my cousins who was very little at the time. I was in an elevator with him and an elderly, overweight gentleman got in the elevator. My cousin repeatedly asked if the man was having a baby and the man was absolutely mortified. To this day I cringe when I think about his reaction. It was the longest elevator ride of my life.
What is your favorite life lesson
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5&6 KJV)
Current music playlist and favorite book
Music: My life completely changed when I got saved/became a Christian and follower of Jesus in 2008. It has been such a life changing experience that has affected every area of my life, including the type of music I listen to. I now mainly listen to worship music and my playlist includes: Andrae Crouch, Walter Hawkins, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond, CeCe Winans, Donald Lawrence, Maurette Brown-Clark, Helen Baylor, Alvin Slaughter and many others with a heart for worship.
Books: I love autobiographies. Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom” is one of my favorites and I am currently reading Charles Spurgeon’s autobiography. I LOVE Dr. Maya Angelou and her books and recently read “Mom & Me & Mom”. I have read almost all of John Grisham’s books and think he is a brilliant storyteller. Having said that, it may sound cliche but as many great books as I have read, none compare to the beauty, simplicity and complexity of the Bible. I have found the Bible to be unlike any other book I have ever read. It truly is a living book that continues to amaze me and change my life daily.
4 Favorite films: Cinema Paradiso, Fiddler on the Roof, The Bucket List and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Are you vegetarian, vegan or other and if so how long and why?
I have been a vegetarian since 1996. My diet is completely plant-based/vegan for the most part but I occasionally eat fish. I became a vegetarian because I felt it was the healthiest diet for me.
Favorite restaurant and dish you would not want to live without
Candle Cafe is one of my favorite vegan restaurants in NYC and I love their wraps.
Do you have a blog/website?
I am currently working on a website. In the meantime, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram/Twitter (@adeystips)
Discovering God and coming to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior has allowed me to discover my true self and has changed my entire perspective on life. The most important advice I can ever give anyone would be to discover the living God and commit to develop a relationship with Him. God wants to be known and He has incredible plans for your life! Find out who God is for yourself; do not let the hypocrisy you may have observed among certain Christians and churches dictate your perception of God. That happened to me and for many years, it led me to believe that God is not real and therefore kept me from getting to know Him. If you have a desire to know God or if you want to know if God is real, ask Him to reveal Himself to you and He will. It is also important for you to find a church that teaches the Bible accurately and be among a community of believers that will guide you and help develop your journey with God. Unfortunately, there are many churches out there that do not teach the true word of God, so it’s very important to find a Bible-based church (which sounds like an oxymoron but sadly isn’t). If anyone needs guidance through this process, I would be more than willing to assist.
What makes you an Urban Bush Babe?
God has taught me to be comfortable as the person He has created me to be and I love being a role model to young girls and teaching them to love who God has created them to be. It’s amazing to me how much hair influences self-perception, so I make it a point to help young girls learn to love their hair no matter what texture or length it may be.