1. Tell us your name and where you are from?My name is Niama Safia, I was born in Brooklyn, New York (to Caribbean parents) but these days I rest my head in Washington, DC.
2. What do you do? Is there a resistance or compatibility with your hair in your field of work?
I wear many hats – I am a mover and shaker, an educator, a blogger/writer, a musician, and soon-to-be grad student; you could say I’m a bit of a gadabout. In every thing I do I try to make the world a little better than it was before I got here. My latest project will be tackling the editorial management of SocietyHAE.com’s coverage of the South By Southwest Festival. STOKED doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about it!
3. How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for seven years. I just cut my hair off one day without telling anyone and came home with starter twists.
4. Describe your hair? What is your regimen?
I have fairly-lengthy locs – they reach the middle of my back if my hair is down. My hair texture is a mixture of curly and fine patches. Sometimes it is difficult to manage but I wouldn’t trade a hair on my head for anything in the world.
I have been using Lush cosmetics’ Trichomania Shampoo Bar for years; it smells heavenly, and it is great for restoring moisture to my hair, particularly in the winter months. I also use Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Control shampoo if I don’t feel like I need as much moisture. Recently, I have taken to deep treating my hair with a homemade protein conditioning mask (eggs, mayonnaise, olive oil and honey) paired with an apple cider vinegar rinse to clarify the hair afterward. It works wonders! To twist my hair with a mixture of raw shea butter, Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Mist — clearly I have a thing for coconuts :-). I discovered the mist a little over a year ago and it is amazing for defining and controlling my curls.
5. What is your best hair advice?
When it comes to my hair I have found that less is more. The less you use gunky, heavy styling products, the healthier your hair will be. Often, products found in the pantry are just as effective as the things found at the beauty supply store. It’s also crucial to let your hair do its thing. Those beginning stages of going natural are the toughest because we are often so used to “taming” and “controlling” but allowing your hair to breath and show its natural patterns is so important. It helps build confidence in your appearance and you appreciate the part after the awkward phase even more. One of my cousins actually wore a wig while transitioning to her locs. My mind was boggled.
6. What is the strangest comment, request or hair story?
My favorite all-time weird question was when an Asian woman asked me if my “hair grows in that way” whilst she reached over to touch my head. I was rather amused, but I explained that it didn’t.
7. How would you describe your personal fashion style?
My style is a polished hodgepodge of things. I can appreciate trends, but I have found that I gravitate toward classic lines. I LIVE in J. Crew but I love finding pieces on EBay (one of the greatest inventions of the modern age LOL), at flea markets, vintage shops and funky independent designer pop-up-shops. I might rock a bowtie and oxfords, but then I might switch it up and do nicely tailored cocktail dress. My clothes are almost like mood rings for me – however I feel that day is what I wear.
8. What advice would you give to people who might be afraid to show their true fashion for fear of being judged by others?
With style, as with life, it is so important to do what works for you. No one can live your life for you, and therefore, no one should be able to define your style. Have fun, take risks, and most importantly, look and feel great while doing it.
9. When it comes to your style who, what or where does your inspiration come from?
My style inspirations are my mother, my grandmother, my friends Yvonne Harvey-Williams, Jeanette Mendes and Folayan Jackson (they are some SHARP ladies!), Erkyah Badu, Gwen Stefani, Audrey Hepburn, Hélène and Célia Faussart, Zac Posen, Bonnie Cashin, Zoe Kravitz, Janelle Monae, Diane Von Furstenburg, Norma Kamali, Pharell Williams, Hekima Hapa, Ngozi Odita, Solange Knowles, June Ambrose… I could go on about this for ages.
10. If you could name one person from the past whose closet you would love to raid, who would it be?
I would love to have been able to raid Donyale Luna’s closet!
11. Do you have a blog/website?
12. What makes you an Urban Bush Babe?
I am an Urban Bush Babe because, I live my life with love and authentic and organic style.