*click photos to enlarge
Tell us your names and where you are from?
Our names are Elizabeth Lejonhjärta & Victoria Lejonhjärta, we were born and raised in Sweden/Sápmi. We have Gambian, Senegalese, Swedish and Sámi roots and were brought up in a partly Caribbean household. We’re from the celestial body known as “Earth”.
How long have you been natural?
Elizabeth: All my life
Victoria: I’ve never not been natural
What do you do? Is there a resistance or compatibility with your hair in your field of work?
Elizabeth: Right now I mostly jump around between small creative projects. I model sometimes too and on weekends I’m a sci-fi expert at one of the last remaining classical video stores in Sweden. I meet a lot of other film enthusiasts and fantasy-nerds there by who my hair is either not commented on or appreciated by. It’s definitely not an issue.
Victoria: I model some, write some and study some. I’ve never experienced any resistance within the arts, but I’ve had employers questioning my hair on a personal level in the past.
Describe your hair.
Elizabeth: Most of it is long and locked, the rest is curly and loves to go off dancing on its own adventures.
Victoria: I was born with a white spot on the back of my head, which is now a string of white hair. Someone told me it’s due to some pigment flaw in the hair follicles, but I’m pretty sure I’m Rogue from X-men. So I would describe my hair as “kinda Sci-fi”.
What is your hair regimen?
Elizabeth: I don’t know if I have one, but I like to keep it clean, moist and free from chemical products. Besides that I try to eat clean and nutritious food as well.
Victoria: Moisturize! As often and natural as possible. You have to be extra considerate of the climate up here.
What are the three biggest factors you attribute to your length?
Elizabeth: I was brought up in a very political and spiritual household were our parents valued self-acceptance a lot. Growing up in a white society, I was always very aware of my blackness. Due to the situation at home, however, I never amounted for my hair to look white and therefor never straightened it or used damaging products. I did nothing. I don’t think I ever thought of it as anything else than a body part before I locked it.
Victoria: Natural hair care, patience and no cutting. My mum, sisters, brother, father and stepfather all have locks. Cutting hair is an alien concept to me.
What is your usual go to style?
Elizabeth: Right now it is definitely different kinds of loc-buns. It takes me a couple of seconds though I receive comments like “Oh wow that looks advanced!” I rather enjoy a long breakfast than spend time making myself ready, so it is perfect for me.
Victoria: I find a good ol’ simple high ponytail to be fit for many occasions. If I were to perform a “spinning bird kick” like Chun-Li from Street fighter, it would still look awesome. If that day comes I need to be ready.
What is your nighttime routine?
Elizabeth: Honestly I just try to go to sleep as fast as possible.
Victoria: Sometimes I massage my hair with jojoba-/coconut oil.
Your top three favorite products and why?
Elizabeth: Humidity, sun and coconut oil. Nothing makes my hair feel better than the right climate. It makes my hair act like on of those people who are usually really stiff and tired, but then go on vacation and suddenly turn into the funniest, liveliest and most adventurous person you’ve ever met. Like in “Star Wars – Revenge of the sith” when Darth Sidious is all “weak… so weak” and then turn to “POWER, UNLIMITED POWER!!!!”
Victoria: Since I want to avoid unnecessary additives I rather use raw materials than products. Virgin, ecological jojoba oil, coconut oil and avocado oil are my top three; I use them for my hair and skin.
Your best hair advice?
Elizabeth: Your hair is yours in the same way your body is yours. As long as it comes from a good place: Do whatever YOU feel like. Wear it the way that makes YOU feel good. Explore your identity!
Victoria: Black hair is constantly, unwillingly or willingly, politicized. It can be difficult to balance between wearing your hair as a statement and remembering that you’re actually not your hair and shouldn’t have to. Do as you feel and have fun doing it.
Ultimate hair crush
Elizabeth: Our younger brother Malcolmx Lejonhjärta. His hair growth and quality is amazing. He always wins our loc-lightsaber fights. He could survive in the wild with no tools or shelter because he could build these things from his hair. You get the picture.
Victoria: Oh but I have so many! The Quann twins, the Boykin twins, model Sabina Karlsson, 60’s Angela Davis, Diana Ross and Bonita (The DJ).
What is the strangest comment, request or hair story?
Elizabeth: For some reason people seem to think my hair have nerves. I often get questions such as “What if you were to cut it, would it hurt?”. I mean, if my locks would be like limbs, I would have obviously used them as tentacles and been the most efficient and cool person of all time, have you ever see me do that?!
Victoria: “Why did you lock your hair? You have that GOOD hair”
I’m aware of my light skin privileges within the black community and I can’t see how this kind of internalized racism/colorism is supposed to be a compliment.
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
Elizabeth: It’s difficult to describe my personal fashion style since it’s more about an attitude to me. I would describe my personal fashion attitude as “Northern-Afro-Cyberpunk”. Victoria and I like to match and we love the same things, but we still differ. I just don’t know how, some pieces in our wardrobe feels of limit to me because they feel “So Victoria”.
Victoria: My style is very mixed and hard to label, but there is a consistency, whether it’s 60’s, futuristic, sporty or eccentric, in the simplicity. Most of the time it’s as simple as a plain, tight top and no make-up, but that’s a statement too. Fashion is more about a feeling to me.
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?
Elizabeth: Limiting your freedom of expression on the behalf of other people’s judgment is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. I know it can be scary to accept your own uniqueness, but you know what’s worse? Living a life in fear and regret. It’s your body and therefor you are in charge, you are the commander. Don’t let other people steer the ship for you! Believe that whoever you are, you are worth being that person, fully.
Victoria: No one has ever on their deathbed thought to themselves: “Darn, I wished I would have conformed more to the opinion of others instead of being myself. If only I had known better than to wear that jacket that made me feel like The Matrix was written for me, and to glorify my hair in its natural state.”
What would you say to others who judge individuals negatively for their personal fashion style
Elizabeth: The person you are judging based solely on shallow elements could be the coolest, smartest, kindest person you will now have missed the opportunity to get to know. And let’s be honest: You’ll be wearing that whole outfit in 6 months anyway.
Victoria: Like a good friend (Yoda) once said: You must unlearn what you have learned.
Favorite stores and places to shop for vintage or thrift
Elizabeth: My mother’s closet. She loves vintage and is one of those pros who just walk into a flea market or thrift shop and return with 10 priceless findings for no money at all. She has the best wardrobe I know. Hence the occasional raiding (sorry mum).
Victoria: Red Cross and this kind of random, annual flea markets in a really small Swedish town up-north called Boden. Some of my best purchases were made there, it’s a hidden treasure.
Most embarrassing moment
Elizabeth: Both of us embarrass ourselves all the time. We’re both a weird mix between shy and outgoing and can be kind of socially awkward in a way. I love to start random conversations with strangers that lead to nowhere, but this usually puts me in a position of awkward silence when you run out of things to say.
Victoria: That time that one of my best friends Lina told me that Legolas (from Lord of the rings) is lame. Lame. It was an embarrassing moment for me too since we’ve been friends for such a long time. She eventually came to her senses and has now apologized several times for the horrible nature of her mistake. But sometimes when we hang out I’m still like “Remember that time you told me Legolas was lame? Gosh”.
What is your favorite life lesson
Elizabeth: It’s okay to not have it all figured out. Everyone is merely pretending to. Even the people with kids, a dog and a house who claim they prefer liquor-chocolate over milk chocolate: Pretending.
Victoria: That kindness and sensitivity don’t have to be a weakness. You can be both sensitive and powerful simultaneously.
Current music playlist and favorite book
Elizabeth: A lot of 60′s soul, 70′s rock, Beyoncé and D’Angelo.
I adore the author Bell Hooks and her books on the topic of black feminism. There are also a lot of great fantasy books that I love; “The lord of the rings” trilogy has a special place in my heart.
Victoria: Seinabo Sey – “For Madeleine” EP. Just listen, you’ll see.
I read a lot of poetry, amongst my favorites are: Ruoktu Váimmus (Trekways of the wind), a collection of poetry and illustrations by sámi poet Nils-Aslak Valkeapää and “Black feeling, black talk” by Nikki Giovanni.
Favorite restaurant and dish you would not want to live without
Elizabeth: I hardly ever eat out, mostly because I think it’s hard to find good vegetarian and gluten free restaurants, and because I love to cook! I can’t go too long without my benachin or rice & peas.
Victoria: We always had a passionate relationship to food. We ate A LOT as kids and would stay in the school cafeteria until our teacher had to come get us! My favorite dishes are too many to mention, as long as it’s vegetarian and gluten free. I have a terrible sweet-tooth as well that I fight hard to keep under control, chocolate is my kryptonite.
Do you have a workout/exercise routine? If so, what is your routine?
Elizabeth: I enjoy yoga and various martial arts, unfortunately I haven’t exactly made them a routine. I don’t enjoy routines.
Victoria: I love to dance, I put on loud west african music, dancehall or samba and go nuts. It’s not a routine, it’s survival. I need to move my hips in order to sustain mental health.
Do you have a blog/website?
For now you can find us on the ‘gram: @Lejonhjerta
Elizabeth: Yes, thank you for having us! It’s such an honor to be featured on Urban Bush Babes!
Victoria: I was going to rant but I think I’m done for today. Thank you UBB, you are very inspiring!
What makes you an Urban Bush Babe?
Elizabeth: I’m at a point in my life where I’m pretty comfortable with who I am right now, and I’m pretty proud of who I am, too. I get insecure sometimes, of course, but I think I’ve stopped valuing myself in relation to other people. I think Urban Bush Babes is all about being comfortable in your own uniqueness.
Victoria: I’ve accepted my diversity and neglected false dichotomy. I believe you can be, for example, political and childish at the same time or love dancing in the club as well as wildlife in the woods. You don’t have to choose. And you can be both urban and bush.