Veralyn Media: Like many women- myself included- I know your hair has been on a journey right?
Nadine Dillon: Yes! I went from begging to get a perm at 9 years old, to keeping my hair in weaves and braids for 15 years, to getting a texturizer that made my hair fall out. Fast forward to spring 2010- I had just quit my job after a very stressful four years and spent two months just regrouping and trying to find myself. I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror at my hair in braids and decided I could not go another day with them in! I began to take them out right at that moment. I remember my mom walked in and said “Oh you’re taking out your braids, what are you going to do with it next?” I pointed to my head full of natural hair and said, “This is what I’m doing with it next!” I wish you could have seen the look on her face! Today, a year later than that experience, I am a 2 yr old natural and I’m loving EVERY BIT OF IT!!!
VM: How would you describe your hair now?
Nadine: I would describe my hair as thick, soft and cottony! Its soft to the touch but has a very dry, dull appearance. I work hard to combat the dull look using lots of oils and Aloe Vera, which helps tremendously to add sheen to my hair! And contrary to the belief that I had for over 20 years, my hair is actually not coarse at all, just thick!
VM: How did you become so proud of your natural hair?
Nadine: For years, the only thing that made me feel like I fit in was the long straight hair on my head that was either mine, breaking and thin, or store bought! I was just tired of the pretenses. Through some soul searching, I realized that I was really the only one who didn’t accept me! Once I decided to begin to love me for me, loving my hair came naturally and easily!
VM: What inspired you to start Pretty Brwn Grl Naturals?
Nadine: When I started rockin’ my natural hair proudly, people began to stop me on the street, asking me all types of questions about my hair. They’d ask what products I used, who did my hair, where did I get my style inspirations from etc… But the one question that I got that always had me stunned was, “Do you have a card or a way I can keep in contact with you?” — I didn’t get it, I wasn’t a hair dresser, I certainly didn’t make natural hair products, so I wondered why did people want to keep in contact with me?! Then it dawned on me! There was something to be said about being inspired. I realized that many of the women who stopped me were relaxed and were looking to be inspired to be happy being their natural selves!
As for coming up with the name, “Pretty Brwn Grl Naturals” – I thought of my biggest inspiration, my Grandmother. When I was a child, there were many days I would come home in tears. I wanted to be light skinned, to be skinny, to have long straight hair. Anybody but myself! And my Grandmother in her stern yet loving voice would say “Nadine stop that crying! You’re a pretty little brown skinned girl”. I own that Pretty Brwn Grl title! Except the O and the I are gone, because I’ve OVERCOME those INSECURITIES!!!”
Nadine: Going natural was a manifestation of me getting to the place where I was beginning to love me for me and I would like to help other women to get to that place too! My future mixers, (like my first one: “Naturally You” natural hair mixer) will all have underlying themes of celebrating who you are, as-well-as charitable giving. I believe that the true benefit of accepting yourself and embracing who you are is being able to give of yourself, your talents, and inspiring others to be who they are.
VM: So you started doing hair tutorials- which I LOVE!
Nadine: Thanks Veralyn! I love making tutorials! The editing is DEFINITELY a pain, but the more tutorials I do, the easier it gets!
VM: A lot of people assume that maintaining natural hair is the easiest and cheapest option for Black woman. Do you agree?
Nadine: I always tell anyone who asks me what its like to be natural, that going natural is NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! If you want your natural hair to be healthy, growing and looking great all the time, it requires lots of time, and attention!
VM: How about the money? Compared to when you had permed hair- would you say you spend more or less on your hair?
Nadine: As far as money goes, I definitely spend less now that my hair is natural simply because I do everything myself. Back when I was relaxed, I was in the hairdresser every week for a wash-n-set, and when I weaved my hair, I easily spent $300 each time! So going natural has been great for both my self-esteem and my pocket! lol
VM: What has been the most challenging part of what you’re doing?
Nadine: The most difficult part has been positioning myself in this growing natural hair industry. In my mind, the natural hair community is made up of bloggers, vloggers, hair stylists, product creators and gurus on the science of natural hair– And I am none of the above! Luckily I’ve been blessed to have really inspiring fellow natural hair enthusiasts encourage me along the way. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t shout them out: CharyJay aka 160Days2Lose2 who shouted me out on her Youtube Channel; Jenell, owner of Kinky Curly Coily Me who shared her vast knowledge of natural hair at my mixer and who’s been a great new friend and a tremendous help; and some other awesome naturals including Keisha aka Ahsiek1118, Natasha of My Manemoves and Sasha of Afroniquely You and Yardley of The Coil Review. They all have inspired me with a kind word or simply their presence!
VM: What advice would you give to others trying to figure out how to do what they love and get paid for it?
Nadine: I heard a quote the other day that said something like “A 9-5 job will give you a living, but a passion will give you a life!” I am a living example of the truth in that quote! I am still a young entrepreneur and look forward to seeing the financial returns on my investments into my vision, but I do know that for me success is not just measured monetarily! I get fulfillment every minute I know that someone is inspired to be themselves by watching me embrace myself and my talents!