I believe I have a knack and love for identifying and exposing talents and beauty in people but I also want to use this medium to empower women to be confident in who they are, to love themselves, cultivate their style and to enjoy life. I hope my blog brand Natural Icon Beauty will be an avenue where I can marry my love for natural hair, beauty, creative arts, humour, personal style, self confidence, empowerment, and exposing talents to create something that people will love and something that will possibly change/impact lives for the better. With this in mind, I’ve decided to do a monthly feature to highlight the style and beauty of a black woman with natural hair. My first Natural Icon Beauty of the Month will be the gorgeous Diedre’ McKenzie.
Diedre’ has worked with me on many occasions and was actually integral in helping me to get this blog off the ground when it was merely just an idea. She’s always supportive of my ventures and has willingly used her talents, when possible, to aid many others in attaining their dreams. It is, therefore a no-brainer that I feature this member of Team Natural Icon Beauty who is an Art/Events Manager, Model, Stylist, Make-Up Artist, Aspiring Photographer among other things… and Friend.
I wanted to find out more about her and her natural hair so I asked her:
NIB: Hey Queen, I’m so glad you agreed to be featured as our Natural Icon Beauty of the Month. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
DIEDRE’: My Name is Diedre` McKenzie a graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where I studied for a Degree in Arts Management. At the age of 23, my main goal in life is to be happy and truly successful where I believe my success is determined by whether I find happiness or joy in what I do. I love being creative and helping people to see the true potential in themselves through styling, decor and living a good lifestyle. I model as a hobby and I am currently trying to get certified in the areas of makeup artistry, interior decorating, fashion design, psychology and health and wellness.
NIB: Define your style.
DIEDRE’: hmm, to give a specific definition to my style is a very complicated one. I like anything that looks good on my body. I like to be sultry yet sophisticated and I rarely follow trends unless it looks good.
NIB: What do you love about your natural hair?
DIEDRE’: I love most things about my hair, the only thing I don’t like is the amount of money I spend on products to get the perfect look and that it makes me impatient waiting on it to grow.
NIB: Have you ever processed your natural tresses?
DIEDRE’: No I haven’t and I never will.
NIB: What’s your favourite way to wear your hair?
DIEDRE’: I have several go to hairstyles- A messy high bun for work, bangs when its not windy, wash and go mostly and cornrowed back as protective do. When I get tired of combing it, I put in some braids for a month or two.
NIB: Some people are under the impression that having natural hair is hard and expensive to maintain, is this so?
DIEDRE’: The only thing that’s hard about having natural hair is trying to meet the standards of what people say is “combed” hair. Not to say your hair shouldn’t be groomed or tamed, because it would make you look more kept, but if you accept the shape, form, textures etc. of your hair everything else comes easy.
NIB: What’s your hair regimen?
DIEDRE’: Water, Water, Water… Water is the main step in my hair regimen. I wet it in the mornings. I use moisturizer with main ingredient water. I occasionally use gel with main ingredient water. Otherwise, I would wash and go and sometimes put in a curling gel to keep my curls tight. I co-wash my hair twice a week, ( I no longer use shampoo) and trim the ends ever so often ( I’m due a trim now).
NIB: Explain ‘co-wash’ for those of us who don’t understand what that is.
DIEDRE’: Co-wash is using conditioner to wash your hair instead of using shampoo.
NIB: I’ve heard stories of women who have been pressured to process their hair or who have experienced harsh criticisms, negativity and/or even sabotage because they wear their natural tresses. Have you had any such experience(s) solely or partly because of your hair?
DIEDRE’: The society we live in has yet to come to terms that even if we were all put in a baking mold we would still come out different, some will have more air holes than others ( Pun intended). It is until we realize that we cannot change the way we were made and embrace our differences, that people will be forced to embrace it. I have had many experiences where the way I chose to wear my hair have affected people’s opinion of me. I even went about changing it to suit them, but I have learnt that the only reason I should change something about myself is if it is going to make me happier or healthier. I’ve never heard of natural hair killing anyone yet, so until then, I’ll keep rocking my curls.
NIB: As a model, do you find it harder to get gigs because of your natural hair? Or is natural hair readily accepted in the fashion industry?
DIEDRE’: The fashion Industry likes girls who they can play around different looks with. The girl with no hair gets more gigs than a girl with processed or natural hair because then they can wear wigs and different hairstyles so natural hair is not a deal breaker especially since natural hair is simply a fad for some. Even processed hair chics are putting in curly tresses to have our type of hair *flashes hair while tilting head to the side*. However, the struggle that most models face is with height, weight and/or skin colour.
NIB: People will look at how gorgeous you are and think that you must be very confident and that you have it all together, is that so? Or do you have insecurities like the rest of us?
DIEDRE’: Ha! Confidence is such a funny thing! Today, you have it tomorrow you don’t. You never really have it all the time because there is always something that makes you question your worth. What I have learned is that it’s not important to meet everyone’s expectation but it is important to meet your own. There is always someone who’s not going to like you, not going to see your worth, always expecting the worse from you or trying to put you down because of selfish reasons but seeing your goal and focusing on reaching it is what’s important. In my case, that’s being happy.
NIB: If you could describe your life, vision for your life, or guiding philosophy(ies) using three quotes, what would they be?
DIEDRE’: “Live, Love, Laugh.”; “Just Do It!”; “This Too shall Pass.” I was going to include “Forever Faster” but I don’t run. That’s how I remind myself to live every day. I don’t have a plan as to how I want my life to go I just have a goal and will do everything to reach it.
NIB: One last question, what does it mean for you to be a Natural Icon Beauty?
DIEDRE’: Wah! Mi life tun up now! *laughs out loud* Everyday you live your life trying to reach your goal, you never think the work is done because you always see room to grow and be a better version of yourself and then, someone sees your hard work and tells you good job, or tells you they admire you. It means something. It means that you’re not just working for you but to help people who have the same desires, struggles and questions of life to find the answer much quicker than if they were to search for it themselves. My ultimate dream is to help people realize how much investing in themselves can make their life more fulfilling. To be considered as a Natural Icon Beauty means I’m doing something right and I am one step closer to this dream.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to pull off this dress, but then I remembered who I was and owned it like nobody’s biz.”
Yes, you sure did. Thanks again Diedre. I appreciate that you were open and honest. I wish you all the best in your present and future endevours.
Thanks to everyone for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this feature. Awaiting your Comments below 😆
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Photo 1 & 7-9 : @jesuisalrick
Photos 2-6: @nickiikane
Photo 1 & 7-9 : @kimzie_kim
Photos 2-6: @mz_zeri
Styling: Diedre Mckenzie
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