Antoinette (Left) and Shanti (Right)
Antoinette and Shanti are the dynamic duo behind Around the Way Curls. The title of their blog is very fitting. Because they are just that… around the way girls. Their down to earth, relate-able personalities allow them to connect with their readers. Not only do they talk about hair, but they share their own personal stories. Recently BHM was able to catch up with this bff blogging duo.
Tell us a little about yourselves and your respective natural hair journeys.
Our journeys are different. I, (Antoinette’s) journey was about self-exploration and discovery. We both come from a mixed background with our fathers being Black and our mothers being White, but I did not always understand how to identify myself. My hair being relaxed — straight and blonde at one point — was an extension of that. I was in high school and beginning to expose myself to African- American studies when it occurred to me that I had no idea what my natural texture of hair looked like. My hair went from being in pigtails everyday to relaxed. It wasn’t until another mixed girl, Beth Lewis explained to me that I wasn’t camouflaging frizz, but instead not embracing my curls — and as a result not embracing my true self and my heritage. I was hiding and it wasn’t until I rid myself of my relaxer did I feel more in touch with who I was and where I came from. Long story short, I cut my hair with some blunt tip scissors and began my journey. It was a mess. I dyed it. I fried it. I overdosed on mousse. I did everything wrong. I had no idea how to take care of my hair. Honestly, it was with the birth of the Around The Way Curls that I began to get it together. The research required for the blog was research that I was applying as I went. It was exciting and I am still learning to this day.
I, (Shanti) was never allowed to straighten my hair or get a relaxer in my childhood, but when I became an adult and more responsible for my haircare, I turned to the flat iron and hair salons. I became addicted to straight hair and truly believed that I was more beautiful with straight hair. Due to severe heat damage, I cut my hair and for some reason my curls popped in a way they had never looked before. I saw great potential in my curls and I became sucked into the vortex of natural hair on the web. I have not turned back since.
Tell us a little about “Around the Way Curls”.
Around The Way Curls came from an inspiration to spread the “good news” of natural hair and also from the assurance that Antoinette and myself combined would be a great team. I’ll never forget sitting across from Antoinette and sharing with her the idea of blogging together. It just made the most sense to me. Originally, we wanted to keep the blog strictly about hair care but as we all know, the topic of hair stirs up many issues that we could not tip toe around nor ignore. That extended into us sharing ourselves with our audience in our candid and honest ways. When we needed to change our name we turned to our audience and the vote for “Around The Way Curls” was made. I can only assume that Antoinette and I, as bloggers, are received as women others can relate to and others can see themselves in our trials and tribulations. Our mission as bloggers is simply to inspire and relate. We want to inspire our audience in all ways whether it be about a new hairstyle or to go back to school. In return, we want to feel inspired by them. Life and love are in relationships and we want to remain as accessible and active with our audience as possible.
I heard you are on CurlyNikki’s speed dial! Tell us about your work with CurlyNikki and your inclusion in her book.
HA! I don’t think we are on her speed dial but we have her on the text! Nikki has been a Godsend when it comes to us. She really helped put us on during the beginning stages of our blog. We reached out to her in an email with questions about start up, monetization, content, etc and she replied “Hey girls. Give me a call (her number). I hope I can help. That’s the type of woman and mentor she is. She didn’t know us from a hole in the wall, but that’s just the type of wholehearted person she is. We have a friendship. It may be viral one, but we have a mutual respect for one another and one another’s work. She is a young mother and wife making moves and taking along whoever she can for the ride. Being included in her book, “Better Than Good Hair” was a huge opportunity for us and sort of unreal. I remember when our first feature went up on her site and how excited we were. I think we posted the link about 100 times on our Facebook page, so being featured in her first book is just unreal. Overall, she’s doing it big.
I also heard that you were featured in “The Curl” and the Carol’s Daughter Transitioning Movement. Tell us a little more about those projects.
We were contacted to participate in Carol’s Daughter’s, “The Curl”, and it was an amazing experience. It was quite the compliment to us, because the first series featured really awesome and established bloggers such as HeyFranHey, Urban Bush Babes and Chescaleigh. We had such a great time on set chopping it up with the crew and getting to know one another better. I think “The Curl” is a needed project because it really portrays the comradarie that natural hair care creates in women while also sharing some really important information. The “Transitioning Movement” is a great resource site created by Carol’s Daughter to help women who are transitioning or newly natural to navigate the natural hair scene. A majority of the information is created by bloggers in the natural hair blogosphere that many are familiar with. It is really a great accomplishment to be considered to represent such an established and respected brand. It reinforces that our work is appreciated and recognized by others.
What is next for “Around the Way Curls”?
We would like to do more events and be more hands on with our audience. The weather is breaking so we have been brainstorming on some events for the summer. We always loved the idea of doing a women’s conference where we explored not only hair care but overall wellness and health. I think whatever is next in our lives is what is next for ATWC. The blog has become so much more than natural hair. It documents our lives. We share our doubts, our growing pains, our failures and our victories on there. Don’t get us wrong we definitely talk hair, but everything is on a personal level. We want to continue that as we grow our audience. We want people to come to our site and relate to us. It’s important that the Around the Way vibe stays true and permeates within every post.
Anything else you would like to add? Any advice for naturals?
My greatest advice to anyone embarking on their natural hair journey or simply the journey of life is – Mind Over Matter. Think positivity and beauty.