“I’m just me.” Faith Perez

Faith Perez wears her curls proudly, knowing they don’t make her who she is but they remind her of who she is. And who she is has come with some struggle. Perez is Haitian-Puerto Rican and calls Brooklyn, New York home. She’s majoring in Animal Science and is in her freshman year.

The Haitian culture that Perez has encountered tends to favor straightened hair . Her mother had always straightened her own hair until Perez and her sister inspired their mother to embrace her own curls.

For Perez’s decision to be completely natural, it took some convincing. Throughout the pushback, she stood firm and told her mother her curls were what she wanted to “stick with.”

Perez talked with ease about her natural hair journey. She recalled her relationship with her hair through childhood - natural hair pageants, constant straightening (and burning) at the dominican salon. She constantly circled back to her Haitian mother, describing the struggle she had with her daughter embracing her curls as she got older.

Now, Perez speaks about accepting and loving her hair with a refreshingly matter-of-fact attitude. She thinks that hair is just hair yet is aware of how curls represent her Haitian and Puerto Rican cultures, even though she feels a bit estranged from the two at times. “I’ve always identified as being Black,” Perez said. Because she says she’s “different in that sense of being accepted within the Black community”, she often hangs in the balance of her two ethnicities.

At the end of the day, Perez loves her curls and whatever other texture she sees on others. “I feel like everyone’s hair is beautiful,” Perez said. “It doesn’t matter the tightness of it, I just love it all.”

Q: Can you define the word hair? What it means to you?

A: Well hair is something that you grow to love. A lot of people, even with straight hair, they always find the flaws in their hair. It’s really easy to nitpick every little thing. So, especially in a society where curly hair has been looked down upon for years, I guess hair for me is just pride and knowing where you come from.

“I think my natural hair reminds me of who I am and what I stand for”-Faith Perez
“It’s more of just accepting that every single curl type is different and just knowing your own worth and that your own hair is what makes you.”-Faith Perez

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