Saturday, November 24, 2012

Center Stage Naturals: Ashanti

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Ashanti, known as “Felicity Starr” on IG. I’m a mother of a beautiful 2yr old boy, a faithful servant of the Lord and I’ve fallen in love with rocking my natural tresses with pride.

How long have you been natural?

I’ve been natural for 7 years, but really just taking care of my hair the past 2 years. The first 5 years I damaged my hair extensively with press-outs and Dominican blow-outs which caused a massive amount of heat damage. It took the last 2 years to cut out the damage but in that process I’ve gained an immense amount of understanding about my hair and what’s best for maintaining its healthiness.
What made you decide to go natural?

Actually a roommate of mine at the time sparked my interest. But due to breakage from transitioning, I had to do a big chop (BC) earlier than I intended. My BC sent me through an identity shock. I hated my short hair and did everything to conceal it; from gluing in braids, wigs, weaves…anything that would cover my Grace Jones inspired cut, I had it in my hair. And I think from that experience it ignited the years of hair abuse because I never accepted my hair in its natural state, or gave myself a chance to love it. And in looking back, I’m regretful I didn’t.

What were the reactions you had to going natural? Did you receive any positive or negative comments?

My boyfriend at the time hated it lol. He’s the one who actually nicknamed me “Grace Jones”. My step-dad wasn’t too fond of it either, but I just think some men prefer hair. My sisters, Mother and Aunties all loved it, and my girlfriends as well. But my job wasn’t too open to my change. You know when you’ve done something so extreme you don’t receive a single comment, just stares? Sometimes those are the worst nonverbal reactions you can receive; just a blank look and no comment. That’s exactly the reaction I received when I returned to work. I was insecure to say the least, and although the my cut was more accepted than not, I couldn’t really settle with my decision.

If you have been met with negative comments, in what way do you believe your faith and positivity have helped you to overcome the obstacles of negativity?

When I first started my natural journey it was right before “The Natural Hair Exodus” began. You didn’t see too many women open and eager to transition like you see now. There was the Long Hair Care Forum that was very helpful but the amount of YouTube’s and IG post you see now was scarce to nonexistent. The unified support wasn’t there and at times I felt like an outcast. So, not having all the wonderful avenues you see now, my journey has personally helped me to not only accept my hair through self examination but through this experience I’ve learned to identify and truly love other parts of myself I once did not. My view of beauty was so skewed by what was projected by mass media that I overlooked the beautiful qualities I was blessed with and wanted to alter them anyway I could. The negativity blossomed a self awareness and I wouldn’t change my experience at all because it presented me with a valuable rejuvenation process. Witnessing the progression of others in their journey is quite rewarding for me. Being a part of that underlying support we have for one another, it’s amazing to be an encouragement to another or inspire natural newbies.  

Who are your hair inspirations, if any?

As far as inspiration, I can’t pinpoint one person. I’m inspired by the young lady who just BC’d and loving her new found freedom to the beautiful woman with locs, or the Queen who plays in her natural hair giving ideas to others. My inspiration is not based off goals or desire lengths but how the individual is embracing themselves.

Do you have a regimen? If so, what is it?
I co-wash 2-3 times a week and wash every Saturday evening. After every wash I use a leave in, mixture of two oils (either coconut, almond, castor, oil, or jojoba oils), and I seal my ends with shea butter. When styling for a braid or twist out , I use any type of Curl Enhancing product  (I’m using Cantu Coconut Curling Cream at the moment) to help set my braid/twist-outs. I deep condition once a month or as needed, and provide my hair with extra TLC such as blackstrap molasses, protein or any other type of treatment on a as needed basis as well

What are your favorite products?

I’m a minimalist when it comes to products. I wash and condition my hair with the TRESemme line, I love their Naturals line but honestly any product by TRESemme my hair soaks up happily. My styling product of choice would have to be Garnier Fructis’ Fiber Gum Putty, it holds down my hair and edges nicely. I use Eco Styler gel sparingly, but honestly, I haven’t grown fond of this product because I don’t like hard hair. And lastly, I would have to mention KimmayTube’s (of YouTube) leave-in conditioner, the best leave-in I have ever put in my hair…hands down!

Where can we find you online? 
@FelicityStarr on Instagram

How is that for inspiration?!! A perfectly lovely way of kicking off the Center Stage Naturals feature!!! Thank you so so much Ashanti for allowing me to share your story and allowing Catastrophe to be a vessel of inspiration by way of all of your natural beauty!! ~xoxo

If you would like to be a Center Stage Natural, contact me at and you could be featured!!!


  1. Her hair is beautiful! Can't wait for mine to get that long :)

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