This week’s Textured Talk With feature is friend, actress and fellow Howard University alum Ashley Blaine Featherson. If you’ve attended the movies lately then I’m sure you’ve seen her in the latest critically acclaimed film Dear White People as Curls. If you’re an extreme fan of Black and Sexy TV like me, you know her as Whitney from the web series Hello Cupid and are anxiously awaiting to see what happens next between her and Cassius (Hello Cupid fans understand my excitement)! Or perhaps you’ve seen her in other shows such as Glee, Black & Sexy’s Roomie Lover Friends, or you frequent her lifestyle blog Thatssoash.com. No matter the platform one undeniable thing you’ve noticed is her gorgeous natural hair. Outside of acting and just being a super sweet person in general Ashley has completely captivated me, and I’m sure Hollywood, of her extremely versatile look. Whether it’s a high puff, twist out, afro, or long straight sleek sew-in, she makes this natural hair thing look effortless. Excited to get a peek into her world as a black actress at a moment where natural hair has become way more than a trend, I contacted Ashley and she agreed without hesitation. Below is a little about her journey.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your hairstory?
I decided to go natural during my Sophomore year at Howard University in 2007. From the day I stepped foot onto Howard’s campus I was surrounded by beautiful black women with big, fluffy natural hair and I said to myself “Hey…I wonder if my hair can do that!”. I had a perm since elementary school, so I literally had no clue what my natural hair would look like. I transitioned by keeping my hair braided and in a sew-in for a year. Every 6 weeks or so I would get it re-done and trimmed. By the end of the year all of my hair was back to the same length, natural and I was a happy girl. I had tons of girlfriends who helped me along the way with tips, styling techniques, etc. I always tell people my “transitioning” phase was fairly easy, but going natural did so much for my soul. I felt and still feel at my best when my hair is natural. I embraced my texture, length, color…all of it and loved who I was. I’m so happy that I did, and I will never go back to chemically processing my hair.
2. How would you categorize your texture?
I would say that I am a 3c/4a mix maybe? But since I got a much needed trim/cut my texture has been a bit looser.
3. What is your hair regime? As an actress, you’re used to being a chameleon and changing your look at the drop of a dime, so are you able to keep a routine with your schedule?
My regime is ALL OVER THE PLACE! Ideally I like to wash & deep condition my hair 3-4 times a month. I blow-dry my hair 2 times a month (max), other times I style it from being wet. When doing twist outs, believe it or not I only do it twice a week max. My hair stays in a natural style like no other so I don’t have to mess with it too much. In any given week I can be asked to have my hair natural on Wednesday and straight on Thursday for an audition or shoot. I have become a HUGE fan of wigs. It’s the best protective style ever! I have an awesome hair stylist (Ashley Riley) who recently made me a custom wig that is my NEW BEST FRIEND. I will just twist my hair down, throw on the wig, be straight for the day, take off the wig, un twist my hair and now I’m back to being Curly Sue! I really pride myself in being versatile, and not to mention it’s fun!
4. It seems advertisers have really caught on to the natural hair movement. I rarely see a commercial where a black woman isn’t wearing her hair in some variation of a natural style. Has the acceptance of natural hair in Hollywood changed since you first moved to LA to pursue acting in 2010?
I must say that it is extremely refreshing to see. I feel that each year I am more represented on television, and that speaks to incredible growth in the industry. It is so important to represent people of all shapes, sizes, colors and ethnicities. I love turning on my TV and seeing women who look like me!
5. Let’s talk Black & Sexy TV! BIG fan of the network and of your web series Hello Cupid. I also adore the acknowledgement of natural hair among the actors and actresses on the network. Has the success of Hello Cupid helped you land roles where producers were looking for a natural-hair look?
Thank You! Black & Sexy TV is the #1 place for natural hair inspiration. I love that we rock our natural hair on ‘Hello Cupid’, it is totally part of the draw and essence of our show. It’s nice to be accepted and embraced for who I am naturally and not ever feeling like I have to conform to any superficial standard of beauty. My hair, my skin, my figure, my talent…its all ENOUGH! I will say that I book roles quite often with my natural hair look. I think when people think of me, they definitely see “curly haired, afro’d Ashley” and they like that. It’s authentic, it speaks to my personality, it’s just ME!
6. What are your top products of choice right now?
Anything LOTTABODY! I love their whole revamped natural hair product line.
7. Last but not least…do you have any hair crushes? If so who!? 🙂
My dear friend actress, singer and content creator extraordinaire Andrea Lewis (@andrealewis)! She has the kindest soul and the most Gorgeous hair!
Want to be featured and share your Hairstory? Email [email protected]!