Embracing her curls, Nia Pettitt is a key figure in the natural hair movement. With Zimbabwean roots, Nia grew up in North London and started off penning blog posts on her online platform: FroGirlGinny. Now she jets all over the world bringing natural hair advocates together in a series of encouraging events and meet ups. We caught up with her to find out more.
JW: Tell us more about the natural hair movement.
NIA PETTITT: I had to grow to love myself, I had acne and low self-esteem because my mum had relaxed my hair from three to 11. Then I had to embrace my curls. No one else had curls around me. So I built this community around me online and when I was 16, I made a blog and I invested my time into writing because I love to write. It just grew. I created a movement called happy Fro-day, where we all celebrate our natural hair. I travel round the world bringing women together, hosting brunches, parties, where people can be around women that look like them, have fun and feel loved.
JW: What does it feel like when you’re hosting a brunch?
NP: It’s a room full of love and light. All these vibrant flowers, I always call them flowers because how big and versatile their hair can be. It’s definitely fulfilling to be able to say that at 20 I’ve been able to do all of these things, but it just inspires me to do more. Just bring more women together that don’t know about the community yet.
JW: What’s the ultimate goal with this?
NP: I think for a three-year-old girl or a even a three-year-old boy to not look in the mirror and say, ‘Mum I don’t like my curls’, but instead to say ‘I love how my hair spirals’, and to not feel like they have to straighten it. As most women who are natural, have had to go through the journey of straightening and using relaxers. I want to ban relaxers.
JW: What workout of discipline do you absolutely love and what do you hate?
NP: I love dancing, because I’m obsessed with music. 90s music. I love being taken back to a genre I wasn’t in. I’m always doing squats, especially when I’m cleaning; I love it when it’s fun and you don’t feel like you’re working out. I hate weights. Things where I have to pull ugly facial expressions.
JW: Do you consider yourself sporty or an athlete?
NP: I consider myself healthy – I don’t invest enough time into sports as much as a should, I have definitely made it important to invest into my diet recently. I’m healthy – not sporty, but I’m working on it.
JW: Why do you workout, what does it do for your life?
NP: I workout because my body is my temple, so I have to look after it. Sometimes I workout when I’m stressed because I know that I’m doing good to my body. And I want to look cute in a dress with my bum looking nice!
JW: If you could be a professional athlete what would you want to do and why?
NP: I would be a swimmer because I love the water. But, I wouldn’t like to have my hair wet all the time. I would love a swim protector so that my hair can stay big when I’m under the water.
JW: What do you like to do to relax and take a break?
NTL: I love to listen to music; spending time with my friends. As I’m always travelling, when I’m with them, I’m reminded of my journey and how far I’ve come. So it’s really nice.
JW: What is your ultimate goal in life?
NP: My ultimate goal in life is to have a big house, with loads of plants and fro babies. And to achieve my huge to-do list of travelling around the world, hosting events in different parts of the world and connecting with women.
JW: What is your ultimate goal in fitness?
NP: My ultimate goal in fitness would be to be 100% confident in a bikini, to see abs in a picture.
JW: What are the most common questions women ask you?
NP: What products I use on my hair is definitely the number one thing my followers ask and they think its products, but it’s about the love you invest in your hair and it’s not just the products.
JW: Speaking of hair, what do you do with your hair when you’re going for a run versus what you do when you’re socialising?
NP: When I’m working out I tie my hair in a pineapple and just let it sit away from my face. I’m learning to let go of my hair, I was so dependant on it to feel confident, now I’ve finally let go and I’m learning to love it. My hair was my camouflage for the longest time because I had acne so I used it to hide, but now I’m all about embracing my face and wearing it up more and doing loads of different hair styles.
JW: What about dance?
NP: Because I am half Zimbabwean, I have grown up seeing my mum at parties dancing, which I used to be so embarrassed about. But I love rumba and it’s a style of dancing from Zimbabwe its basically when you use you hips and your bum. You’re just free with the music. You feel it, you’re free. My regime of fitness at home is squats and ab crunches.