Soledad O'Brien Explains Her Hair Journey at ESSENCE Fest

Soledad O’Brien
Photo Credit: Getty Images

We managed to grab a moment with journalist Soledad O’Brien at the ESSENCE festival and, naturally, we asked about her hair journey and what’s it like having daughters with different textures of hair. Surprisingly, her story might be similar to yours. Check it out.

On her hair journey: “My hair journey involved a lot of trying to figure out how to deal with my hair as a bi-racial girl in a white community living in Long Island, NY where no one had a clue what to do with it. When I was 13 I began relaxing my hair, and that meant when I turned 18 it began to crack and fall off, and when I began anchoring, I had short, stubbly pieces of hair. And trying to report in San Francisco with fog meant my hair swelled. But at the same time, when I turned 40, I looked closer to what I wanted and I stopped caring about what other people felt about me, my skin color, my hair, or how I pronounced my hair. I only cared about what I thought and was very free. Wendy Evans was the first woman I knew who is black with natural hair and knew how to get to healthy hair. She and I had a journey [to get healthy hair] together.”

On managing her daughter’s hair: “I have one daughter with straight, long and thick hair. And then I have another daughter who has hair like mine [that’s not straight.] And it’s been fun to do things with her that my mom never did for me because she’s of a different generation. I tell her ‘your hair is great because that you can everything with it. We can flat iron it, if you want to. We can curl it, if you want it. You can slick it back in a bun, if you want to.’ No one ever told me that. It was always 'how will you handle your hair?' versus 'look at all the things you can do with it!' So my attitude towards her is to have fun with it, but just don’t do something that will wreck it.”

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On feeling beautiful: “I know the right answer is when I roll out of bed and gaze into my husbands eyes, but truly [I’m the most beautiful] when I have on fake eyelashes with high heels and a Janelle Monae red lip. That’s when I feel sexy and great. I like being done up! I love going to events and wearing fabulous gowns. I like hitting that spot of doing what feels good for me. If it makes other people happy, great; if it doesn’t then that’s great, too!”