OR: Your locs are incredibly long and beautiful. How long have you been growing them and what is your regimen?
Nerissa: I've been growing my locs for 23 years. I have to schedule a whole weekend to the grooming of my hair:
-Shampoo my hair twice
-Leave-in conditioner for 20 minutes
- Rinse, then I do a hot oil treatment
-I don't twist my roots unless I'm doing a very detailed hair or beauty shoot
OR: Have you ever felt pressure from the modeling industry to conform to mainstream society's beliefs of what "beauty" is?
Nerissa: Pressure? No, but I've been asked to cut my hair. That suggestion went through one ear and out the other. I love the way I am. I won't change for anyone.
OR: One of the mission statements of your online magazine, Kamoy Magazine, is to "strive to reshape global viewpoints on natural beauty." What motivates you to do this?
Nerissa: Everyone is so into this one look they call "beauty." Long weaves, long perms, European features on black and brown women. The world is full of so many types of beauty. It's not fair that they leave out the natural sistas; where do we stand out in the bunch? Can we get some praise too? That's what Kamoy will do for us. Kamoy will give us the opportunity to shine and let people know that we are the most beautiful people in the world. Being natural doesn't just mean hair; it stands for knowing your self worth, having a fit and healthy body, [being] educated on what's going on out there in the world, and knowing your history. Natural is a way of life, a movement. Live it, teach it, eat it, lol :)
OR: What do you love about your locs?
Nerissa: I love the personality my hair has. Some days it wants to be down and flowing, and some days it wants to be in an elegant crown. My hair is so versatile...I just love that it is all mine and it's growing out of my own head, lol.
OR: It seems like natural hair is becoming more widely accepted in the media and modeling industry. Why do you think it has taken this long for the acceptance?
Nerissa: I think people are becoming more aware of how important it is to accept yourself the way you truly are. How can you really teach someone to love themselves if every part of your body is plastic? Education is the answer. People are reading more. Educating your mind will bring a change to the world.
OR: You are a "natural living enthusiast." What do you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle and how do you incorporate your natural living into your haircare?
Nerissa: Exercise and eating the right foods is the key. If you eat bad, you will look bad. If you eat good, you will look good...that's my motto. My hair is healthy because I am healthy.
OR: What advice do you have for those who are hesitant to "go natural," because they are afraid of what their family and other people might think?
Nerissa: Sometimes you have to be selfish. You can't live your life trying to please everyone. Do what's best for you. If you want to have hair on your head at the age of 80... natural is the way to go :)
OR: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Nerissa: Look out for my novel, a coffee table book, workout DVD, and Kamoy Magazine. Also, always check the Kamoy Facebook for castings, submissions, etc. Kamoy wants to give everyone the opportunity to shine.