Qween of the Week: Janice Golec

Janice Golec// Image provided by Golec

Janice Golec// Image provided by Golec

Our main message at Qweens is representation matters. Seeing an equal representation of different hair textures in all forms of media is just as important as seeing all brands extend their shade ranges. Combating stereotypes surrounding kinkier hair textures is important in the fight for more representation, and Janice Golec (@fromato4z) recognizes that. Our Qween of the Week started her blog, From A to 4Z, to increase the representation of 4C (4Z) bloggers and vlogger on social media, while also educating her fellow 4C-ers on hair health and showing that 4C hair isn’t dirty or ugly, and should be loved and taken care of.

Why did you to start documenting your natural hair journey?

When I started my hair journey, I was in awe of the number of long-haired naturalistas I would see on social media. It seemed, however, that the number of YouTubers and bloggers with long, highly textured hair were few and far between. The long-haired 4c bloggers and vloggers that I did find helped me change my worldview.

How so?

I realized that it was possible for afro-textured hair to grow to long and healthy lengths without the person being of a mixed racial heritage; all that was required was a consistent regimen and some patience. I wanted to be able to teach and inspire others with a similar hair texture that this was possible for them too.

A chart of Andre Walker’s hair typing system// Taken from the  Black Hair Spot

A chart of Andre Walker’s hair typing system// Taken from the Black Hair Spot

What is the inspiration behind your blog name “From A to 4Z”?

I like puns! My blog name is a play on the saying “from a to z” as well as the hair typing system created by Andre Walker. Even though I focus on type 4c hair, I believe that healthy hair care practices can be learned from all hair types.

What’s one thing you want anyone who comes across your blog and page to leave knowing about you or themselves?

When people visit my blog, I want them to know that I can totally relate to their journey. As someone who had never previously had long or healthy hair, I want visitors to understand it is possible to have both. I provide tips and tricks for achieving these so they can feel empowered to be able to care for their hair themselves.

What are 3 tips you would give someone newly on their natural hair journey?

First, you need to create a solid regimen that works for your hair and consistently use it. It may require some trial and error to get the regimen right, and during this time, you’ll get to know a lot about how your hair responds to products, styling tools, etc. Once you have a regimen in place, you need to stick with it.

Next, you need to have patience when it comes to your progress. I find that it’s easy to get discouraged when you see others progressing, especially when you think that you’re not. Many people want overnight results, and that just isn’t a realistic expectation to have. Growing hair takes time, and if you have a solid regimen, then you’ll see results.

Finally, taking pictures gives you an objective view of your progress and the health of your hair. Sometimes we feel as though our hair isn’t growing, but when we compare photos from different periods of time, we can see that we’ve made strides.

On your page, you make note that you’re a mother of four children, what are some challenges you face balancing mom life and maintaining natural hair?

Being a mom of young children is time-consuming. As a result, I had to create a routine that not only permitted me to practice healthy hair care, it also had to fit into the limited time I have for this routine. My routine is very simple but it keeps my hair healthy, and I’ve retained a lot of length because of it. This is what inspired my tag line “4c hair care made simple”.

What is one myth about natural hair you wish would stop being perpetuated?

That “4c” hair can’t grow and that its dry, dirty, and ugly. Through social media, I have been working hard to destroy this line of thinking by promoting self-love and self-respect both within people who have this hair type and within the natural hair community itself.

Why do you feel it is important to have diversity and representation in the beauty industry?

The beauty industry reinforces cultural ideals of beauty. Unfortunately, these ideas still have an undercurrent of Eurocentric standards even in countries that are highly Afrocentric. To be considered polished, hair must be straight. Otherwise curled hair is often displayed on lighter skinned women with silky, bouncy, uniformed curls. Women are now highlighting and contouring to reduce the size of their noses and lips in pursuit of a more Eurocentric look. For a lot of women, young ladies, and girls, the media is still presenting a message that dark skin, thick lips, broad noses, and kinky hair are not desirable or attractive. As a result, the black community continues to internalize and echo this sentiment. This lack of representation is corrosive.

What does representation mean to you, in the beauty and fashion industry and social media?

In social media, we can still see the images of the women who fit this ideal get greater likes and shares than those who do not. We want to embrace Afrocentricity provided that it isn’t too Afrocentric. When afro-textured hair isn’t coifed into a round 'fro, then it’s considered unkempt, messy, and even dirty. If a twist out or braid out isn’t perfectly defined, then it’s considered a frizzy failure. I often find that darker skinned women are either portrayed with long silky weaves or with close fades, as though our hair is something to be ashamed of. I think that normalizing, accepting, and celebrating our inherent beauty is something that we still are working towards.

What do you want to see more of in the beauty industry, especially when it comes to representation of natural hair?

I would love to see darker skinned women with super kinky hair embraced and represented in the beauty industry. Specifically, those that have hair often referred to as 4c hair. I feel like we’re highly underrepresented; the media hasn’t portrayed our natural beauty.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Over the past few years, I’ve built a community of wonderful men and women who learn and share with each other daily. This year, I’m looking forward to reaching and meeting even more people through social media and through natural hair networking events.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you need to have with you?

My cell phone, a book, and a thick blanket because I like feeling warm and cozy.

Which products can’t you live without? Why?

My hair care regimen is super simple, and I’ve basically used the same four, or so, products for the past five years. First, I love using Kaolin clay to cleans my scalp and hair instead of shampoo. It’s super gentle, and it exfoliates my scalp while detoxifying my hair. I use the LCO (liquid-cream-oil) method for keeping my hair moisturized. For my spritz, I heavily dilute Giovanni Direct Leave-in Conditioner with water. My moisturizer is an emulsified cream that I make myself. Broccoli seed oil which is bae as far as oils are concerned it keeps my hair feeling soft.

What’s something you always tell yourself to stay motivated?

I stay motivated by remembering that “slow and steady wins the race.” Over the past few years, I’ve learned that it’s not an all or nothing proposition. Breaking my goals into small and manageable steps makes completing them much easier. Each time I complete a milestone, I celebrate the progress that I’ve made.

What is one thing you know now you wish you knew when you first started your natural hair journey and in sharing your journey on social media?

I wish that I learned that technique is just as, if not more important than the products that you use. You can buy really expensive products and not yield great results or use very few products and have amazing results, simply based on how gently you handle your hair. This is what I try to teach other naturals through my social media platform.

I also wish that I would have trusted a friend of mine who kept encouraging me to share my journey on social media and shared my journey sooner. A lot of people find my page because they are looking for someone whose hair looks like theirs and who can guide them on their own journey.

In three words, how would you describe your natural hair journey?

Liberating, motivating, and successful.

If you know who the next Qween of the Week should be send us an email: qweens.magazine@gmail.com, we look forward to hearing from you!