By Christina Sturdivant Sani, Special to the AFRO
Angela Walker is a busy woman.
But the 30-year-old mother, entrepreneur, and natural hair care guru is committed to self care—from her tresses to her toes.
Ever evolving, Walker is bringing one of her biggest events yet to the D.C. region. The Naturalista Expo, formerly known as The Naturalista Hair Show, will include three days of wellness, beauty, fashion, and hair experiences centered around uplifting the Black woman’s soul.
Angela Walker (Courtesy Photo)
“We, the Black community, need positive representations of ourselves so that our kids can grow up feeling great about how they are and how they were born,” Walker, owner of N Natural Hair Studio, told the AFRO. “I’m excited to expose our audience to different ways of living healthy and showing them that it’s not this far fetched idea.”
The Naturalista Expo is taking place from Friday, September 12 – Sunday, September 14. The main festivities are on Saturday at The Hotel at the University of Maryland, College Park, where Walker earned her bachelor’s degree in business and entrepreneurship in 2010. Since then, she’s not only opened two hair studios but launched The Natural Hair Nstitute, a school teaching women how to become professional natural hair stylists, and The Natural Hair Industry Convention, a one-of-a-kind event that brings together professionals in the natural hair industry.
Five years after launching the hair show, she’s become ready to expand. “I think that, a lot of times, anything that people produce or create is a direct reflection of who they are,” said Walker, who’s come to realize that self care is more than getting manis and pedis. She’s found solace in a preventative self-care routine that includes 5 a.m. trips to the gym, 2 p.m. naps, cooking dinner (“not just buying trash on the street”), and seeing a therapist—not because she’s in a crisis but “I just want to make sure my brain is right,” she said.
In speaking with clients, Walker has found that most Black women who’ve embraced natural hair are also seeking to cultivate their wellness practices. “How else do we continue to grow when it comes to our health? Putting on a nice face or makeup is cute but when I take the makeup off, how am I looking at myself in the mirror? How am I enjoying that skin?” she said, hoping that many of these questions will be answered by skincare experts at the expo.
She also predicts that the expo’s physical and mental health panels will help disrupt notions that it takes too much time to work out regularly and therapists aren’t for and within the Black community.
Having perfected her braiding skills in middle school, doing her “big chop” in college, and opening her first salon at 23 years old, Walker feels like she’s always had “a million projects going on.” But this year, she’s shifted her focus to truly care for herself so she can pour it out into her work because “you can be busy but you can’t really be productive unless you’re taking time out of your schedule to make sure you’re good.”