Runway Curls recently hosted the #NaturalsStandTall event as a salute to military women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Mushiya Tshikuka, Runway Curls founder and star of WEtv’s Cutting It In the ATL hosted 7 women who received full makeovers along with a candid conversation on the rules and regulations affecting women wearing their natural hair while serving in the military. In partnership with the Minority Women Veterans Organization (MWVO), Runway Curls provided these 7 veterans and active duty women with complimentary head to toe makeovers for their military service, ranging from 2 to 24 years across the Army and Air Force.
The veterans began the day before the event with consultations by celebrity wardrobe stylist Melvin Styles. Styles that flattered each woman‘s personality and assets were chosen from his East Atlanta boutique O2G. The next day, the women began their beauty treatment with hairstyles from an all-star team at The Damn Salon, including: Celebrity stylist Mushiya Tshikuka, Runway Curls Stylists Temia Lofton and Alicia Turner-Ellis, Editorial stylistCandace Phillips, Celebrity stylist Joscynthia Mason, Celebrity Stylist April B, Celebrity MUA Phillip Washington, and Celebrity MUA Kim Harley.
After the looks were completed, Mushiya led a dialogue with Nyrea Liferidge, who spearheads MWVO’s “Glamming Forward“Campaign. This initiative seeks to recognize and support active duty service women who are overseas or veterans in VA hospitals who do not have access to beauty products. Supporters can purchase a “Glam Box” filled with cosmetics, skin care and body products, which is then delivered to an active duty service woman or veteran with a personalized message. The active or retired service woman can then choose to “Glam It Forward,” and order another box to be passed on to another active duty woman or veteran. “When veterans receive a Glam Box, they feel ‘someone cares about me feeling beautiful.‘ Those things mean a lot, just to know people care who are outside the military,” said Liferidge.
Mushiya then spoke with Monique Sellers-Greene, spokesperson and image consultant for the MWVO. In her role as a Master Sergeant with the US Air Force, Sellers-Greene was responsible for enforcing the regulations with regards to hairstyles for women service members. Sellers-Greene and Mushiya discussed the ramifications of current rules, which include hair height not exceeding more than 3 inches, hair not touching uniform collars and being off the face. Sellers-Greene shared her workaround recommendations, such as purchasing additional uniform hats in larger sizes to accommodate a wig, yet acknowledged challenges that women who choose to wear their own natural hair encounter. For example, gas masks worn during chemical warfare training present unique concerns.
“What makes it more challenging having natural hair is the gas masks, it has 8 elastic straps, the seal has to be tight. All of your face is covered by rubber. The hard part with natural hair is removing the straps. When you remove it, the seal and the elastic bands pull your hair. With a wig, it all comes off,”says Sellers-Greene. “Other women with straighter hair textures may not experience this.”
Mushiya shared her insight as a beauty professional. “With that sealant, when your hair is permed, it’s going to experience more breakage. Relaxed hair is dryer and with lots of sweating and stressful conditions, there’s going to be breakage. Not allowing women to embrace solutions such as braids and extensions within regulations simply causes more stress.”
Following the discussion, the Veterans showcased their stunning new looks in a mini-fashion show. Each woman was introduced by her stylist along with details of the look. Celebrity makeup artists Phillip Washington and Kim Harley shared their goals with each woman‘s look and Celebrity wardrobe stylist Melvin Styles explained the style choices for the Veterans.
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A #NaturalsStandTall Instagram LookBook was released on Monday, January 18th from the Runway Curls Instagram Page (@RunwayCurls) featuring the makeovers.
Behind the scenes photos can be seen by searching #NaturalsStandTall across social media. All Runway Curls sales proceeds in the amount of 5 percent will be donated to the Glamming Forward initiative until January 31, 2016. Purchases can be made at www.RunwayCurls.com or by calling 404-832-0801.