Half way thru my first year on tour, just graduated high school, and preparing for one of the biggest events in surfing, the US Open, I wanted a new look, a new me. Coco Ho, a good friend of mine, inspired me to get a Brazilian blowout. She had it done and her hair turned out amazing! Frizz free and straight!! I wanted to go to someone “good” so I went to my grandma’s pricey Korean hairdresser. I thought if you paid the big bucks you’d get a better product… I soon found out otherwise.
I decided to cut my hair just above my shoulders, then straighten it with a Brazilian blowout. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, it is when harsh chemicals are applied to the hair under heat to straighten it semi-permanently. Fun fact: Formaldehyde, used to preserve dead bodies, is one of those chemicals. The Korean lady began coating my hair with the gel and almost instantly my eyes began stinging and my scalp burning! This didn’t feel right, but she assured me all was okay and proceeded to finish the rest of my head. It was one of the most uncomfortable thirty minutes of my life. After the solution was applied, she positioned me under the hair dryer so the heat could make it set. I’d never sat underneath a hair dryer before. I didn’t know what to expect. All I could do was trust that she knew what she was doing and have faith she was going to make me look exactly how I envisioned. A few minutes under the dryer went by, the hairdresser distracted with another customer and I started to smell something burning. What is that burning smell? Where is it coming from? Wait, is it me? I reached up and instantly froze in shock. The whole front part of my hair was completely fried!! Crimped, dry, brittle, bend it you break it kind of fried. HELP! The lady knew she messed up and tried her best to fix it. She did a good job of covering it up and I left paying full price for her ruining my hair.
After surfing the next day, there was no hiding the fact that my hair was a complete disaster. The sun and salt only made it look worse. I came to the realization that the only way to fix it was to let it grow out or go bald. There was no way I was going bald so I rocked it as best as I could. I twisted it and tied it back with a bobby pin to tame it everyday. I looked like I was twelve years old again! The exact opposite of the look I was going for!!
US Open was definitely a challenge. It was hard to hold my head up high, walk down the beach with confidence and not care what anyone thought. I remember constantly comparing myself with all the girls I saw. I was a little overweight at the time and I just felt awkward but I did my best to laugh it off. Any chance I got, I told the story of the Korean lady who gave me a Brazilian blowout to make people laugh. You have to admit, the story is quite funny. Writing about it on my blog, being completely honest and vulnerable with people really helped me thru it as well. It felt good to turn something negative into something positive. People shared with me their hair horror stories and I didn’t feel so alone. Our shell doesn’t define our beauty. It’s what’s inside that does.