Ava Pearl, the CEO and founder of the digital media company Curly Culture, knows the dilemmas “naturalistas” face all too well, both internal and external. Like many other curlies, Pearl grew up believing straight and sleek hair was the ideal. As she navigated societal beauty standards and endured not-so-subtle microaggressions, she was largely on her own as she tried to learn how to care for her natural tresses.
“Moments like that … make you feel like you’re the oddball out,” she told theGrio in a recent interview. “We all have similar stories where we’ve experienced that, and I think creating a safe space to be able to talk about that is something that we really need today.”
The content creator launched Curly Culture almost two years ago to educate, inspire and entertain “multicultural curlies around the world.” With the platform’s content, Pearl provides its community with the safe space she wanted growing up. Each video or social media post aims to either demonstrate, empower or showcase individuals wearing their naturally textured hair.
This year, Pearl is bringing her platform to life with the inaugural CurlyCon LA, taking all of the values found in the digital format and amplifying them for the Los Angeles community. Held at Rolling Greens on Mateo on Nov. 4, the convention promises to be a space to connect, educate and empower attendees who have wavy, curly, and coily hair types.
“It makes you more confident when you see more women and men rocking their natural curls,” she said. “You can talk to them about what products they use and what styling methods they do.”
CurlyCon LA will feature two stages for panel sessions, interactive activities and activations, food vendors, and plenty of photo opportunities. However, the core goal is to provide attendees with a few major educational takeaways amid the celebration.
The first stage will feature sessions with various panelists discussing self-care and hair care, including actress and model Eva Marcille, moderating a discussion with other actors about microaggressions on set. The second stage is all about live demonstrations, featuring a live big chop, a celebrity hairstylist styling contest, a master class on styling curls, and more. There also will be a special panel specifically geared for parents who want to learn how to care for their children’s natural hair.
L’Oréal, Mixed Chicks and Curlsmith, which create product lines intentionally designed for curlies and resonate with the natural hair community, are among the brands Pearl is most excited to work with for the event. Products from these and other brands will be featured in CurlyCon’s swag bags and used during live demonstrations.
Aside from the demonstrations and panels, there will be plenty of entertainment and indulgences. There will be stations for guests to make flower crowns and permanent jewelry, while food vendors will serve everything from vegan rolled ice cream to beignets. Pearl says the event will be a fun time to connect, mingle and learn while celebrating natural hair textures.
“I really want people to leave feeling empowered and confident,” Pearl said. “I really can’t wait to get these [people] in a room so they can see all of the natural curls, different textures and types, and how confident you can really be when you rock your own natural hair.”
CurlyCon LA will take place at Rolling Greens on Mateo on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Los Angeles. Tickets are available now.
Kayla Grant is a multimedia journalist with bylines in Business Insider, Shondaland, Oz Magazine, Prism, Rolling Out and more. She writes about culture, books and entertainment news. Follow her on Twitter: @TheKaylaGrant.
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