• Jajube Mandiela (Chantay)'s Natural Hair

    Posted on 09/24/2010 by Mary

    TWO WEEKS 'TIL NEW DEGRASSI!! Eeeeeee!

    Which means it's time to gear up and get in a Degrassi frame of mind. How 'bout a cast interview?

    During Degrassi: The Boiling Point this summer, I did a post about Chantay. And in the comments, people said some really nasty things about her hair -- and some positive things! But the negative things upset me, 'cause I had recently watched the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair, about the pressure African American women feel to straighten their hair, and the expensive, painful hassle they go through to do so.

    So I wanted to talk to Jajube Mandiela (who plays Chantay) about why she likes her hair just the way it is. Here's our interview:

    Jajube Mandiela, Degrassi's Chantay, keeps her hair natural OK, so, what's your personal hair history?

    Basically, since I was 4, my mom started dreadlocking my hair. So my hair has been in dreadlocks 'til last December [2009]. It was pretty long; in all previous seasons that I was in Degrassi, those were dreadlocks, those were all my real hair. 'Cause some people think those were extensions but that's all me!

    And then I had it for so long, I was like, 'wait, if I don't ever change... if I don't do it now, while I'm still young, if I wait 'til I'm older I might be too scared to change!' I was curious what my hair was like un-dreadlocked, so I decided to cut it. And I cut it myself! One by one, which was awkward, but fun! And then I was left with all of my natural hair, very short. And since then, I'm just growing it out to see what that's like to do!

    ...More than anything, I love the lower maintenance of this hair. Because the dreadlocks are awesome, but I would be kind of finicky and I always wanted them to look really good, so I would put a lot of maintenance into them and be like "oh, I'm so tired now!"

    That's awesome that your mom dreaded your hair from a really young age... so you never had pressure to relax it?

    Yeah, I actually don't know what that would be like! I think I would probably freak out like, "What are you doing? Why is this happening?"

    Because my understanding is that it's a painful and expensive process, but that women go through it because it's just the norm -- in America especially.

    Yeah... because a lot of people feel like when they have natural hair, that they look weird. Since it's not part of the beauty aesthetic of North America, it just makes them stick out. And I think a lot of people don't like to stick out, they like to just blend in.

    [My friends who do relax their hair], they're like "it's a hassle..." but then still, they're afraid to NOT do it. It's like their comfort.

    Which then becomes a cycle, because people aren't used to seeing unprocessed hair... so then it becomes 'not the norm.'

    Exactly. Which makes me so sad! Because actually, when I was considering cutting my hair, I was spending a lot of time watching TV and looking at different ads, because I need to know as an actor what I can do with my hair. And I wanted to see if anyone already has natural hair -- especially short hair. And I was so disappointed! Not only actors but like singers, dancers, everyone processes their hair -- even if it was short it was still processed.

    I even went even more in depth because at first I was only watching people of African descent's hair. But then I started watching everybody and I was like 'Oh my God, even Caucasian girls -- if they have curly hair, it's straightened.' Like Nina Dobrev, her hair is so curly and so beautiful, but it's constantly straightened on Vampire Diaries. I realized just in general, curly hair is straightened on everyone.

    It really disappointed me that all media were promoting to get rid of your curl, and if you did have a curl for it to be super, super controlled.

    Have you ever gotten any pushback from agents or casting people -- has anyone encouraged you to do anything different with it?

    No, not really. I've been really lucky and people just haven't commented.

    I haven't seen any Internet comments because I try to refrain -- I think I'd go crazy. I would have expected more bad comments [back when I had] the dreadlocks, because I know people have negative associations with it.

    I think some of the comments were just coming from people who don't understand African hair. They were just saying things like "why doesn't her hair look like Beyoncé's?" and stuff like that.

    No way! That's so funny... that makes me totally happy that I can help the dialogue start, for them to realize that it's because this is my hair, and that's her fake hair -- that she loves! But that it's not real hair. That makes me really happy that I'm able to challenge people's perception of what black people's hair is, and for them to actually even realize... this happened actually with a friend of mine a few months ago. I was talking to her about my hair and she realized, 'so you mean black people, they can never have straight hair naturally?' And I was like 'No!' And I realized so many people don't know that it's always processed when it's straight, unless they're mixed with other backgrounds, obviously.

    And so I love that I can make awareness about that -- that yes, this is how most black people's hair looks. It's all different [from person to person], the textures. But it's not dead straight.

  • The next Degrassi Season Pass is available now!

    Posted on 09/21/2010 by Mary

    You can get your iTunes Season Pass for the upcoming season of Degrassi now, if you are the kind of person who is super on top of their game and finishes papers before they're even due and stuff like that.

    More importantly, there's also a sneak peek there to check out. Click on this guy right here to check it all out.

  • Transgender teen is denied his Homecoming King title

    Posted on 09/20/2010 by Mary

    Oak Reed is a high school senior in Mona Shores, Michigan. He's transgender -- like Adam from Degrassi, he was born biologically female.

    But his classmates accept that he's a guy; in fact, he's even popular enough to have won Homecoming King at his school -- in a landslide. Think about how awesome that is, that the students at his school accept him and showed their overwhelming support for him. It warms my heart; I'm actually a little choked up just typing this.

    But... here comes the bad news. The school administration invalidated his election because he is enrolled, on paper, as a female. Here's a news story about it; it says the school had been accommodating him as a male student in multiple ways -- letting him wear the male band uniform, the male graduation cap and gown. Teachers called him Oak and used male pronouns for him.

    But when he posted a "vote for me for homecoming king" message on facebook, and the senior class went ahead and did so, the administration stepped in to invalidate their votes.

    As Oak points out, it's not just him that they've disenfranchised. "It's the senior class that votes for their representative. What they did was taking away the voice of the senior class," he says.

    Now there's a support page for him on facebook called "Oak Is My King," and students are planning to wear "Oak Is My King" T-shirts on October 1. Sadly, it's too late to get him his title back -- the homecoming dance already happened. But at least the support will mean something to him.

  • What's your favorite jeans wash?

    Posted on 09/20/2010 by Mary

    What's your favorite wash of jeans?

    And how particular are you about it? (I, for one, hate jeans shopping because I'm sort of a spaz about getting the exact shade I want, without any of that buffed out contouring thing they do... just a personal preference. And then, having to find the right fit on top of that... life is really hard.)


    Do you prefer (top left to bottom right)... (Click for a purchase link...) Dark wash, Faded and distressed, Light wash, Acid wash, Gray wash, or Black wash?

     

    This post sponsored by Macy's Style Lab

  • Weird Dreams about the Wrong Person

    Posted on 09/15/2010 by Mary

    Fez dreams about sexy Nurse Kelso Have you ever had a dream about someone that you did NOT want to have that dream about? Like a make-out dream about someone you HATE, or your ex, or... Kelso? Well, ok, I guess there's a good chunk of the population that would not mind dreaming about Kelso. (But Fez is not in that chunk, according to last night's ep where he dreamed that Kelso was his sexy nurse).

    It actually reminded me of an advice question Ray "Sav" Ablack answered a while ago... over here. He said basically the same thing Kitty on That '70s Show said... scientifically speaking: dreams are weird, and kind of random, and who knows what they mean.

    You could have a make-out dream about your friend because you saw them that day and ate too many egg rolls off the floor (Fez!)... or because you're totally in love with them. But, it's probably easier to tell that you're in love with someone because you're like... in love with them. That's usually the tip-off.

    Ever have a dream like that about someone you weren't into like that?

  • Back to school clothes: the importance of 'comfy'

    Posted on 09/10/2010 by Mary

    We asked to see your back to school outfits... here's a couple!

    ParTimeLvr says: "u cant see my whole outfit... but i wore a blue tank top, a blue striped knee length sweater and ripped jeans."

    Yeah, that's what I'm talking about... those drapey long sweaters. Something about those looks so snuggly... like wearing a security blanket. But a clean security blanket, without holes, that's actually cute.

    And check out Hello Deary's adorable skirt... "I picked it because it's super colorful, comfy, & cuteeee. Once I saw it, I was in love. lol, jk. But I lovedddd the skirt!"

    Cute but comfy seems to be a theme with school gear, dunnit? 'Cause who wants a tight waistband digging into your guts after lunch, I guess. And waking up early is bad enough as it is.

    What's your personal strategy for managing the task of staying comfy but still looking cute? Do you have a favorite item of clothing that's comfy without being pajamas-y?

    This post sponsored by Macy's Style Lab

  • Show Us Your Back to School Outfits!

    Posted on 09/07/2010 by Mary

    What did you wear the first day back? (Or what are you planning to wear? If you're one of those lucky ducks still sitting on the last few days of a summer vacation.)

    Post a pic on your profile, and let me know it's there by posting in the comments with a little info about why and how you decided on that outfit. I'll put a few selections in the blog and maybe we can all marvel at your fashion genius!

    This post sponsored by Macy's Style Lab

  • Heels in high school?

    Posted on 08/30/2010 by Mary

    If you watch enough TV you'd think everyone wears four-inch heels to school... but the realities of getting from class to class mean they're much rarer in real life. Some girls like the height and look of them; and some girls aren't even allowed to wear them to school.

    Are you a heel-in-high school person, or do you save them for special occasions? Which, if any, of these heels would you (or could you) consider wearing to school?

    Va-va-vampy heels

    Straight up high heels are only for the brave and dedicated. The cushiony wedge on these (A) leopard print espadrilles might make them kinder on your feet if you have a lot of walking to do. And the (B) cobalt blue patent pumps would definitely get you noticed. Would you feel self-conscious in either of these? Confident? Comfortable? Would you save them for the day you're asking your crush out, or just bust 'em out any ol' day?

    Boot-heels

    Since a boot lends more stability, a lot of people who feel awkward walking in pumps find them more manageable. Could you see yourself strutting the hallways in these (C) suede military booties? Or too much? And these (D) cowgirlish boots offer the same height-enhancement as many of the higher heels featured here, but don't seem so... high-heely. Think you could you swing 'em?

    Easy heels

    These gentler heels offer a little height, and less of a threat to your ankles -- and possibly your school's dress code. The wedginess of them also makes walking in them slightly less harsh on your constitution. Would anyone look at you cross-eyed for rocking these (E) mod, silvery slingbacks or (F) gladiator wedges?

    This post sponsored by Macy's Style Lab

  • Dude. Simpson is PISSED.

    Posted on 08/27/2010 by Mary

    You can watch the scene where Simpson loses all faith in Degrassi students again here.

    Combined with the preview of what's coming this fall... um, eek? Do you think if Simpson cracks the whip, it will have any effect on what happens at Degrassi?

    I don't know about you, but I can't WAIT for fall.

  • Thursday Night: The Boiling Point

    Posted on 08/26/2010 by Mary

    Mr. Simpson said he trusts Sav and Holly J to make sure the Night in Vegas dance is 100% problem-free. What could possibly go wrong?

    If the look on Mrs. Torres' face is any indication... pretty much everything.

    Because after tomorrow night... Degrassi will never be the same again.