Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Getting Down To Frizzness: Ms. Vaughn & Meechy Monroe!

Their energy is infectious. Tips on everything from make-up to fashion (and of course - FABULOUS hair) can be found on their channels. Thousands of subbies tune in just to see what they're up to next! They are the incredible Monroe sisters (Ms. Vaughn/Meechy) & they are naturally glamorous!

It is so awesome to sit down with two of

You Tubes most darling naturals: The Monroe Sisters! (I’ve been inspired in my own journey through both of these stunning beauties!) Following you has been so inspirational; how was it growing up in such a close knit family?

First of all thank you so much for the kind words. We are happy that we could inspire you in your journey!

MsVaughn- Growing up in a close knit family definitely has its perks but also lots of drama! I think the drama is what has made our lives so interesting and fulfilling though. Between my sisters and I, we’ve always been very close having attended the same schools and even the same University! Even in adulthood, we all live in neighborhoods that are within a few miles of each other. Over the years we’ve simply grown closer and happen to actually enjoy each other. Our parents have helped to develop our relationships because they act as authoritative mediators in our lives which I think is a key factor in ensuring a wholesome sibling relationship.
MeechyMonroe- Awesome! LOL, there is always something to get into and people to share good times with…never a dull moment let me tell you. But at the end of the day when the world may seem a bit cold you’re comforted by the fact that you know there will always be someone there when you need them.

Ok seriously, it seems like we woke up one day & both of you had blown up on You Tube! Because of your approachable (transparent) personalities coupled with an incredible sense of style, hair & make-up, viewers/fans can’t get enough! What has the journey been like?

MsVaughn- It’s crazy because Meechy and I never intended to be so popular. Ever. We literally started our channels to give hair advice to our friends from college who had connected with us via Facebook. We had no idea that there were actually so many more curious women out there who would even care to know about our opinions and perspectives on beauty and hair. The whole time we were simply feeding off the energy that was being given to us. Every time someone would request another tutorial, we were right there to deliver. We are continually grateful for all the love and support.
MeechyMonroe- It’s been an amazing experience for us so far! One day you tape a video to simply assist a few women in their Natural Hair Journey with tips and information and the next you’re listed as an inspiration to so many. I’m blessed to be able to have a platform that so many women are interested in tuning in to.

Name a talent or gift you have outside of hair:

MsVaughn – Most people don’t know that although I’m seen as this Fashionista who puts so much effort into her look, I’m actually more of a “Tom-Boy” most of the time who likes to do push-ups, cook and go camping in my sweat shirt and stretch pants. Writing is one of my favorite pastimes. I actually have a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and have written many short stories.
MeechyMonroe – While in college I was heavily involved with a Modeling Organization that developed my love for fashion and being creative while putting together outfits. I would want a certain look for a particular scene in a show but I wasn’t always able to find it in any of the local stores. At that point I taught myself how to use a sewing machine and began to create pieces and outfits from fabric without using any patterns. It’s been a love of mine since childhood when I would sew by hand, I’ve just gotten better with time.

How long have you been rocking your frizzness? Who was the first to dive into the curly clouds?

MeechyMonroe - I’ve been natural for a little over 2 years now and loving every second.
MsVaughn- I’ve been about 3 years post relaxer but about 18 years pre relaxer. Many do not know that my sister and I were both natural for most of our lives having only gotten perms in High School in preparation for senior prom. I was the first one of my sisters to revert back to my natural hair and it just created this sort of bandwagon-effect which caused the rest of them to begin to look at their hair from a different perspective. Meechy was the first one to discover the YouTube Natural Hair Community which she then introduced to me.

Did you desire a second date following your BC/End of transition, or did you make reservations for a party of ONE?

MeechyMonroe - I big chopped about 3 months into my transition where I vowed I would take off as much as necessary and start my natural Hair Journey off without any permed ends. The following week I found myself snipping at my hair to be sure everything was taken off. I was so tired of those stringy pieces of hair.
MsVaughn- I knew the moment I big-chopped my hair that I would never see another perm again in life. I know this sounds unbelievably decisive, but that’s just how I am. I knew that I would never want permanently straight hair again and this is because my reasons for going natural in the first place were so deeply rooted in the realization that I just wanted to have the “look” that I was intended to have. Besides, I knew that I could always straighten it temporarily if I really ever wanted to try straight hair again.

Natural Hair doesn't define who you are BUT.....

MeechyMonroe – It is a huge part of my life and displays a realm of confidence and self-acceptance everywhere I go. Since becoming Natural I have opened my eyes to so many things and certainly have become conscious on numerous levels.
MsVaughn – Natural Hair is a direct reflection of my level of understanding and content with who I am. People don’t realize that the way you treat your body in terms of the foods you eat, the decisions you make and the stuff that you put in your head (both metaphorically and literally), directly affects your mood, confidence and even your outlook on life. For all the Naturals out there, it’s more than just hair; we have to focus on creating a new generation of future adults who LOVE what they look like, overall. It truly makes a difference.

You are down to the last $20 of your splurging budget. Is it going to tease the product junkie in you, or do you find another glam outfit/shoes to rock?

MeechyMonroe – Normally I keep my staple products down to a minimum and I “try” to stick with what I know works. Okay, I can be a bit of a product junkie. LOL. But if I was down to my last $20 I would certainly head to my neighborhood Goodwill and grab a few key pieces to add to my clothing arsenal instead of adding to my constantly growing collection of hair products. I’m more of a bargain junkie than I am a product junkie.
MsVaughn- I’m so far from being a product junkie! I have my staple products and I rarely stray away unless there is an overwhelming reason to do so. I would use that money to get a manicure.

You don’t have a particular style….you just seem to own IT. How would you describe your styles?

MsVaughn – My style is best described as Funky. It probably has more to do with my personality than anything because whatever I wear has to make me feel like a unique individual. Sometimes I make totally unpredictable styles work to fit my personality and I often wear things that I’ve never been known to wear before... like a skirt, or a lacey, ruffly dress. There are times where I have literally sought out looks for the sole purpose of helping me accomplish the goal of satisfying my “funk-appetite” lol.
MeechyMonroe - My personal style can be described as Vintage Comfy Chic…if that makes any sense. I love pieces inspired by the past that are billowy yet tapered, textured yet sleek, and traditional yet funky. Every now and then you’ll see me step away from my norm but this pretty much describes me in a nutshell.

Because natural manes are so unpredictable, how do you combat feeling defeated on days when your crown seems less than stellar (based your OWN criteria)?

MeechyMonroe – In my mind I never have a bad hair day because I understand my hair and am very accepting of it in all stages. I style it based on the condition that it’s in or the amount of effort I am willing to put out. When all fails simply throw on your favorite lip color, a crocheted hat, and mascara and you should be good to go.
MsVaughn – There are definitely days when my hair is not “done” enough for my taste. But it’s never an issue of texture, it’s usually a deficiency somewhere involving the “state” of my hair. I always find that with the right accessories and attitude, I can literally manipulate people into thinking that whatever is going on in my head was intended! Just yesterday my hair was literally matted from front to back. I did not have time to do anything to it and it was really bad. So I separated some of the matted areas with my fingers, put on some makeup, earrings and pushed the front back with a pair of shades and got a ton of compliments.

CONFIDENCE CHECK: You both exude an air of confidence letting us know you realize (and embrace) exactly who you are. Where does it come from?

MeechyMonroe – I am bred from a family of extremely strong willed and confident women. I think that a lot of what I am today was developed from my family and those that set examples around me.
MsVaughn – My confidence comes from within. I also allow myself to receive compliments and I also give them. Humility is an extremely noble trait that our parents taught us early on. Telling another woman that her outfit, makeup, hair, etc is pretty actually makes me feel good about myself. It also helps to establish your OWN criteria of beauty. For example, the day you have on jeans should be the day that “jeans” rule the world! Why? Simply because you have them on.

Share some secrets leading to a fabulous, happy, HEALTHY mane...promise we WILL tell!

MsVaughn – Some good tips for keeping your hair gorgeous longer is to be sure to take the time each night to prep your hair for bed. Think about the definition that you will want the next day and either braid it or twist it that night before placing a satin bonnet on top! A tip for soft, shiny hair is to always moisturize your hair with water first, THEN add your moisturizer. If you’ve ever wondered why your hair looks so “dull,” this is probably why. And lastly, get yourself a good “go-to” pin up/roll-and-tuck style. This will be your best friend during the work-week when you’re having a “bad hair day” and you’ll be surprised at how glamorous your look will turn out!
MeechyMonroe – Maintain a level of moisture that will allow your hair to flourish. At the end of the day I think moisturized hair is most important and being able to realize when your hair needs it is golden. Dry brittle hair is a playing ground for breakage, frizziness, and an irritated scalp. I find that when my strands are well moisturized, elastic, and shiny I can pull off any style on any given day. Find a good moisturizing agent to use in addition to the most important ingredient of all…WATER.

What was the WORST mane mistake you’ve made along the way?

MsVaughn – Applying color!!! I’m not going to color-bash, but I’ll say this, had I not colored my hair almost immediately after big-chopping, I would have, literally, twice as much hair right now and I wouldn’t have had to struggle as much with my texture. The color made my hair indefinitely dry, brittle and weightless. Towards the final days of my color, my hair looked like hay in a barnyard. It has since been completely removed.
MeechyMonroe – Worst mane mistake? Hmmm…when I 1st realized that my hair was long enough to be pulled up I wore a puff literally every day. I was so excited that I could try a different style that I slicked and pulled my poor hair to death. If I knew then what I know now I definitely would have taken it easy on my hair sooner and opted for more options revolving around twists and loose pin ups, which I got into later.

What advice can you bless new, transitioning or frustrated kinky curly queens with?
MsVaughn – The best advice I can give for new naturals is to be patient with their “newgrowth.” It’s important to understand that this new texture, with which you are being presented, is not a bad thing; it’s simply a new thing. It’s going to take time to get to know your hair all over again. Where things may have seemed easier for new naturals when they had relaxers, the ease of handling was being compensated with damage and stunted hair growth. I encourage new naturals to attend Natural Hair Meetups, subscribe to Natural Hair YouTube channels and view daily Natural Hair blogs because the inspiration and real-life advice is priceless.
MeechyMonroe – Realize what was given to you and work it to your advantage. OWN IT! Learn your hair…listen to your hair…and love your hair. Once you are more in tune with your individual strands be patient and willing to alter your hair care techniques/styles as you hair grows and thickens.

What natural experiments put the glam in your crown? Which ones ended up filed under Campaign EPIC FAIL?

MeechyMonroe - For me as far as glam I would have to say my whipped shea butter that I use weekly and yields very defined twistout results. When my hair is twisted out it literally looks great in any style and I am happy in knowing that its stretched and tangle free. An Epic Fail for me would be experimenting with numerous gel’s to achieve the perfect curl when I rocked my TWA. I had my fair share of sticky, tacky, flaky hair before I got it right realizing that water was my best friend…oh and EcoStyler Gel.
MsVaughn- When I decided to experiment with extensions, I chose kinky ones. I remember trying to do an “updo” style with a bundle of kinky braiding hair extensions for Meechy’s birthday one year and it was a huge hit. I ended up sharing the idea on YouTube and the video went viral as many other popular vloggers attempted the style while giving credit to the originator

What's the most fabulous part of your journey to frizzness?

MeechyMonroe – To me it was being able to be comfortable in my own skin during my entire journey. I reframed from wearing extensions during this process which forced me to learn my hair at each and every length stage. I didn’t take the easier route instead I faced any insecurities head on and learned to accept change. It’s truly opened my eyes and have allowed me to come into myself.
MsVaughn – I love the fact that my confidence and style-awareness has gone up significantly. And to be honest, I’m now more conscious of my overall look and my face which has led me to dabbling more into makeup and fashion. Being natural has made me actually want to stand out amongst the crowd and to be more creative while experimenting with my look. It has taught me to embrace, and almost promote, the things that make me “different” from others. It’s been an amazing journey and I feel that I look my absolute best with natural hair. Seriously, being a woman was never this fun before! lol

Outside of your gorgeous mane, what inspires you?

MeechyMonroe – I pull inspiration from my environment and the world around me. The people, colors, textures, conversations, works of art, places I’ve been. I see beauty in everything and can even appreciate the small things. I am inspired by life itself.
MsVaughn – I’m inspired by so many different things especially fashion and makeup. Sometimes I’ll create a whole look around one color, one earring, or one unique texture. I’m a very creative person so the possibilities are endless as I’m always drawing inspiration from everything around me, especially other naturals.

You are both so free, fun & PROFESSIONAL. How is to have your own identities, yet work with your sister on all of these modeling, video projects & speaking engagements?
MsVaughn – It actually works out pretty effortlessly. Meechy and I have many of the same interests and ideas so we always seem to be on the same page. As with any duo though, we have to take specific measures when it comes to synching our schedules as well as consideration for our individual personal lives. We actually have real fun when we travel to different places to speak to ladies about accepting their hair, bodies, skin, etc. Overall, I’d much rather work with my sister on certain projects when considering facets like trust and compatibility.
MeechyMonroe – It is truly amazing. My sis and I both have our strengths and we are a perfect match building and working off each other. It’s quite natural for the two of us to collaborate as we were inseparable growing up and did almost everything as a pair. It’s quite nice to have someone you’re so close with be your motivation and vice versa. We push each other and enjoy being able to join forces on so many projects bringing in our own personal styles and individuality.

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