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by Carolina Contreras, www.missrizos.com
Yaritza Reyes is an incredibly intelligent and beautiful curly girl who won the Miss Dominican Republic Universe crown two years ago. Her participation in the Dominican contest was a significant one because even though most people in the DR are black, the beauty standards are very Eurocentric. Historically, the 31 contestants that represent the different provinces on the island are not a real representation of the incredible diversity that exists there. Yaritza speaks to us about being in a pageant with her natural curls.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Yaritza Reyes, I am 21 Years old and I’m from a really beautiful country of the Dominican Republic. I started singing when I was 9 and acting school when I was 13. I became a nurse, but those things that I used to do for fun, became my work and passion. Right now I am working as a model and an actress.
What motivated you to participate in Miss Dominican Republic Universe 2013?
I think that this pageant was a good platform to improve my career as an actress and model, but it could open up many doors for those curly girls who are afraid of wearing their natural hair.
Talk to us about your experience in the pageant.
It’s been a great experience. I’ve had the opportunity of meeting a lot of incredible people. We take different classes, which I love. In one of them I was able to play the guitar, something I don’t get to do often.
Let’s talk hair! Your hair is long and beautiful, have you always rocked it natural?
Yes, I’ve always had my hair natural, but let me tell you it hasn’t been easy for me. When I was growing up, everyone used to tell me that I had to straighten my hair because curly hair was ugly and older girls shouldn’t wear curly hair. Even my mother wanted to straighten my hair when I was 12 years old, but I said NO.
I love who I am, I love the way I look. If I was born with my curly hair, why should I have to change it?
What’s your favorite thing about being curly?
Being curly is great! Curly hair has a lot of personality! I feel free. I also feel different since most women in the DR relax their natural hair. My absolute favorite thing is dancing in the rain with my curly hair!
What’s your current hair routine?
What I like to do the most is mix up molasses, mayonnaise, coconut oil and olive oil the night before I wash my hair, cover it up with plastic cap, then in the morning I wash it with some hydrating products, put on some leave-in and I’m ready to go!
Share any beauty secrets that have helped you along the way.
My ultimate beauty secret is being comfortable with myself. That’s what I always tell my sister, it doesn’t matter what you are wearing or if you have makeup on or not, if you feel good about yourself and have a smile on your face, you will look great!
There are lots of women out there currently transitioning or thinking about going natural, any words of encouragement for them?
Sometimes making the decision to transition is hard, but those difficult decisions are the ones that we will later enjoy and appreciate the most. Being natural, and true to yourself is the best thing you can do, being proud of who you are, saying “this is me” will set you free!