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Tanaye White Tells All About Her Natural Hair Evolution

From shaving her head to loving her natural hair, it’s been a challenging process.

Tanaye White didn’t always know how to take care of her hair (you can see it in its abundance in her 2022 SI Swimsuit shoot in Barbados). In fact, the SI Swimsuit model had shaved her head at one point because she wanted to start over with her natural hair texture. “Managing your Afro-hair is such a job because not only do you have to worry more about protecting it, because this hair type tends to break very easily and get to dry very easily, but then you also have to worry about the products you use,” White explains. “You have to go through the trial and error of what types of products your hair does and does not like.”

Luckily for White, she had got hair stylist Brian Buenaventura by her side to help her prepare for her big shoot. “We’re gonna go with an Afro texture with a hidden headband,” Buenaventura says. “Usually, I use this hair style for everyday life. It’s the easy way to maintain my Afro when I don’t want to do too much to it but I also don’t really have time to do too much to it. It’s my version of what you would call a ponytail, just an Afro version,” adds White.

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Truth be told, White has found it challenging to find stylists in the modeling industry who know how to properly take care of her hair. “I realized once I started getting into the modeling industry how there is a lack of knowledge of my hair type,” she says. “There have been some times where I risked the chance of having my hair damaged by the stylist just because they weren’t really sure of how much heat to put on my hair or how to protect it for me or even how to style it.”

White’s journey from shaving her head to donning an Afro has been a long one. The importance of being a visual representation for a more natural look is not lost on her. “I had straightened my hair my entire life ever since I was a kid,” she says. “We now see girls finally walking out the house with their Afro or kinky hair or curly or even more braids and locks.” The lacking portrayal in the media led her to seek guidance from other sources about her hair. “My mom has been my lifelong hairdresser,” says White. “She has been doing hair for family members and friends. I learned how to bend my ends, how to straighten them, how to get the edges to blend in with the new growth and all that stuff. But when it came to me cutting all my hair off and embracing my natural texture, my resource was YouTube. I learned everything on YouTube.”

After Buenaventura finished styling White’s hair, she beamed saying, “Thank you, Brian. This is my final look. I love it.” Check out White’s photos from Barbados to see the final results.

You can view the 2022 photo shoot for Tanaye White here.