Montreal Hairstylist Nancy Falaise Runs Workshops for Younger Black Women


{Photograph} courtesy of Nancy Falaise. Design by Danielle Campbell.

Welcome to Texture Speak, a column that celebrates and deep dives into the dynamic world of curly hair, from crowns of curls which might be free flowing to strands which might be tucked away in a protecting fashion.

Meet Nancy Falaise, a go-to pure hair specialist primarily based in Montreal. Earlier than the pandemic, Nancy would shut her self-titled salon one Sunday each month and lead workshops for younger native Black women struggling to embrace their respective hair textures, a passion-filled aspect mission she began three years in the past. Throughout every gathering, the professional teaches her younger attendees the curly hair fundamentals: washing, conditioning, detangling and styling.

Sooner or later, one in every of Nancy’s shoppers caught wind of her workshops, and satisfied the veteran stylist to make a documentary, which CBC Docs ended up financing. Titled Nancy’s Workshop, the documentary launched on-line final fall and ended up making it to Scorching Docs Movie Competition’s listing of prime 5 quick movies this yr. Right here, Nancy shares extra about her ardour mission.

On beginning her workshops:

“They began on a fluke. I saved getting these younger women in that had been having a tough time. They might are available in simply hating their hair and their mothers didn’t know what to do with it both. I’d find yourself sitting them in my chair, taking my time with them, and explaining what to do. Lastly I stated to myself, ‘You realize what? I ought to do workshops. I ought to get a bunch of ladies and train them.’ I did one only for the enjoyable of it and it was so successful. Then I did two then three and, now, each time I do one, it sells out inside 5 minutes. I don’t take too many ladies, simply 5 – 6 women at a time as a result of I wish to give them my time. Sure, I make cash doing this, however it’s not nearly cash. I’d reasonably have much less women and train all of them correctly. I’m hoping to do one workshop each week of November to meet up with the Covid closures.”

On the workshops themselves:

“In the course of the workshops, I ensure that the ladies assist one another out. They assume that they’re ‘simply serving to’ however, actually, they’re studying about any individual else’s texture.”

Photograph courtesy of Nancy Falaise

On extending her workshops to grown ladies:

“I additionally do workshops for girls, and people are at all times full as a result of quite a lot of Black ladies don’t know what to do with their hair after they return to pure. They’ve been so used to enjoyable their hair.”

On the frequent hair narratives she sees and hears stroll by way of her doorways: 

“Numerous the younger women that come and see me are biracial; their mothers are normally white and have lengthy, flowing, straight hair. And quite a lot of instances these mothers don’t know what to do. She’s the most effective mother on the earth and she or he has the most effective intentions, however she doesn’t know her [daughter’s] texture. Then you definitely even have Black mothers which have straightened their very own hair their entire life, so in addition they don’t actually know what to do in addition to braiding their daughters’ hair. And after they attain highschool, [these girls] usually don’t need that look anymore. Plus, they don’t need mother washing their hair both. They wish to do it themselves.”

On the transformations (out and in) that she sees within the younger women:

“More often than not after they stroll in, they’re very shy and don’t discuss. They’re not comfortable to be on the salon as a result of they assume it’s going to harm and so they already don’t like their hair. They assume that it’s ugly and that it doesn’t matter what I’m going to do, that their hair goes to return out frizzy. Numerous teen women that are available in with curly hair all have the identical coiffure: one massive mess that they simply hold placing up and placing up and including water and including water. Finally their hair begins to knot and lock into one massive poof on prime of their head, which may take me hours simply to detangle.

Photograph courtesy of Nancy Falaise

By the point they depart, they’ve a smile on their face and are unanimously like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t imagine my hair might try this!’ It’s like they fall in love along with her hair and in the end they fall in love with themselves as a result of it. They’ve damaged out of their shells. And the most important variations I see are after they come again: Their hair just isn’t tremendous knotted and never filled with stuff. They arrive again repeatedly to get haircuts. I at all times reward them and the mothers will say, ‘Yeah, she’s been caring for it by herself!’

Now when these women stroll in, they don’t stroll in all shy. They stroll in assured and are comfortable to speak to me about what they will do on their very own with their hair. They’re carrying their hair out and freely. They’re twisting it. They’re doing curl definition. They’re braiding one aspect. They’re having enjoyable with their hair.”

Photograph courtesy of Nancy Falaise

On making the documentary:

“After I instructed one in every of my shoppers what I used to be doing, she stated, ‘Oh my God! We should always make a documentary about this.’ When she stated that to me, I used to be like, ‘Yeah, proper. Who’s going to finance a bunch of Black women doing their hair?’ That was my thought. However I instructed her that if she might make it occur, then okay. CBC ended up giving the cash for it!”

Watch the complete Nancy’s Workshop documentary right here, and when you missed final week’s Texture Speak column, click on right here.


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