Nicole Gyamfua Yalley

The 2021 Cantu Curl Awards winner discusses her win, as well as her career and specialities.

When did you realise you had a passion for hairdressing?

I was quite young, perhaps around 6 years old, and I just loved doing hair, I had a Barbie doll and everything. I recall during my younger years when people would ask me what I wanted to do career wise, I’d say a hairdresser, but my mum would say ‘No, you’re not doing that’, and then go on to say that it wasn’t a lucrative career path. But my passion for hair remained and during my teen years I purchased a doll training head which allowed me to start practicing hair styling in my spare time. So that’s basically how I learned to style hair – nobody taught me, I just developed my skills through practice. Eventually things evolved and I started offering to do my friends’ hair and things took off from there and my confidence grew.

Do you work professionally as a hairdresser?

I don’t work professionally as a hairdresser, no. Previously I was working for the NHS, but I am currently on maternity leave after having my son 11 months ago. I also have a two-year-old, so I am a busy mum. But hair continues to be my passion and it’s something I do on a part time basis.

What is your speciality in terms of styling?

I love doing braids and twists, I’d say anything related to natural hair styling.

What inspired you to enter the Curl Awards?

I saw a video clip on Dionne Smith’s Instagram Stories and she was basically encouraging people to enter the Cantu Curl Awards. I decided to enter, I then registered and left it at that. However, I did not realise you had to submit a video, so on the last day to enter I saw a post on the Cantu page informing us of the deadline, and also reminding us to post our videos. So, I had to quickly get my thinking cap on to come up with a concept and record my entry on the same day.

Wow, amazing story. How did you feel the moment when you were announced as the winner?

Honestly, I was very shocked, and so humbled that people voted for me and even the fact that my work was so highly regarded.

What are you most looking forward to in your role as an Ambassador for Cantu?

I’m looking forward to learning more and growing as a natural hair stylist and an ambassador for Cantu.  I just love styling natural hair and I love that people are embracing it more.  

Who would you be your ideal celebrity to make over?

Oooh, there are a few but if I had to only choose one it would be a beautiful Ghanaian actress Lydia Forson. I love her creative hairstyles and her hair is beautifully kinky.

Follow Nicole on Instagram @yaaskinkyhands

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