by Temitope Beesley- Beauty Editor
She’s the girl with the gorgeous fro and an Instagram profile packed full of envy inducing natural hairstyles and beauty inspiration. This week, we caught up with one of the UK’s most popular black beauty bloggers- the utterly cool Gina Knight a.k.a NaturalBelle to chat about hairspiration, entrepreneurship and the UK beauty industry.
NL: Tell us a bit about yourself.
NB: My name is Gina, I’m 32 and live with my partner and daughter in Reading Berkshire. I work in the salon industry and have done for quite some time. I started my career at Aveda which led me to a more holistic way of life.
NL: What inspired you to start blogging?
NB: I started blogging mainly because of a lack of representation for women of colour in mainstream media, and what was on offer was dated and narrow in regards to hair and beauty. So I decided to start a blog as a visual diary through my natural hair journey and transition to a natural approach to beauty.
NL: How long has the blog been going and what’s been the highlight?
NB: I’ve been blogging since 2008. Highlights have been being featured in Marie Claire and Grazia, getting a chance to write articles for Pride and Lurve Magazine and have a platform that has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people.
NL: You recently introduced a new fashion brand you’re working on on Instagram. What’s the inspiration behind Label Neutral?
NB: Label Neutral is a concept that has evolved over the years. I’ve always loved fashion and crafting and Label Neutral is a combination of the two. Label Neutral takes the unwanted and reworks it into something stylish and new, from old tees to old bras anything can have new life breathed into it. It’s Eco friendly and unique.
NL: Your journey with hair loss is very well documented on your blog. A lot of women also go through the same things but are afraid to speak about such conditions. What would your advice be to anyone going through a similar thing?
NB: Seek medical advice to pinpoint underlying issues. Take action as soon as you see thinning areas so don’t continue to braid thinning hair. You should also have patience and do what is right for you.
NL: Do you feel black women are open to sharing their experiences?
NB: In this social media led world I believe so. I’ve never encountered a lack of support from black women personally.
NL: How can we encourage cooperation and cohesiveness within the black British community?
NB: I believe this is already happening with ideas like the United Kurls collective, a collection of black owned female entrepreneurs in the UK. Also, the number of events being held year after year for black hair, beauty, fashion and craft have increased overtime.
NL: What are your thoughts on how British brands can better connect with their target customers here in the UK?
NB: I fully support British brands by buying British and sustaining our community, however one woman can not keep it afloat. Smaller brands needs to work closer together sharing information to grow the UK industry. Being seen on social media and having a good strategy when it comes to PR is key as well as being active in the community.
NL: What’s the best thing about being a mum for you?
NB: Everything, even the not so great bits like lack of sleep. Just knowing that you are raising a future queen is awesome!
NL: What book are you reading at the moment?
NB: Sweet Hope by Tille Cole. I’m a trashy novel kinda gal.
NL: What are your thoughts on events aimed at women of colour in the UK?
NB: Most are great. some such as Afro Hair & Beauty Live need to move with the times. They need to stop supporting the sale of bleaching creams at the event and making it more cost effective for smaller brands to exhibit.
NL: Favourite food?
NL: Who are your top 10 British hair and beauty brands?
NB: Sheabutter cottage
Be Unique HC
Naturally Simple HC
I Love Afro