Our featured influencer this month is Kaya Marriott, a Vancouver-based natural hair and lifestyle blogger who recently worked with Pinterest to launch a first-of-its-kind search tool called Hair Pattern, which empowers Pinners to search for hair inspiration across six different hair patterns: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight and shaved/bald. Read all about Kaya below, and watch for more fabulous influencer insights in the coming months! —Vita Daily
Hi Kaya! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Born and raised in Vancouver, I am the natural hair and lifestyle blogger behind Comfy Girl with Curls. I have a deep love for storytelling and community, which are the two things I return to whenever I feel lost in the content creation space.
How do you use your platform to impact those who follow you?
I’ve always hoped that in sharing my experiences online I might encourage someone to be comfortable in who they are; to trust in their abilities; to pursue something new. When I started my blog in 2016, I shared my natural hair journey in hopes that my tips and tricks might help someone else out. Now that my platform has expanded to more niches, that core goal remains the same. I just want to help others and see them succeed. Whether that’s in trying a new hairstyle, figuring out a routine that works for them, or learning how to create content themselves.
Describe your hair journey.
In a sense, my hair journey has come full circle. When I was young and naïve to beauty standards, my hair was big and free. But as a teen, I started getting self-conscious. While my mom worked hard to convince me my hair was beautiful, I still internalized the idea that it was unruly, unprofessional, undesirable. And so because I couldn’t get my hair to look like that of my peers or women in media, we began flat ironing it to make it more “manageable”. In Grade 12 I got my first-ever relaxer (meaning that I permanently straightened my hair with harsh chemicals). But when I couldn’t afford to maintain relaxed hair in Vancouver, I started transitioning back to my natural texture by letting it grow out. It was a frustrating stage because I had never learned to properly care for my hair. But thanks to Pinterest, I not only found resources to help me, but tons of inspiration that motivated me to keep going. Today, I feel I’ve returned to childhood-me. I accept and love my hair as an extension of myself. I’m unafraid to wear it big and free, and I don’t tie my self-worth to how it looks.
How does Pinterest’s new Hair Pattern search tool work, who’s it for and in what ways it is a game changer?
Pinterest has launched hair pattern search, which is a first-of-its-kind search tool, created with BIPOC in mind. The feature works by empowering Pinners to search for hair inspiration across six different hair patterns: protective, straight, wavy, curly, coily and bald/shaved. Once a Pinner selects the hair pattern they want inspiration for, they’ll be served content that’s most relevant to their style preference. You can try this out with search terms like “glam hair,” “summer hairstyles,” “wedding updos”—really anything! For me, this new search tool is a game changer because it marks a major step forward for inclusivity in tech. It’s how millions of people, including myself, can find hair inspiration that matches what they’re looking for without needing to add in extra qualifiers like “Black hair” or “natural hair”.
In working with Pinterest, what sort of feedback/input did you provide?
I worked with Pinterest to develop content for the hair pattern search feature to ensure there was content represented across all search terms. I created multiple Idea Pins to demonstrate hairstyles for natural hair, including this, this and this.
Personally, what sort of inspo (hair and otherwise) do you gain from Pinterest in the regular?
I turn to Pinterest for everything—whether it’s motivational, inspirational, or practical. Hair-wise, I’ve been using the platform to find more out-of-the-box hairstyles; my latest obsession is bejewelled hair accessories. I also use Pinterest regularly for posing guidance because for someone who’s in front of the camera a lot … I never know what to do with my hands.
How are you styling your hair today?!
Today, my hair is styled in what I think has become my signature look: a two-strand twist out. It’s the first style I mastered when I went natural, and it’s been my go-to ever since.
Follow Kaya online, on Pinterest and on Instagram. Head shot by Anita Lee.