Crystal: How long have you been natural?
Tanya: Technically, two years. I have sorta been doing it off and on for years. This is the longest I’ve gone without a relaxer. I don’t plan to go back.
Crystal: What city/state do you currently live in? How does the weather in your city affect your hair?
Tanya: I live in Harlem, NY. It can get muggy and humid here. Since I pretty much let my hair do what it do (Lol!) I don’t sweat the humidity too much. Sometimes it does grow to other-earthly proportions, like a chia pet!! But I’m cool with it J
Crystal: How long did you wear a relaxer before going natural?
Tanya: I wore a relaxer off and on all my life! It wasn’t something I necessarily thought about doing-or not doing. Actually, it was what everybody else was doing all around me and so I just did it too. Until I stopped.
Crystal: What made you decide to go au natural, especially in an industry that favors leading ladies with long, straight, flowing locks?
Tanya: I really wanted to develop another relationship with my hair – I was sick of “dealing” with it. I wanted to enjoy my hair. Once I found out that there could actually be a method to the madness, that was my hair, I began to get excited! As far as Hollywood is concerned, there’s a lot of homogenization going on. If something is “working” then everybody tends to do it – that’s not (just) with black women and hair, it’s with all things until someone breaks out of the pack and does something different. All I can say is I never felt free or happier to be me and my hair.
Crystal: Due to the amount of wear and tear on their hair, many natural celebrities opt to wear extensions. What made you decide to wear your natural hair on this season on True Blood?
Tanya: (I) just got tired of hiding under my hair is all. The truth is, I like my hair. Always have. I just didn’t know what the heck to do with it, how to care for it. Some days I’d get lucky and have a “good” hair day and other days, not so much. I’ve got the method now where I can keep the texture/quality of my hair pretty consistent.
Crystal: Is there a stylist on the set that knows how to work with your natural hair?
Tanya: Yes! She is black and has hair just like me! Can you imagine my sigh of relief when I met her? AHHHHHHH!!!
Crystal: Do you find your natural hair to be limiting in styling options for the show?
Tanya: Well, I play a cop on the show. I don’t know how cool it would be for Kenya to rock two afro puffs…sooo. Hey, that’s actually not a bad idea. Maybe I’ll try it and see if I can get away with it. Hehe J
Crystal: What transition styles did you wear or did you do the big chop right away?
Tanya: Big chop, baby! No pus** footing around! I like to get straight to the business! I’m a bit like Kenya in that way, Lol!!
Crystal: What is your favorite product?
Tanya: Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie! I also love Carol’s Daughter’s Hair Milk. Anything that defines the curl and keeps my hair super hydrated. Moisture, moisture and more moisture.
Crystal: When away from the set, do you style your own hair or do you visit a natural hair salon?
Tanya: Nope! I do it myself.
Crystal: What hairstyle are you currently wearing?
Tanya: Wilde and free, baby!
Crystal: What advice do you have for others who are newly natural or contemplating going natural?
Tanya: JUST DO IT!
Crystal: How does it feel to have a reoccurring role on the hit HBO show True Blood?
Tanya: It’s great! I’ve done quite a few really big shows – NYPD Blue, 24 and even The Cosby Show! But True Blood is unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced before. There is no “type” of True Blood watcher. Viewers run the spectrum: old and young, black and white. It’s pretty incredible how loyal they are. We are deeply grateful for the love J
Crystal: What can fans expect to see on True Blood this season?
Tanya: This will be an important season in the history of the show. Keep watching and you’ll see what I mean…
Crystal: Tell us about your current project Butterfly Rising.
Tanya: Butterfly Rising is the story about two women (Rose Johnson and Lilah Belle) who take a road trip to meet a mythical medicine man named Lazarus of the Butterflies. It is very loosely based on the story of Mary and Martha from the bible.
Crystal: What inspired you to write and produce this film?
Tanya: I became obsessed with butterflies after the death of my brother. The movie is broken down into the four stages of the butterfly: egg, cocoon, caterpillar and butterfly. It’s symbolic of the transformation – the metamorphosis - I went (and, in some ways continue to) go through. It’s about letting go, changing and becoming your true self.
Crystal: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Tanya: I did a film called “Predisposed” (Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo and Tracey Morgan) that had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It should be in theaters this fall. Butterfly Rising will be coming to a city near you very soon! Come join us on Facebook to get all the latest haps! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Butterfly-Rising/166995178653
Crystal: Tell us where we can tune in to find you on True Blood?
Tanya: Check out True Blood Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on HBO!