A: My name is Ashley Blaine Featherson. I am from the Washington DC Area and I am an actress, singer and dancer.
H: My name is Hayley Marie Norman and I’m an actress from Los Angeles, CA. I started out as case model #25 on NBC’s Deal or No Deal.
Tell us about Black and Sexy TV and the series Hello Cupid.
A: Black and Sexy TV is the premiere YouTube channel for innovative and realistic programming for people of color. I couldn’t think of a better place for ‘Hello Cupid’ to live. ‘Hello Cupid’ is a comedy about best friends and roommates who embark on an online dating experiment. The show explores friendship, finding love, and the world of online dating.
H: I love being a part of the Black&Sexy fam and am having a blast working on my webseries Hello Cupid. Hello Cupid tells the story of two best friends that conduct a social experiment in regard to light vs dark skin and how that would affect one in both modern day life and the dating world. It’s a semi-scripted series in that the writer and producers guide the storyline but all the dialogue is improvised by the actors. The improv aspect has been one of my favorite parts of the show.
What did you set out to achieve in filming a series like Hello Cupid?
A: ‘Hello Cupid’ is my baby. I am co-creator of the show with Lena Waithe, and it was always important to us that the show would be a topic of conversation. I wanted people to watch each episode and immediately run to call someone to talk about what just happened. After merging with Black and Sexy, Dennis and Numa really helped shape the story and the show into what you see now. ‘Hello Cupid’ explores identity, colorism, relationships, friendships, dating and moral decisions. It was also important that we showed two beautiful black women dealing with life in an organic and fun way; that is truly the Black and Sexy touch. I wanted ‘Hello Cupid’ to feel very current, and I feel like we have achieved that. I am proud to say that ‘Hello Cupid’ has achieved the success it has due to the excellent creative collaboration between Lena, Black&Sexy, and myself.
Do you have anything in common with your characters, Whitney and Robyn?
A: It’s funny, I think a lot of people may think that I have more in common with Whitney than I actually do. Whitney is smart, witty, sarcastic and very cerebral…she’s always in her head. I can definitely say we share those traits. Whitney is definitely more conservative than I am, but I do like a cute buttoned down shirt buttoned all the way to the top! I’m all about vintage, classy and chic. The major difference is that I like make-up and I think it’s fun. Whitney would never put on lashes!
H: Robyn is a free spirit and very carefree, as am I. I love playing her for these reasons. She’s also intuitive, silly and a good friend. I’m really just a big, silly dork at the end of the day and being able to play a character that also embodies these characteristics is refreshing to me. I get to have fun and be outspoken and I love that. We are different in the sense that Robyn, although she likes yoga and things centered on spirituality is more of a party girl than I am. You’re more likely to find me at home reading or watching a classic film on a Friday night then out at the club. I’m not sure you could say the same for Robyn.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: I have been natural for 5 1/2 years. I was a junior at Howard University and it was the TREND on campus. Everybody was “transitioning” and there were just so many beautiful women on campus with big, bouncy, amazing natural hair. I wanted to know what that was like. I was so incredibly inspired by the culture at Howard, and I really viewed it as a part of my self-exploration and being fully comfortable with who I am naturally.
H: I’ve worn my hair natural my whole life. I went through a brief phase in high school where I wore cornrows with extensions because I was obsessed with Alicia Keys but besides that, I have always been natural. It wasn’t always easy. I was teased and felt ugly, and I was really self-conscious about it. It wasn’t until I was hired on NBC’s Deal or No Deal as briefcase #25 that I started to really embrace being natural. Both NBC and the audience at home loved my hair so much that we did a few episodes about it. One of the episodes was even titled, “It’s All About the Fro”. I started receiving letters from people all over America telling me how much it affected them that I wore my hair natural on national television as they too had faced similar struggles. I remembered what it felt like not to have anyone I could look up to when I was a kid. So when I was blessed to be in a position where I could help people embrace their natural hair, I knew it was a mission I had to accept.
How would you describe your texture?
A: I would describe my texture as 4b. My hair is very very thick and naturally jet black. My hair stylist calls my hair “cotton ball hair”. After washing I have a lot of shrinkage, but my hair is always soft and very easy to get through/detangle despite the curls being so tight.
H: My strands are pretty fine and thin, which is surprising to most people!
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: The trick to my hair is “less is more”. The less I do to my hair, the better it always looks and the healthier it is. I like to maximize a style for as long as I can, so the first day (after blow-drying) I usually will wear it in a big fro/blow out. Then the next day I will do a twist out. My hair does very well with Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls, but I am always trying new products thanks to “CurlBox”. I’m getting new products monthly. I like products that aren’t water based because it minimizes shrinkage and gives me length and bounce. I love Mizani Shyne as a sheen spray. I love to wear my hair twisted out. I put it up in a band a lot so that it’s a curly fro. I typically twist my hair once a week, MAYBE twice a week if something important is happening, so when my hair is in the last days of a style my go-to is the “Marley Bun”. It is so quick and easy and my natural curl/wave pattern matches perfectly with the hair. It’s fly, elegant and definitely turns heads. I’m also a huge fan of tying my hair up in a turban. For my edges I love Crème of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges. Oh and for a nice hair refresher in the morning Oyin Handmade Hair Dew :)
H: It’s pretty simple. I section it out and apply Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner with my fingers. I always use my fingers to comb rather than a paddle brush on styling days. Once the product is evenly distributed throughout my hair, I diffuse it to get the volume that I like. I purposely pull on my hair while doing this to add length and even to add a bit of frizz. I don’t like when my curls are so perfectly defined. That tiny bit of frizz factor makes it look a bit more wild and fun, and adds to what I want most; volume!
What does wash day look like for you?
A: I wash (shampoo) my hair about once a month or when needed. This is because shampoo dries my hair out. Co-Washing is much more effective for me, and it still cleanses my hair. I think it is important to keep many essential oils in your hair, and shampooing strips your hair of that. I co-wash my hair about every 2 weeks, sometimes more depending on what product I have in my hair. Right now I’m using Pantene Pro-V Truly Natural Hair Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner and I really like it. When it is wash day, I also deep condition my hair. I recently tried Doris New York Mud Minerals Pack Treatment and loved it. After towel drying I immediately part my hair into 4 sections, secure them with a clip and detangle with a paddle brush. My hair retains a lot of moisture, but because of my crazy shrinkage I have to move swiftly. I take each section, apply BioSilk and my own personal mixture of oils (sweet almond, olive, jojoba and avocado) and blowdry.
H: I wash it every 4 to 7 days usually with Wen Cleansing Conditioner. I mix the conditioner with coconut oil and leave it on overnight, or at least for several hours. The one time I use a brush is during this process just because brushing your scalp stimulates hair growth. Then I rinse.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: A turban, marley bun, or throw it up in a band for a curly fro, and I’ll usually add a cute bow.
H: Normally I wear it completely down, but right now I am growing out a horrible haircut so I wear it in a loose top knot, a fun side-ish ponytail leaving a few strands out to frame my face, or I take a very large rubber band that has been stretched out and use that as a headband to pull it off my face and also disguise the fact that I am growing out this haircut.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: I’m still trying to figure this out. Shrinkage is a major issue for me. Right now the thing that works best for me is blowing my hair out before twisting. If I twisted from being completely wet, I wouldn’t have much length, body or bounce. I’m not a huge fan of heat, but I do it minimally and with care. I would love to learn more about how to combat this issue!
H: Always pull the hair when styling it versus patting down or scrunching. Diffusing and blow-drying changed my life because my shrinkage used to be so out of control that I wanted to wear a hat for the first two or three days after washing.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
A: I don’t have any major problem areas. Currently I’m focusing on hair growth. My hair is doing pretty well, but I’m interested in ways to increase growth and get even bigger hair! I recently heard fantastic things about Bee Mine Growth Serum. I just ordered it and I cant wait to see if it works for me.
H: I just want it to grow faster, so right now I am doing oxygen treatments, natural hair masks, and scalp massages to stimulate growth.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: Keep it moisturized and detangled and keep ends trimmed and healthy. Split ends are never good for growth. Always keep it protected, especially at night. I always sleep with a silk scarf. I’m looking for great silk pillowcases…that would make life so much easier!
H: I only use natural products and eat healthy food. Our hair is a reflection of our internal health and balance, and eating plant-based foods chock-full of nutrients will increase the quality of your hair more than any foreign substance you could apply to it. For the most part with all my beauty products I try to avoid using products on my hair, skin or body that I wouldn’t eat. Brands that aren’t natural usually coat the hair to make it feel smooth, soft and shiny but they aren’t being absorbed into the hair follicle, so the quality of your hair never actually increases. On top of that they actually strip hair of its essential nutrients. You should also try everything to see what works for you. Even if we have the same hair texture, what works for me may not work for you. I’ve taken tips from people who seemingly have the same hair texture as I do and they have not worked for me at all!
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: Over washing. (Dries my hair out) Use water-based products.
H: Don’t use products that are too cleansing, abrasive or chock-full of chemicals. Don’t use products that are too heavy or thick. A light and “milky” texture such as Kinky Curly seems to be the only way to go!
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you and catch up on what’s going on in the world of Hello Cupid?
A: AshleyBlaineFeatherson.com (Personal Website)
Facebook.com/AshleyBlaineFeatherson (Like My Facebook Page)
@AshleyBlaine (Personal Twitter)
@AshleyBlaine (Personal Instagram)