Redefining Beauty Series featuring Ashley Small

1. How has the natural hair movement helped redefine beauty?The timing for both the natural hair movement and the rise of social media has helped us define our own standards of beauty. In the past, we did not have access to seeing the styles of everyday women anytime, online. We now see natural hair everyday, and we've created this environment of support, encouragement and celebration. Women are able to define their own standards of beauty, and natural hair is certainly at the forefront of the conversation.

2. What do you say to the idea and trend of women bleaching their skin to become lighter?  It's surprising to me that this is still a conversation. It's unfortunate, but also important that we do our part and create positive environments at home. My mother went above and beyond to instill confidence in me from the time I was born. It wasn't until I was 18 that I told her, "It's okay mom. Thankfully, I'm proud of my skin, all of your positive affirmations throughout life have prepared me for whatever may come." She did a good job. It starts at home.

3. How does it feel to witness or experience cyber-bullying from your own race? To witness it is heartbreaking. But from witnessing it, I understand that we have to do so much more to empower each other. We're still afraid to go against the grain, take risks as it relates to beauty. That's often time what's at the root of cyber bullying, the fear of something different.