Graciana Baptista is a 22 years old young Angolan changing perception about natural hair. It all started when Graciana decided to do a ‘Big Chop’ and to finally let her natural hair grow. She was so creative with her short hair that people started asking her how she took care of it, what was her regimen and which were the products she used.
When Graciana saw the number of people interested in her hair regimen, she noticed that the Angolan market did not have enough information about taking care of our natural hair and its related products. She decided to start posting video’s on YouTube to spread her knowledge. Instead of explaining the same thing to different people , she just showed the video’s to them. This was more practical, people understood better what to do and this is how the vlogger was born.
In less than 8 months after she started posting these video’s, it was not only her friends, family and classmates that started commenting on the video’s and asking questions, but also people from other Angolan cities and even from other continents. From there on Graciana started to post more frequently and she understood that the more video’s she posted, the more subscribers she had.
“At first it was difficult because a lot of people did not accept natural hair. They also did not take my job seriously, they see it as something temporary, a hobby that will only last for a while. Although this started as a hobby, it definately turned into a serious job and I am planning on making it a career. Internet is also very expensive in Angola and therefore we have only a few national subscribers”, says Graciana. She noticed her success when the subscribers just kept increasing, this and the positive feedback from people all over the world, made her believe in what she was doing and gave her strength to continue.
According to Graciana there were only a few African lusofone vloggers in the beginning, this is also one of the reasons why she watched Brazilian and Afro-American vloggers, she only started to watch and to get to know more African vloggers later on, but now the amount of African lusofone vloggers is also slowly increasing.
“I think it is wonderful that wearing our natural hair is becoming more and more popular, textured hair is a part of our identity, our culture and it is what makes us so ‘unique’. I do not believe in ‘Beauty Standards’. I believe that we are all beautiful in our own way and from the moment that one more black woman understands this, to me progress is being made” says Graciana .She definitely considers herself an entrepreneur since she took a risk, a great challenge, she really invested in it and now she is reaping the benefits of it.
Right now Graciana has more than 500 subscribers, 5 years from now she would like to have over 100.000 subscribers. She believes it is a challenge but with determination and hard work she will be able to realize her dream. She also would like to become a true expert and wants to take an intensive course about “hair”, right now she will take workshops, etc to increase her knowledge about “natural hair”. She also has a “special project” for the future, they are still working on the project, so they will announce it when the project will be ready.
Watch one of her video’s below:
Graciana is in her second year of Business Administration. She recently gave a speech in a conference about the importance of girls finishing high school at IFAL in Angola. Graciana thinks it is very important to empower girls and women all over the world, she says that every woman has to be able to feel beautiful in our society inside and out and be able to identify her dreams and realize them no matter what standards the society imposes on us. In the future we can expect more quality of the image and the content of her video’s and more interaction with the public.
Written by Maria Pedro Miala
Maria Pedro Miala is a Mother, UN Womens’s Empower Women 2016-2017 Champion for Change / Women in Tech Africa Global Champion for 2017. She is a Changemaker, a Volunteer, a Mentor to African Students and has over 10 years of experience as a Nurse in Health Care.