Q+A: Patrice // marketing manager

photo credit: The Everygirl

i've always been fascinated by the stories behind women and their style, so when i met the gorgeous and accomplished Patrice for coffee, i knew i wanted to share our conversation. here's to celebrating smart and stylish women, and beauty on our own terms.

read on for the interview!

1. hello! please introduce yourself to LAM readers.

Hi! My name is Patrice Batson. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY but I'm the epitome of a suburb girl. Whenever I go to visit my parents in New Jersey my favorite thing to do is get in the car and drive to the mall. I work at ELLE magazine as a marketing manager, and in my spare time I consult for small brands.

2. i love your style, and your beautiful hair was the first thing i noticed when we met! tell me the story behind it.

"I've always been a very 'by the book' girl. My goal during that time was to just fade into the background and not bring too much attention to myself. My long straight hair helped me achieve that. I usually wore my longer hair in a ponytail or straightened."

To achieve my straight hair, I had to use a chemical process called relaxing and it what it does is stretch your natural curl pattern so your hair is straight without any texture to it. I relaxed my hair about 6-8 times a year for 20 years. Can you imagine what has seeped into my brain from the relaxer during that long time frame?! I try not to even think about it.

"Cutting my hair was major for me. I'm a Pinterest addict and I kept seeing all of these beautiful black women with natural hair on there that I admired. I thought I didn't have the guts to do that though. I brought the topic of natural hair up to my fiancé, Kalvin (now husband!) and he was so excited. In fact, he was the person that pushed me to get my hair cut and supported me through the whole process."

3. were you nervous? how did you feel right after your haircut?

I was terrified! I've never done something so drastic. I always had my hair to hide behind and then it was nothing but my face. When I was having an ugly day and longed for a ponytail, I had to keep my head high and rock my short 'do. I definitely grew a pair of balls and some much needed confidence overnight.

4. what is your morning hair routine now?

I have color in my hair which is something I never experimented with before, so every week I have to deep condition it. My daily routine is wet my hair in the shower every morning, add a little conditioner, do the wet dog (shake my hair upside down soaking wet) and then I'm out the door!

"The haircut has changed my life. Hair care for me has never been easier. I noticed that the more I leave my hair alone, the better it looks. The curls have a mind of their own."

5. how did people react to your haircut? did it change how you see yourself?

"The reaction I received after the cut was extremely varied. My mother and father-in-law hated it. They actually both made me cry about it. After that, I said no one would ever make me cry about my appearance again. I gave them the power to do that and I hated that feeling. This sort of spilled into other parts of my life as well. In the past, I would keep quiet but now when I don't like something or the way I'm being treated, I stand up for myself. You can say I've been a little drunk on confidence since the cut!"

Luckily, everyone else's reaction was much more positive and supportive. Many of my friends tell me they can't even imagine me with long straight hair anymore. I think I was born for short, curly hair and I'm so happy I finally embraced it.


P.S.: for more on the cultural politics of straightening vs. natural hair, check out Chris Rock's insightful documentary, Good Hair.

do you have short hair / have you ever gotten a dramatically different haircut? what was your experience?


  1. I loved ready this post. It's always inspiring to read about a woman that comes into her own for some reason and just gain so much confidence.
    I'm in the process of growing out my relaxer and going the natural route. It's only been 7 months for me and I'm getting to the point where I really have to manage the two different textures I have going on but like Patrice, I see pictures of women with beautiful natural hair and I want to be one of them.
    I've never had short hair and part of the reason I don't want to cut mine off completely and start from the beginning is because I get lazy about seeing my stylist for upkeep and I know short hair would require more of that from me but reading this put a smile on my face and has me reconsidering.

    1. i'm so glad you enjoyed this interview :) these personal stories are so worth sharing and celebrating!

  2. What a beautiful woman! She's obviously creative and stylish, so I would love to know more about Patrice, above and beyond her hair (which is of course very interesting!). Will you be doing a follow up piece about her that delves into her style influences, favorite places to shop, eat, etc?

    1. definitely a possibilty! :) stay tuned in this space.

  3. Patrice is following a trend. Straightening your hair is not dangerous. Now she colors her hair--it is still a.chemical process. So if she stopped straightening it for health reasons, why is she now coloring it?

    She is just following a trend among Black women! It's ok, we don't have to lie because we want to fit in with everyone else!

    1. it's a known fact that putting undue heat on your hair damages it. also, relaxers are made with chemicals and lye that burn the scalp. so, real talk--there are risks of damage to your scalp and hair in the process of doing both. does it really matter if it's a trend among black women, if it makes people feel good doing it? it's so rare that trends actually ignite confidence in people. so if this one does, isn't that something to be celebrated? i wish there were more trends that celebrate people loving who they are how they are, just because they were born that way.

    2. @ Segolene - have you seen the 'Good Hair' documentary? there are a slew of issues raised in there about race / beauty / cultural politics and how relaxing / straightening hair ties into all of that. not to mention rather disturbing details about the chemicals and side effects of the relaxer. it's a very complex topic and goes way beyond just 'trends'.

  4. patrice is so beautiful and stylish! i love seeing her posts on my instagram feed. i've never had relaxed hair, so i cannot attest to the journey of "going natural" but i love black hair in all of its natural formations--curly, kinky, wavy, wild, and even straight (some people just have naturally straight hair). and for me, having really big, curly hair gives me a sense of freedom. i think it's cool to see another woman come into that feeling of confidence.

    this interview did leave me wanting more, though! i love all of the stripes and the "rare" shirt, the polka dotted bow, and of course, the print in the first photo. more Q+A with patrice, please, if possible!

    1. thanks for weighing in, Jade - i think the mainstream beauty / fashion industry so often sustains itself by instilling in women a sense of lack / not good enough. it's high time we embrace our beauty and confidence and diversity!

      stay tuned for possibly more with Patrice on LAM :)

  5. Great feature Miss Sophie! Patrice: Thanks for sharing your hair journey !

    As an Afro Caribbean French woman, having lived in Africa and France, I've experienced the same sense of blending in with my long chemically straight hair. I went through 2 big chops, one in my late teens didn't last: going to college (i.e. peer pressure), lack of information/products at the time for natural haircare made me cave in about a year later. Second big chop was 4-5 years ago, in my early thirties, and I discovered that I love my natural hair.

    I have bad hair days like everyone and having relaxed hair was so much more easier on the social level: no questions asked (sometimes by complete strangers!), no weird glances or worse: attempts to touch my hair (again by complete strangers!!). On the other hand, I attract the kind of people who appreciate my kinky curly hair and certainly the confidence that came with it!

  6. Love your hair Patrice!

    As a black woman, I've worn my hair in a variety of styles. From natural to braids to long and relaxed to my hair style now which is a short pixie. Like Aissa said, when a black women wears her hair in its natural state complete strangers have something to say or they want to pet your hair. And then there's having to deal with schools or employers who feel as if black women's natural hair isn't "professional" and/or a distraction remember Venus and Serena Williams with their braided hair with beads on the end?

    I saw Chris Rock's Good Hair documentary a few years ago and my first thought was why Chris didnt seem to think his daughter wished for "good hair" because of her mom's hair who wears a weave. Most little girls want to emulate their mothers. Even tho I liked his documentary there was a lot that he got wrong and he should have delved deeper into the history of WHY relaxers, why weaves and also, black women aren't the only women who wear weaves.

  7. Patrice OWNS that cut! I'm very jealous of women that can use chic accessories in their hair...it just never works for me. Must be that confidence thing she talked about. ;-)


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