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FEATURES May 21 2012 12:13AM
Courtesy of Aevin

Q&A with Aevin Dugas—World’s Largest Afro

by Sharlyn Pierre, sharlynpierre.wordpress.com

Normally when you think of the Guinness World Records, hair isn't the first category that comes to mind- did you know there is a record for the most t-shirts ever worn? Well, Aevin Dugas would have some difficulty fitting into 155 of them, because she is: the woman with the world's largest afro. 

TM: When did you start wearing your hair natural?
AD: I started wearing my hair, ooh, it’ll be 13 years in May but that’s when I actually cut it. I was doing all these different styles, but when I felt comfortable, that’s when I did the big chop.
TM: Wow. What made you keep growing your hair? And did you ever think that it would land you in the Guinness World Records?
AD: I guess that it was the fact that I was blessed to never have any breakage like most of my friends who went natural they would always get to a point where it would break and they would keep experiencing that cycle. I mean, I thank God that it’s always been healthy and it’s always been growing. As far as the Afro, of course, no I never thought it would lead to this because it was just a little mishap where my sister posted a picture on Facebook and someone suggested that I look into it. When I wore my hair in an Afro, I just kept noticing that it was getting bigger and bigger but I never thought that it would lead me having the biggest Afro on record.
TM: So on average, when you style it in the Afro, how long does it take you to do your hair?
AD: Okay well, the washing conditioning and putting it in the two French braids, that takes about 45 minutes. Usually I let it air dry, and when I do, that takes about a day and a half because it gets really thick. If I sit under the dryer, it takes a couple of hours. Then from there to style into the Afro, around 30 minutes.
TM: Wait, you said a day and a half?
AD: Yep! Like the top part would be dry, but if I reach in closer to my scalp, it would still be wet. Let’s say I did my hair on a Thursday during the day, maybe by Friday night it would dry, or even Saturday. 
TM: What are some activities you have a difficult time doing?
AD: Well, it’s not safe to drive. I have no peripheral vision because my hair is in my face and I have to lift it to see. If something were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to react quickly as I normally would. And oh,  sitting in the back of a car or on the passenger side, like my sister always fusses… it’s just not a practical hairstyle that I wear every day. My Afro is something that I wear for special occasions like the Essence Music Festival, couldn’t wait to wear it there! It’s a beautiful hairstyle, but it’s not something that I would walk around with every day. Plus, it can be damaging, because you know, my hair gets really tangled. Luckily, I’ve mastered detangling so that I don’t lose too much hair.
TM: Who are some of your hair inspirations?
AD: Hmm, well when I went natural it was because I didn’t want to perm my hair anymore. I knew that I could achieve the same styles without having a relaxer… I would say my Mom, definitely. I would see pictures of her in her Afro and think, “Ooh, I can’t wait for my Afro to look like that!” I would also watch Soul Train and check out their hairstyles. Chaka Khan was another influence. But honestly, it was Soul Train. It would come on WGN at like 2a.m. and I just loved the hairstyles and how they dressed.
TM: How do you hope to inspire women with your hair?
AD: Hopefully I inspire everyone. I mean even before Guinness, I tried to get any and everyone to go natural. When people would say to me “Oh, I don’t know if I can.” I would say, “Why can’t you do something you were born with? You can achieve straight hair by just getting it pressed.” And now with the use of ceramic irons, it’s a little bit healthier for your hair. I don’t press my hair often, but why wouldn’t you do something that God gave you? You should be proud of your hair. I definitely hope to inspire little girls. I feel like if someone would have caught us when we were young, we wouldn’t have this natural hair phenomenon. We would have been fine with wearing our hair in its natural state.  I love inspiring everyone but I say the kids because that’s where it all starts.    


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