Multi-hyphen Candice Brathwaite is a presenter, writer, influencer and founder of the Make Motherhood Diverse platform. The born and bred Londoner lives with her husband (more commonly known as Papa B) and her two children, Esmé-Olivia (aged 5) and RJ (aged 1) in Milton Keynes. *
You have a passion for telling stories of all mothers and are the founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, but what made you create the platform?
It was formed out of frustration and because in the motherhood and parenting space, it was what was missing.
Off the back of a particularly nasty thread, which named some high-profile Insta mums, I noticed that none of the mothers mentioned where from BAME backgrounds. Of course, from a business perspective, this meant to me that women who weren’t white and middle class weren’t able to access a space which could perhaps change their financial trajectory. And the words ‘Make Motherhood Diverse’ fell out in an Instagram story.
[Make Motherhood Diverse] was formed out of frustration and because […] it was what was missing. – Candice Brathwaite
I collaborated with two other women to get the online space off the ground and it just went from strength to strength. I’m in the process of turning it into a community interest charity as the submissions to that space have made it clear that what most mothers need is money. Be it for nursery fees, a university course or funds to help them leave an abusive relationship, and I’d like to able to start to help with that process.
You mostly work from home. Does this affect the way you style your hair?
Yes and no. Working in publishing I was more aware of how ‘brave’ my trademark hairstyle could be perceived in a structured office setting. But now I work from home if I wanted to get a ‘90s style pattern shaved into the back, I wouldn’t think twice!
And how has your hair routine changed since you’ve become a mother?
I’ve often had black men tell me that they are very jealous of my waves, which always makes me giggle! To accentuate the waves I use a pomade and tie my hair with a headscarf/du-rag and then just whip it off before I leave the house. I wash my hair once a week and usually throw coconut oil on it once in a blue moon.
I’ve often had black men tell me that they are very jealous of my waves, which always makes me giggle! – Candice Brathwaite
My husband shaves my head once a fortnight and my brother gives me a shape-up every 3 weeks. But my hair routine hasn’t changed much at all. I have to be more on top of my schedule even though my hair is so minimal. I think it’s important that my kids see a black woman in love with the hair which grows out of her own head. I think it sends a powerful statement of self-love.
What practical tips do you have for new mums when it comes to styling their hair and their children’s hair?
It’s going to be hard to encourage them to celebrate their natural hair if they don’t see their parents embracing their own. – Candice Brathwaite
Try to find a style that makes you feel good and is low maintenance. This could mean that you do have to spend a pretty penny once a quarter but at least it’s not something you have to think about every day. When it comes to the kids be sure to get them into a routine. I wash both my kids’ hair whilst they’re in the bath. This makes it less of a big deal and helps keep them calm.
Any advice for parents that have children dealing with negative attitudes to their hair?
It’s about surrounding them with paraphernalia that reinforces their beauty and self-love. Tola Okogwu has written a great picture book series called Daddy Do My Hair which is brilliant and reminding children their hair is perfect as it grows from their heads. As controversial as it seems, we must also look at our own hairstyles as parents. Children won’t listen to what you say but what follow what you do. It’s going to be hard to encourage them to celebrate their natural hair if they don’t see their parents embracing their own.
You have to be able to command the space you’re in. You deserve it. – Candice Brathwaite
If there was one thing that you would you everyone to know about hair, what would it be?
That it grows! my biggest thing, even at 17 was that if I really didn’t like having a shaved head, it would grow back. That’s actually a good motto for life!
If there was one thing that you would you everyone to know about motherhood, what would it be?
There is no book which can help prepare you for what is ahead (except perhaps mine, which I’m working on now, so keep a look out!).
I wouldn’t have a career if it were not for my children. After my first child, I noticed there was a gap in the mummy blogging space. Motherhood was being sold as white and middle class and I’d never felt more ostracised. None of what I do would’ve been possible without the insight my children have ushered into my life. I would hope that people perceive me as a badass businesswoman because that will never change.
And finally, what tips do you have for women that are lack confidence?
Remember that there is someone with half your talent but double your confidence living your dream life. Most situations develop from just putting yourself forward. You have to be able to command the space you’re in. You deserve it.
*As told to Jeanette Nkwate
ATH Top Product Recommendation
Love pomades as much as Candice? Why not try the TIGI Bed Head Slick Trick Firm Hold Pomade. It’s great workable pomade that helps create a smooth sleek appearance.