Dominican salon owner helps women, men and children embrace their curls

NEW YORK -- A Dominican salon in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood is helping men, women and children embrace their naturally curly hair.

"I think as Black people and Black women, we are taught since we're very little that we came broken and so we got to fix it. But why do you have to fix something that was never really broken?" said Carolina Contreras, the founder and owner of Miss Rizos Salon.

The business started 10 years ago in the Dominican Republic after Contreras decided to cut off all her relaxed hair.

"It's hot, humid, and most importantly, because I wanted to embrace my identity and embrace what naturally came out of my scalp," Contreras said.

EMBED More News Videos

Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the middle of September. That's because five Central American countries all celebrate Independence Day on September 15.



"A lot of women would stop me in the streets to ask me how I did it, where did I get the courage to cut it, what products was I using," Contreras said. "People were traveling from all around the country for five, six hours to my little apartment to do their hair."

Guests will say that Miss Rizos Salon isn't just about styling your hair. The stylists provide customers with the tools to be able to do their own curls at home, including suggestions on what products to use. It's about empowering customers.

Contreras believes the curly hair movement has prompted a racial shift when it comes to acceptance.

"I am a Dominican Black woman, an immigrant, who's creating a space of employment for others and this beautiful safe haven for women, little girls, little boys and everyone to come in and feel like they belong," she said.

From actors to activists, people share stories of celebrating their heritage, expressing their identity as Latino, Latinx, or Hispanic, and representing and embracing their diverse cultures. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with "Our America: Todos Unidos" on ABC Owned Television Stations streaming apps and Hulu.
EMBED More News Videos

Art Acevedo will be in charge of less than half of the number officers in Miami, and will patrol a fraction of the square miles that Houston covers.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.