Lukwesa Burak works at Sky News as the World News Anchor and started her media career with the BBC. She was born in Zambia and came to England aged eight. She is married with two children and lives in the Midlands, Leicestershire. If that’s not enough Lukwesa is also the founder of Gidore a natural product online store! Lukwesa has recently done her big chop and is looking stunning with it. I spoke with her about her hair story and the battles she had with her hair will remind you all that everyone has hair issues.
So Lukwesa tell me about your hair story why did you go natural? I have a Mixed Race background: Greek-Zambian and Portuguese-Zimbabwean, so as a result my hair is a lovely cocktail of textures, curls and ‘behaviours’ which sometimes do what I want, other times leaves me close to tears!
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my hair from a very early age: I loved it for being long, I hated it for getting into such tangles. I loved it for being big when I wanted it to be ‘big’, then hated it when all my school-friend’s hair was ‘flat’. Then as I got older it just went in a bun and stayed there – but hated it when I was constantly patted on the head by girls at school to feel how ‘fuzzy and bouncy’ it felt.
|Lukwesa as a young girl|
During my first time in England I suffered merciless bullying to the point of losing my hair. This is one of the most traumatic times of my life! Because it didn’t all fall out uniformly, I had unsightly patches on my head and so had to wear a little white whooly hat to school. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong, and I was given all manner of creams which made my schooling experience all the more harrowing. Boy did those creams smell and as you can imagine that hat was the perfect target for the playground bullies. Horrible time! However, on the plus side, it took away the fear of having short hair.
When I got older I went to texturising my hair for about 10 years and so my hair became very tired. I also had colour in my hair because on screen my hair texture can look like a helmet and so has to be broken with colour. I also used a lot of heat to set it for work, so as you can imagine my hair was pretty stressed. I’ve tried weaves and I got a broken hairline for my effort, and I just looked like a had wig on – so what was the point? Starting afresh was the only option. So hence the big chop.
|On Screen Style|
|Before the big chop.|
Well, I am loving your new look Lukwesa its very inspiring. As well as presenting the news you also have your company Gidore, why did you decide to set it up?
Well I don’t have to tell you how difficult, time-consuming, disappointing and just plain expensive it can be trying to find products and regimes that work for you and your hair. I’d suffered for years. Traditional ‘Black hair’ products were either too oily, left my hair dry and brittle or my scalp irritated. Off the shelf products in places like Boots did absolutely nothing. I’d been looking for a good product for at least 15 years- ever since I started my working life really. Then my daughter came along and boy did she come along with a whole other texture. It sent me in a spin to be honest. Her hair is finer, curly almost Mediterranean and DRY. So I’m currently on yet another learning curve.
|Lukwesa’s daughter Gigi|
The products out there were useless so that is how Gidore came about, research, trial and error, learning about hair types, curl types, products, ingredients, haircare techniques etc. I knew I was struggling, my family was struggling and I wanted to share and help in any way. I have every hair texture you can imagine within my wider family, so I can relate to most people – I’ve heard and seen it all!
How long has it been going? We’re very young, so to speak. We had a soft launch in August, and are slowly growing and learning with each day. Truly each day, brings something new – it’s very exciting!
I note that you do stock all the exciting products like Jane Carter and more recently KeraCare Natural Textures – which I can’t wait to try what products do you use?
Yes, we’ve tried to source on the best products. There are some very popular products which a lot of girls use, but I won’t stock until the ingredients change to be kinder to hair. Because I always have children in mind, I make sure to list whether or not products have things such as sulphate, parabens, and other irritants. I’ve also taken a lot of care to look at products that deal with Scalp issues. This is purely from a selfish standpoint I suppose. I’ve been there and survived and so know how terrible it can be. We currently stock Philip Kinglsey’s Scalp range – you really can’t get better than that.
I have tried everything on the website but I use a lot of Shea Butter when at home. My Go-To deep treatment is Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer Extreme. Through trial and error I discovered that this product comes into it’s own when used with heat, something the instructions don’t mention but we stress on the website. It’s the only thing that gives my hair the help it needs to cope with all the stress I put it under.
As a Moisturiser..Blended Beauty is very moisturising and I’m currently having great results with As I Am – which isn’t available in the UK…YET!
|Looking amazing after the Big Chop|
Many people might recognise you for being a Sky News Presenter. Did you ever feel any pressure to wear your hair a certain way?
I suppose when I first started in the business I did. It goes without saying that in my industry your image is part of the job. I couldn’t say with my hand on my heart say that I’ve ever been pressured to wear my hair a certain way. I’ve worn my hair curly whilst reading the news, I’ve had it straight, a weave (we don’t talk about that!), in an updo, but what I have learnt is that I can’t wear it bone straight. It just doesn’t suit my face. It looks false. And so I always have to have body in it, whether that’s curls, or waves…it can’t be flat. It’s just not me. I think that is an important message to get across. Don’t feel you have to go with the latest look. Take a close look at your face and how your hair compliments it. I really fought with my texture and ‘size’ of my hair for years. Then a couple of years ago I came back from the hairdressers and my hair had been blow-dried straight. My son didn’t like it, my baby daughter burst into tears and my husband suggested I get into the shower and get it wet and big again. What I thought was more ‘acceptable’ was wrong for me.
One of the number one fears for women going Natural is what will their boss say… do you talk about your hair at all at work? what did yours say?
How you present yourself is paramount in my industry. It’s foolish I think, to expect that I can go on air rocking a huge afro or with my curls nice and big. I would be a distraction from the job I’m meant to be doing. In the same way I wear certain clothes to read the news, nothing about me should distract from the information you’re getting across. People should be talking about the news with friends and not …”Did you see so and so’s hair last night” My bosses at Sky News have never seen my hair as an issue, like I said it’s been curly in the past. So long as it’s neat, and smart when I sit down and get on with my job. Like all the presenters, we have chats with the Stylist and see what’s working and what’s not – it’s all part of the job. I’m sure you’ve noticed how looks change on screen.
Do you have any advice for a lady thinking about going natural? First off..decide why you’re doing it and be truthful to yourself. Remember that the girl in the picture has her own texture personal to her..she may actually be wearing a wig!!!!
Just because she’s being used to advertise a product doesn’t mean your hair will be identical.
Get used to the idea that it’s going to cost you in the early stages whilst you find what works for you. There’ll be good and bad days – that’s what hats are for! And what you think is a Bad Hair Day, will not be seen as such by others. It’s how you carry it off.
Remember that it might have been some time since you and your natural hair were on friendly terms, so you need to learn what it does and doesn’t like, and give it a chance before your reach for the relaxer or weave again. Educate yourself on everything there is to know about ingredients. Cheaper products you have used for years are cheap for a very good reason. To get your hair behaving you’ve got to give it the best.
Lastly For heavens sake look at your diet. Ditch or cut-back on the fizzy drinks – Water is what you need. Once your hair is out of the follicle it’s too late to hope for the healthiest, shiniest, strongest hair..it starts with what you put in your mouth a couple of weeks or months ago. Once it’s grown, you’re just maintaining it.
Wow, some great advice there! For more information please visit