Hair. An integral part of anyone’s identity, especially for Black people. Hair has carried so much history in the Black culture and is truly such a huge part of the community.
The diverse coils, strands, braids, cuts, and styles bring so much variety to each person. Each style is a blessing by the talented hands that create these styles, whether said hands are yours or belong to someone else.
Kenyatta Devine is a hair stylist at Florida A&M University. At 19 years old, as a sophomore studying business administration focusing on facilities management, Devine makes time to style the crowns of her clients daily.
Acting on her interest in doing hair during COVID, 2020 was the year Devine honed her craft. For years she practiced on her brother’s hair by maintaining his locs but wasn’t completely sold on increasing her skill.
But once she started taking the process seriously, everything clicked.
Immediately Devine realized the ease of doing hair, so she carried her craft to FAMU. With her mother’s support, Devine developed a logo and Instagram page concept, thus the birth of @real.devinestyles.
Describing her as friendly, reserved and comfortable, Jah’mal Lapomarel, a 20-year-old journalism student from Miami, spoke on Devine’s personality and the environment Devine strives to cultivate when doing hair.
“I would describe it as an easygoing experience. I was comfortable the whole time and entertained,” Lapomarel said. “Usually, she has some movie playing, so I’m not sitting there bored.”
Devine strives for quality and affordable work while wanting her clients to feel relaxed. Having always wanted to learn to cut and having a family that works in the industry already, what Devine’s brand represents is crucial to her.
“Creating an environment where everyone can come to one place and get everything they need done,” Devine said. “Making it where everyone can afford it while also giving them the quality they deserve.”
Devine hopes to establish a one-stop store in the future by collaborating alongside the family with expertise. Whether it’s braids, haircuts, washes, or natural styles, Devine wants to offer it all while staying on top of quality and a great ambiance.
Though Devine is not there yet with her goals, she emulates those ambitions in her space, using her room in FAMU Towers as best she can. Brandon Smith, a Broward County native studying political science, feels the effort Devine puts into ensuring her clients feel welcomed and content.
“My experience is kind of different because I don’t usually book, I kind of just text her to squeeze me in, but I can always expect great service,” Smith said. “She is honestly just a very chill person and gives you the exact hairstyle you want each time.”
The styles offered by @real.divinestyles range from feed-in braids, various-sized knotless braids, loc retwists, and different ponytail styles, including box braids, twists, and cornrows for men. All the while actively practicing new styles and designs to broaden her catalog.
As Devine works to expand her brand and reach more potential customers, she keeps her regulars satisfied and ready to come back for other styles. With her regulars always returning for more service and telling their friends, Devine’s outreach is slowly but surely growing.
“I’ve actually referred about five of my brothers to her for retwists, twists and things like that,” Smith said. “They always tell me they go back after their initial appointment.”
As she is also a student, balancing a social life with schoolwork and clients is a full-time job. Devine took eight courses this semester and learned how important time management is. While juggling life can be challenging, Devine maintains a set time to manage her studying and homework and makes time for rest and free time for herself.
By pulling from her motivations, Devine is never short of inspiration to continue growing her brand into something people will familiarize themselves with and come to love. In college, it’s the time for a person to find themselves and grow into who they will be, and Devine is taking that head-on.
Described as somewhat reserved and quiet, doing hair forced Devine to come out of her shell and be more social. To avoid any awkwardness with clients and silence, Devine works to ensure conversation can flow easily and comfortably.
Regardless of where she is location-wise, Devine’s passion runs deep. While attending an HBCU is ideal for potential clientele, Devine wants to reach anyone she can.
“It has given me an easier target, considering I’m more geared towards natural styles,” Devine said.
At FAMU, many people do hair, nails and makeup, so how does @real.devinestyles stand out? To stand out and make her brand known, Devine works incredibly hard to foster an atmosphere where she creates relationships with her clients.
“It does make it a little more difficult to set yourself apart,” Devine said. “But that’s when you just have to create that energy that people want to come back to, or just being honest and reasonable with your clients and everyone that comes to see you.”
The distinction between Devine’s brand and others on campus is evident in the space she creates for her clients. She strives to be the greatest she can be and offer her best towards her craft. By looking and building towards her future, the recognition for @real.devinestyles is long overdue.