How a creator’s natural hair journey built community

Google for Creators recently launched The Conversation, a new YouTube series spotlighting the experiences of women of color creators. This month, we’re featuring beauty and lifestyle creator Tyla-Lauren Gilmore, who shared how her natural hair journey led her to build an online community and become a full-time content creator. Learn more about Tyla-Lauren below and check out the full interview.

In 2014, Tyla-Lauren Gilmore graduated college and began to earn a living on her own. She was also trying to find herself, and started thinking about what kind of image she presented to the world. As she looked in the mirror, she wondered why, as a woman of color, she was straightening her natural curls — a process that, over many years, left her hair dry and damaged.

“A college friend told me, ‘Ty, people pay for your curly hair. You should embrace it,’” the native New Yorker says. “Not many of my friends had curly hair, so it was up to me. I was in search of community.”

Tyla-Lauren took to social media to find other women who looked like her. After following a few beauty bloggers on YouTube and Instagram, she began documenting her own natural hair journey. “I was figuring out what to do with my big afro,” she says. “I started posting my natural hair care tips and tricks on Instagram.” Almost immediately, other women took notice, and her online following grew.

Tyla-Lauren knew she’d tapped into something special when a widowed dad reached out for advice. “A father [messaged] me saying, ‘Hey, I just lost my wife, and I have no idea how to do my daughter’s hair,’” she recalls. “I gave him step-by-step processes of how to do his daughter’s hair. And he was so grateful. From then on, I knew this was something I wanted to do.”

She continued to grow her web presence over the next few years, including starting a YouTube channel. In 2018, she quit her 9-to-5 job at a beauty products company to become a full-time digital content creator.