Aisha O'Reilly is a young woman who is passionate about natural hair and honest motherhood. Like many African women, she didn’t feel beautiful unless her hair was straight and silky. After years of a deeply negative relationship with her hair, she went natural in 2011. She documented her hair journey on My Fro & I, which became the biggest natural hair blog in South Africa. Similarly, she felt very alone in pregnancy and first few months of being a new mom, and believed that the realities of motherhood weren’t being talked about enough. Her blog evolved to become Aisha & Life, where along with natural hair care, she also shares her real and honest experience as a mother. Her aim is to encourage fellow women by giving them a peek into how she’s navigating life, while being a beauty-conscious-working-mom and wife.
1. How do you prep yourself for a family photo shoot? (Any skincare, eating, exercising etc tips)
I usually start off with an overall end look I’d like for us to achieve. So I choose a colour palette and make sure my husband and son have clean, ironed outfits that work within that palette. This way we look coordinated but not too matchy. I put aside those clothes so they don’t wear them during the week. I also have a pep talk with my husband. He usually takes a little while to get into shoots, and time isn’t a luxury so I find it helps when he knows what to expect.
2. What is your best tip for keeping your little munchkin happy and amused during a family photo session?
Be sure he’s had his nap and he has eaten! Missing either or both will make for a very cranky kid. So unless that’s your aim for the shoot, make sure to tick both off of your list and carry snacks if you’re not home, just in case. Having a favourite toy or activity piece (my boy loves books) will help to distract and relax them.
3. What is your favourite Jozi spot to hang out with your tiny human at?
We have two: Munch Café in Kyalami and Bryanston. They’re amazing with kids and have great healthy food options for the whole family, not just junky things for kids. We’ve been going there since I was pregnant with Kai and the staff knows all of us by name. We love it so much we had Kai’s first birthday party there. Now that the weather’s warmed up, we’re also loving 27 Boxes in Melville. It’s got a lot of spaces for little ones to play and quirky stores for us to visit. The whole set up is just perfect for my family.
4. What is your best trick for getting a smile out of your little one?
Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to make him smile because he loves the camera! As long as he’s full and rested, he’s naturally a bubbly kid. But if all else fails, tickles or a quick throw in the air from Daddy will do the trick.
5. What favourite moment/activity would you really love to have captured with your family?
We’ve been blessed to have our number one favourite activity already captured – reading. I’ve been reading to my son since he was two months old and he’s an avid little bookworm now. Our other favourite activity is eating, especially having a braai. So that would be great to have captured. We really do bond over the simple things.