“Now that it’s all gone, do you love what is left?” “I love it all. Barefaced and bald-headed. First, for me. Then, for my teenaged girls. My students were the first to know and they were the first to say, ‘You are beautiful.’ I hope I am a mirror for them. I hope they see themselves in my soul.” – Valencia D. Clay
Valencia D. Clay, an eighth grade English teacher at Baltimore Design School in Baltimore, Maryland has become a social media advocate for education. This year  is her 10th year working in the Baltimore Public School System. While her students are a huge part of why she does her duties as an educator significantly well, she decided to make a head turning change in her appearance.
In March, she decided to do the big chop for the first time. The Cut Life had the pleasure of asking her about her new hair journey, along with the importance of her becoming an educator.
Jessica: What inspired you to cut your hair?
Valencia: I woke up in the middle of the night and had a vision of cutting it. It was unhealthy and so
I meditated for an hour. When I rose from the floor, I knew it was time. I took the scissors first, then the clippers… just me and my mirror.
Jessica: Why did you cut your hair for your teenaged girls? What does this transformation mean to them?
Valencia: Many of my girls began to cut off their dead hair after I cut mine. I showed them how to smile on the inside and radiate that energy to all.
Jessica: Do your students treat you differently now?
Valencia: They do not. They remind me that I look beautiful but honestly, they have always been my biggest love outlets.
Jessica: What is the message you want to send out to women, and young girls in the world?
Valencia: I want women and young girls to do what ever they want to do, always. Liberate yourself and be who you want to be. The peace and joy that comes with being your whole self is unmatched.
Jessica: As an educator, do your colleagues treat you a certain way now that you have short hair?
Valencia: No. We all are pretty risk taking when it comes to our styles — after all, I work at an art school.
Jessica: Do you plan to keep short hair? Or grow it back out?
Valencia: I’m just living in the moment, enjoying seeing my curl pattern flourish.
Jessica: What is a quote that you live by? Why?
Valencia: “Nothing you have belongs to you.” I love this quote because it allows me to remember my purpose as a servant leader.
Jessica: What made you want to become an educator?
Valencia: I have a very big amount of love for children and I love teaching them how to be their best selves and find their purpose in this life.
Jessica: How does being an impact in people’s lives make you feel?
Valencia: I feel humbled and full. It feels good to know that love is everywhere.