The mistress of Mundo Perdido has the most lovely, long, dark dreadlocks I have ever seen. Today, I met Sophie’s loctician when Kath came down south to tidy up Sophie’s hair. When I first got my dreadlocks, I didn’t know anyone with dreadies. Now I’m surrounded by beautiful women — many of them women living within mainstream society — who have chosen to lock their hair for a myriad of reasons.

Kath Kelly and Sophie Wicksteed, July 2013
After she's finished working on Sophie's dreadlocks, Kath pulls out some wool to add new wraps (and beads) to several locks.

It’s ironic that I’m here for Sophie’s dreadlock maintenance, as last week I had my own hair done. About twice a year, I need to get the ends dreaded into the existing locks. I don’t use any product on my dreadlocks — no wax, no powder — and so I seek out professionals who crochet my hair into my locks. Orion Miller, the Rasta Masta, did a terrific job on my hair … which took a marathon ten hours to tidy up!

Lauren's long red dreadlocks, July 2013
Orion has taken pictures of before and after he tightened my dreadlocks. It's easy to see what a difference thorough maintenance makes!

I have never regretted spinning my long hair into dreadlocks. It’s been a great decision — both in terms of cutting out the daily hair maintenance and also for giving me access to a wider range of cultural settings.

About a week after I had dreadlocks, I was walking through a huge shopping centre in north Brisbane. Coming the other way down the concourse was an Australian Indigenous man — not wearing locks. Our eyes met, and he greeted me. “Hello, sister,” he said. I was flabbergasted that simply changing my hairstyle could make such a difference in others’ perception of me. It was at that point that I realised I was no longer part of mainstream white Australia, and I was being given an opportunity to love and make friends within the marginalised groups that inhabit this country. Although my hairstyle promoted tolerance, it took longer for my heart to change, but now I’m so glad that I jump-started the process with my dreads!

Now, I find that dreadlocks are a sign that I will be able to connect with my tribe. We may not agree on everything, but we will have common interests in music, peaceful pursuits, environmental issues, travel, anti-establishment leanings and laughter… surely laughter most of all.

Kath Kelly, Lauren Fisher and Sophie Wicksteed, July 2013
While Kath puts a wrap on my dreadlock, I give Sophie a shoulder massage. It's a dready train!

Wool wrap being put onto a long dreadlock, July 2013
I've long admired the wool that adorns some of my friends' dreadlocks, and now I have a couple of colourful locks too!

It’s special to be surrounded by dreadlocked beauties like Sophie and Kath. I’m glad that our girls are given a range of experiences from which they can choose their own preferences — even if it’s with something as simple as a hairstyle!