Meet the Stylist Panel

The Stylist Panel is the backbone of Curl. They are our team of four expert curly hair stylists, and we go to them for our facts and information.

Let’s meet them!

2020 Curl Stylist Panel

Meg Conkling

Curly Hair Alchemist


Meg is a curly hair specialist who sees hair as the gateway to a person’s being. She values the opportunity to help individuals love their hair. Her driving force is continuing her education and creating her own dry-cutting fusion of styles for all texture types. Exploring worldly wellness retreats, from ancient temples of India to the ecovillages of Costa Rica, immersed Meg in the message she needed to hear: “Take care of yourself” — a mantra she openly shares with clients. To expand her reach beyond her New York-based Curly Hair Alchemist Studio, she created the digital program, Curls Hold Magic Blueprint. Read our feature article on Meg and get to know her better!

Aeleise Ollarvia

Co-founder of Black Girl Curls and Cut It Kinky


Aeleise is a veteran cosmetologist, author, educator, and longtime curl nerd. Licensed and working in Illinois, Georgia, and California, she has trained with curl industry leaders and is the co-creator of Cut It Kinky Professional Education and the Black Curl Magic Digital Salon. While she understands all curls, she’s laser-focused on the curls and culture of the tight-curl consumer. Her extensive knowledge of the textured hair aisle at Target, combined with her mastery of professional curl techniques and products, make her highly sought out. Her editorial styling work is featured in campaigns for several curly and natural hair brands.

Gina Marie Rodriguez

The Cultivated Curl


Gina can be described as quirky-nerdy-cute. A curl artist and owner of The Cultivated Curl in Fair Oaks, California, Gina began her career in 2006. Her hair adventures have taken her across the U.S. and the globe, teaching in classrooms and on stages, and led her to create her Wash Day Blueprint Coaching Program. Gina is fascinated by the science and chemistry of hair and is driven to understand “what, how, and why.” She is a seeker, a dreamer, a doer, and a visionary who gives everything back to her clients.

Michelle Stiver

Salon Aficionado


Michelle is the owner and founder of Salon Aficionado, a salon suite located in the heart of Orange County, California. With over 25 years of industry experience, she found her passion in curly hair. She is certified in several methods, including Curly Hair Artistry, DevaCurl, Ouidad, and Rëzo, and created her own online program, Curly Academy, geared toward maximum hydration for frizz control. Her goal is to touch the lives of as many people as possible by helping them embrace their natural beauty.

2019 Curl Stylist Panel

Wafaya Abdallah

Oasis Curl Salon


“I kick ass.” That’s what Atoya said when her husband asked what her bio should say. She knows she could list off all her credentials, but she thinks you show up for more than that. Atoya says being a stylist is a natural talent; she knew since she was about 4 that she would grow up to do hair and makeup. What she didn’t know was that she wanted to change lives. Now, she wants to share what she knows, and her deepest wish is that you will fall madly in love with the beautiful being you are. If she gets to play even a small part in that shift, then yeah, she kicks ass.

Atoya Bass

Atoya’s Curly Hair Studio


Wafaya Abdallah has been in the hair industry for 29 years and focused on curly hair for 10 years. Originally, she intended to go to law school to study international human rights law, but once she started cosmetology school, it felt like home. So she decided to approach human rights from a different angle. Wafaya is the owner of Oasis Salon; it connects curls and connects cultures, and focuses on curly hair and social justice. The salon has a Unity Stage where it hosts events and highlights work that brings people together. Oasis also offers internships in the salon for adults who are differently abled.

Krista Leavitt

Curl Specialist


Ranked as one of Canada’s top curly hair specialists, Krista Leavitt has trained with Aveda, DevaCurl, Curly Hair Artistry, and Head Shape Matters. Her goal is to help curly girls of all ages love the hair they were born with. Her salon is located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She’s the creator of the comprehensive curly hair online courses for both curls and waves, and also ships Canadian-available curly hair products throughout Canada from Curly Hair Goodies.

Yasmine Young

Diaspora Salon


Yasmine Young is founder and owner of Diaspora Salon, an eclectic boutique salon located in Baltimore, Maryland. Tucked within a beautiful brownstone, Yasmine and her team offer only the highest quality of natural and curly hair care services, from the holistic, plant-based products they utilize, to the advanced craftsmanship executed in their styling. You can read more about Yasmine, her obsession with all things curly, and her brainchild, Diaspora Salon.