Hayley Marie Norman has appeared in numerous films including Fired Up, Hancock, Trailer Park of Terror, and Norbit. Aside from features films, she has also landed roles on several television shows including the Starz cable network series Crash, the soap opera The Young and The Restless, the critically acclaimed Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and recently BET’s The Game.
Hayley is also known as briefcase #25 on NBC’s hit show Deal or No Deal where she quickly became one of the most recognized and popular models due to her trademark hair. Her curly tresses are natural and beautiful.
I caught up with Hayley to talk to her about her career and her hair!
Mz Mahogany Chic: How did you get your start as an actress and model?
Hayley: Interesting story actually. I got my original start as a young child when Cindy Crawford approached my family at a restaurant in Malibu and suggested they get me into print work and well as passed on the business card for her agency. I was too young to even remember this, so I’m not sure how much of an impact (if any) it had on me actually choosing to pursue entertainment as a career, but it was, if you will, my first foray with the industry. It did help lead to a print and modeling career for me as a youth, which quickly developed into a passion for wanting to pursue an acting career.
Mz Mahogany Chic: Most people remember you as Model #25 on the Deal or No Deal show, how did you land that role?
Hayley: I booked that show at the beginning of the second season. What made this particular job so special to me is that Deal or No Deal was my Grandma’s favorite show and it felt amazing to know that I was truly making her proud. My family comes from very humble beginnings so I think seeing her only granddaughter on her favorite show every week was really something special for her, and for that especially, I will always be grateful for that job and look back on it with fondness. I auditioned for this show against literally thousands and thousands of other girls who flew in from all over the country and from some of the top modeling agencies. So needless to say, I was pretty shocked when I found out that I had gotten it. I became case #25 because the Producer said my hair was so big that they had to put me in the back or else I’d be blocking all the other models, which I couldn’t help but laugh at. It was also very cool to me that the Producers of the show and the higher ups at NBC never asked, suggested or implied that I straighten my hair.
Mz Mahogany: What was it like working on big projects such as Norbit and Hancock?
Hayley: Amazing. I know there are a million other people who would love to be in my shoes and I’m so thankful that I’ve been given the opportunities I have and do not take them for granted. Eddie Murphy and Will Smith are both so talented and such geniuses at what they do. Watching them do their thing on set was like watching a Master Class in Acting.
Mz Mahogany Chic: Let’s talk hair, how long have you been natural?
Hayley: My whole life!
Mz Mahogany Chic: What is your current hair care regimen?
Hayley: It’s actually so easy! It’s way more simple than I think most people would tend to believe. I deep condition it at home every few days and I just use leave in conditioner and a water soluble hair gel on the other days and then diffuse it. It only takes about 10 or so minutes total. I don’t wrap it at night or anything, which I should probably start doing because I want it to grow!
Mz Mahogany: Since you say your not wrapping it, What are you doing at night to keep it looking cute and fresh for the next day?
Hayley: I say an extra prayer that I wake up with little to no tangles. Haha..kidding. I don’t really do much. I just throw it into a loose bun on the top of my head. I recently bought a pillow case that is supposed to be more conducive to the growth and health of natural hair so we’ll see if that makes much of a difference!
Mz Mahogany Chic: How often are you washing your hair with shampoo?
Hayley: Every 4 to 5 days. I used to go longer than that actually but my new hairdresser suggested I switch to Wen which is a shampoo/conditioner in one and wash it with that more frequently. I have to say, I have noticed a difference!
Mz Mahogany Chic: Do you have any favorite products you cannot live without?
Hayley: I love my Wen and my Deva curl hair gel. I’m also vegan so these products are plant based which is a double bonus for me. But even if I wasn’t vegan, I’ve found the more holistic and natural the product is, the more beneficial it is for your hair. It just makes sense that added chemicals, dyes and alcohols would strip your hair of essentials or coat it with something that could eventually be damaging.
Mz Mahogany: When you made your first public appearance your hair was much darker. What products did you use to dye your hair?
Hayley: I’m way too scared to dye my hair myself because I’m not the best with tedious things that require a lot of precision, so my hair dresser just does it while I read scripts. I can’t even say what color/brand she uses. I’m sorry.
Mz Mahogany: That’s okay. Some naturally curly girls say using chemical dyes makes the hair dry and brittle, did your hair texture change because of this?
Hayley: When I went to a bad hair dresser it did! My new hair dresser uses more natural products so I haven’t noticed much of a difference with my hair being dry and brittle. It’s actually gotten significantly less dry over the past couple of years but I would attribute that to finally finding decent products as well as a shift in my diet. It makes sense that what we eat and consume would effect everything down to our hair and nails.
Mz Mahogany: Do you ever straighten your hair with heat?
Hayley: I have a few times but I’m not a huge fan of the way it turns out. And I always feel like it takes so much work and way more time than I have. I would of course be open to do it for an acting role or a new gig but as far as in my day to day life, I have no real desire to do this on any sort of regular basis.
Mz Mahogany: Just out of curiosity, Would you consider trying a chemical relaxer in the future?
Hayley: Like the old adage says, “Never Say Never,” but I have to say I cannot foresee ever having a desire to chemically relax my hair anytime in the near or distant future. I believe my hair is this way because it’s supposed to be and that natural is what is most beautiful for everyone. I’m not a fan of women feeling like they need to change themselves in order to fit into society’s ideals of what is supposedly “beautiful” and I would hate to perpetuate the false belief that “straight and silky is where it’s at.” I’m also into health and I’m scared of whatever is in those chemicals! I’ve heard too many horror stories!
Mz Mahogany: Going Natural, doing the ‘big chop’ and going through a transition, is an emotional and difficult experience for many women. Do you have any words of encouragement to the many women that are thinking of going natural?
Hayley: Just Do It! You won’t regret it! And as cliche as it sounds, it feels amazing to finally be comfortable in your own skin and be an unadulterated version of yourself. Even though I have been natural my whole life, there were many years where I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin because of this. Had it been up to me, I would have had a weave like Beyonce and been straightening my hair everyday, but luckily my parents wouldn’t have it. I thought they hated me because they insisted on me wearing my hair natural as a kid, haha, but now as an adult I see they only had my best interest at heart, and on so many different levels. Not just because they loved my curls and didn’t want them to get possibly forever damaged with the use of chemicals but also because I think they instilled the idea in me at an early age to just be myself in every facet of life. Although I did try to use that card for some piercings and tattoos as a teenager because it was “self expression” and “being me” and they were NOT feeling that at all. Obviously I am happy about that decision now as well.
Mz Mahogany: You mentioned you were vegan and I’ve read you are an animal rights activist. Tell me more about this.
Hayley: Huge passion in my life. I feel better than ever and my health, although never bad, has improved drastically as well as my energy levels being thru the roof. I started out for health reasons especially when I learned about the chemicals and hormones found in all meat/dairy products, but once I was made aware of the abuse and deplorable living conditions of these animals as well as their proven capacity to experience very human like emotions such as fear, sadness, and joy, I knew I had no choice but to adapt a vegan lifestyle. It’s been about three years and I have to say, it was a pretty easy transition because my reasons for going vegan were much stronger than any craving I could ever have. Besides, vegan food is pretty delicious and there are so many more options than most people are aware of.
Mz Mahogany: You sound very passionate about that. Are you sponsoring any charities?
Hayley: Animal Acres, Farm Sanctuary, and I have my hands in basically any vegan charity or organization that I hear of. I would love to have my own animal rescue one day as well as open up a homeless shelter for adults and children in need. I’ve volunteered with the homeless on many occasions, and it’s one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences.
Mz Mahogany: When will we see you again? Are you working on any new projects?
Hayley: I just shot episodes of COMMON LAW, which is a new show for USA set to premier this summer with the gorgeous Michael Ealy. So definitely keep your eyes open for that! I’ve been taking a ton of meetings in the meantime that I’m really excited about as well as writing and developing some of my own projects.
Mz Mahogany: Thanks for sharing