Down the rabbit hole: Katniss braid edition

Deimosa Webber-Bey  //  Jul 22, 2015

Down the rabbit hole: Katniss braid edition

Welcome back to the new OOM series we’re calling “Down the Rabbit Hole”! Has this ever happened to you: you’re browsing the internet, reading up on something specific, and a link to something related catches your eye? So then you open that new link in a new tab to read later, and all of a sudden you have 15 tabs open?  This happens to all of us, and here at OOM, we’ll be documenting some of our trips down the literary rabbit hole, à la Alice in Wonderland (if Alice had a computer).

I started by Googling the phrase “Katniss braid”. Why? Well, I was telling one of my friends how my niece asked me last Saturday to give her a ‘Katniss braid’, and then I said, “I can’t count how many times in the past year I’ve been asked to give someone a Katniss braid”. That was it – I had my rabbit hole fodder.

The first several pages of results were how-to web pages and videos, but in there I saw “20 Hair Secrets From the Set of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire” – and I read it. Good stuff! These are the sorts of details that we have in the Catching Fire Official Illustrated Movie Companion. The first tutorial that caught my eye, however, was a page from Snapguide titled, “How to Do a Katniss Braid (Dutch Braid)”.

Dutch braid? I do a lot of cornrows, the reverse of French braids… What is this Dutch braid? Today is the first I’ve heard of it. Return to search engine. Resulting read: “The Difference Between French Braids, Dutch Braids, and Cornrows” on the Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care website. Great visuals! I love blogger Rory Mullen’s use of colored yarn to differentiate between the three sections of hair that you use when braiding. This led me to the About page, where I learned more about the author, her daughter, and the book she read while preparing for a transracial adoption, I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla, (hence the inspiration for the blog’s name), which was hyperlinked… so… Click! Amazon… about the author…

“MARGUERITE WRIGHT is the senior clinical and research psychologist for the Center for the Vulnerable Child at Children's Hospital in Oakland, California.”

Center for the Vulnerable Child?

Highlight, right-click, searching the web for the ‘Center for the Vulnerable Child’.

“The Center for the Vulnerable Child (CVC) provides individual and family therapy, clinical and medical case management, developmental screening, and parental education to the most vulnerable children in our community.”

There was a link on the right to a page for Marguerite Wright, EDD, which gave basic information, so I looked her up as an author in our EBSCO database, and next thing you know I’m reading “Adaptation of a community-based participatory research model to gain community input on identifying indicators of successful parenting” (FYI: the four common themes that emerged in this discussion of successful parenting are respect, external authority systems, poverty, and support). Good article!

However, I was pretty far removed from where I started (down the rabbit hole and to the left), so I stayed in EBSCO and searched the phrase “Katniss braid” and got 6 full-text results, the most recent of which is “Salon 'braid bars' offer a quick twist to a long-lasting trend”. Back on track! This was HTML only, so I looked on the web and found the article on the CTV News site.

“Perhaps the most influential trendsetter, however, is "The Hunger Games"' fictional heroine Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who wears her hair in an intricate side braid throughout the film that was a huge springtime hit.”

Definitely back on track! This Associated Press article mentions cord braids, French braids, waterfall braids and herringbone or fishtail braids… Waterfall braids?? Right click.

As soon as the images loaded on the top of the search results, I realized what a waterfall braid is – something that I needed to learn how to do. My dreadlocks are an awkward length, and when I French braid them there are all sorts of short ones that stick out (never mind how horribly bad what I now know is Dutch braid turns out). I went for the videos, and after three viewings of Become Gorgeous’Waterfall Braid Tutorial”, this happened:

Waterfall dreadlocks!

After this breakthrough, I watched “Feather Waterfall & Ladder Braid Combo” enough times to realize that my hair won’t do it – but my niece’s will. Next time she asks for a Katniss braid I will acquiesce, but not before I suggest a “Diagonal French Loop Braid” or a “Rope-Twisted Pinwheel Bun”.

Want to keep up with this trend? Follow the #katnissbraid hashtag on social media (or track down the Klutz classic Hair: a Book of Braiding and Styles)!