Michelle Obama’s hair stylist has opened up about that photo of the former First Lady, rocking a natural look while on vacation, that’s got the whole internet talking.
First, some background: as you may or may not know, the Obamas have been taking it easy ever since they left the Oval Office, first in the Caribbean and, later, in French Polynesia. As such, they’ve let their hair down, so to speak, both figuratively and literally. And a couple of days ago, the photo below turned up, breaking the internet (as Huffington Post describes it) in the process.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 4, 2017
What’s so special about that photo? Well, a couple of things, really. First of all, as First Lady, Mrs. Obama’s public image was tightly-controlled, and she was rarely (if ever) photographed without a fresh-from-the-salon look, usually with her hair perfectly straight, or ever-so-slightly wavy.
So for Mrs. Obama’s fans, it’s refreshing to see her in her more relaxed, natural look.
For another thing, Mrs. Obama is African American, and African American hair has its own “look,” complete with naturally-occurring waves and crinkles and whatnot. And for the past eight years, that African American look, at least when it comes to how she wears her hair, has been absent from Mrs. Obama’s public image.
All over the internet, fans rejoiced in the fact that the former First Lady finally let her natural hair shine through.
— Dellea Copeland (@delleacopeland) April 3, 2017
— MIKA???????? (@boricuamorena27) April 3, 2017
Now, Mrs. Obama’s personal hair stylist, Johnny Wright, has opened up about that photo that has everyone talking.
Speaking to Refinery 29, Wright says that, first and foremost, that picture is real, and recent.
“That picture is recent! She just got back from vacation, I think, on Friday. I’m not sure if it was her going to the airport or coming back. But that is her, and it is recent.”
As to the how’s and why’s and other minutiae about the photo, Wright says to not read too much into it: she was probably just caught at the wrong (or, depending on your point of view, right) time.
“I guess she got in the water or something, and she didn’t feel like straightening it herself! People want a more sexy answer, but that’s really what it is. I’m not with her.”
Wright also gave an explanation of how he cared for the former First Lady’s hair while she was living and working in the White House. First and foremost, he says, he took great care to keep her hair healthy, even if that mean straightening it for the cameras.
“I’m very particular about the health of her hair. I’ve always called myself a texture specialist, and I work well with keeping hair on the head.”
He also rejects suggestions that Mrs. Obama hid her natural hair in favor of a more neutral look that she could present to the public.
“For the looks she was going for and the stories she wanted to tell, I styled her hair straight. There wasn’t any lack of embracing her curls. It’s just what she wanted to do.”
And as for day-to-day use, when the cameras aren’t on her and she’s just hanging out at home, doing her thing, Wright says that Mrs. Obama does what a lot of women, African American or otherwise, do when their hair is the least of their worries: she puts it up in a pony tail.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]