Get ready to know the name Johnny Wright. A stylist at Frederic Fekkai, he's worked with famous beauties such as Anita Baker, Vivica A. Fox, Vanessa Williams, Selita Ebanks — and one very high-profile client, Michelle Obama. I'll share some of his easy hair tips later this week, but for now, read on to find out what's behind Michelle's style.
How did you start working with Michelle Obama?
It kind of happened on a whim, and I’ve been doing her hair now for a year. My agent out in New York booked me for her Ebony magazine shoot, and she liked it so much that she had her people book me. I actually just got a call today from her saying I’m booked with her for August a whole week — I’m going to do her hair in Denver.
Denver! Denver is important.
You know, I was very nervous with that particular booking. I was highly screened before I was even allowed to walk into her room — and I totally understand that. Whatever it took for me to be booked with her, she is a very normal person. She has two young children, and I think that her staying normal keeps them normal too. It’s just great working with her. She’s never picky; she never asks me for things I probably can’t do. She’s very understanding.
For the rest of the interview, plus a few tips on recreating Michelle's hairstyle at home, read more.
I met Senator Obama a few years ago and he was down-to-earth as well.
You know, I’ve been doing hair since I was 12 years old and I never thought that I would be in that type of world. Before this, I didn’t do anything about politics. I look at it as a blessing, because I pay attention much more now. I feel like I’m much more educated on how things go just from being with her and following the campaign.
Do you have any tips for recreating her signature hairstyle at home?
It’s pretty simple. The foundation of any hairstyle is the cut. That’s one thing we focus on doing very well here at Fekkai. With that, I am able to switch the hair into like maybe two, three different looks. We try not to give her too many different variations. People want to see her with the same style, especially when it comes to politics; there’s a lot of scrutiny when you’re in that arena.
I say go back to basics and just keep it simple. Sometimes I flat-iron her hair under, or I use a ceramic curling iron to flip it out at the ends a little bit. With a flat iron she’s going to be able to lock the moisture in the hair. Because she has to get her hair done so often, the flat iron is probably the best tool for her. For an updo, I might do some cascading curls according to how formal the event she’s attending is, but mostly I give her a clean sweep up.
Also, to keep her hair moisturized, I use the Shea Butter conditioner from Fekkai and Glossing Cream. It really keeps the hair moisturized. And Fekkai Coiff Anti-Frizz creme is excellent for that. It's probably one of my favorite products.