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Monaé Everett’s client list reads like a who's who of A-list celebrities: Michelle Obama, Serena and Venus Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Mariah Carey, Viola Davis, Connie Britton. She was one of the artists featured on Season 12 of “Project Runway and won Celebrity Hairstylist of the Year, let's learn more about her journey and how she got to where she is today.

NaturallyCurly: What made you decide to become a stylist?

Monae: I was always very opinionated about my own hair, and other people’s hairstyles. Other people would say “You shouldn’t judge if you can’t do better.” I took that as a personal challenge, and decided to enroll in cosmetology classes while in high school. I thought it would be exciting and lucrative to style hair while I was studying at my university. Little did I know I would fall in love with the beauty industry and would choose to remain a hairstylist after graduating college.

NaturallyCurly: What made you decide to specialize in texture?

Monae: Since 65 percent of the world has textured hair, I found that most of my clients have wavy, curly and coily hair. In the beginning of my career, many people wanted to find the easy and healthy ways to straighten their hair. Overtime, more and more clients sought guidance in styling and maintaining their natural hair texture. 

Once I began focusing on working with celebrities and beauty brands, I learned that many hairstylists lacked the confidence and skill needed to provide textured-hair services to this high-end clientele. Many celebs, just like the everyday woman, want the freedom to style their natural hair and to look as beautiful sexy, and professional as their counterparts. I was happy to step into a position that allows textured styles to take center stage and set the trends.

NaturallyCurly: How would you describe your technique?

Monae: My technique is how I define the curls. I love beautiful hair and I find ways to create beautiful styles while keeping the strands healthy. When I am defining curls, I do the rake & shake technique. I find that this technique ensures each strand is evenly coated with water, moisture and products to produce an equal amount of luster and hold.

NaturallyCurly: How have you honed your technique over the years?

Monae: Over the years, my technique has changed to adapt to understanding how hair can be a political statement on beauty norms and how people are viewing their own individual beauty. I’ve mastered how to accentuate all textures from straight, wavy, curly, or coily texture. I’ve done this through having conversations with my models/clients about their hair and learning quick and painless styling techniques.

NaturallyCurly: You work on a lot of photo shoots, video shoots, etc. How do you create the looks? 

Monae: I start by figuring out what the client needs. I then talk to the model about the way she feels best wearing her hair. I make sure that whatever shape I create with the hair is done using products that care for and strengthen her hair at the same time.

NaturallyCurly: You work with a wide variety of textures. What are some of the different considerations when working with looser waves rather than tight coils?

Monae: Many times, with waves, I must focus on creating volume and fullness. If I allow the waves to sit closer to the head, it can look old fashioned and less styled. With coily hair I strive to ensure that the hair isn’t so wide that it takes over the screen or looks separate from the head. In both cases, the hair should accentuate the features of the model’s face without competing for attention in the photo or video.

NaturallyCury: Do you have a favorite textured-hair look you created? If so, what was it?

Monae: I love creating a “beanstalk” ponytails. It’s a great style that draws attention to the texture, fullness, and definition of curly hair.

NaturallyCurly: Do you have a curl crush? 

Monae: My current Curl Crush is Yara Shahidi! I was over the moon when given the opportunity to work with her and style those beautiful curls. I am also a huge fan of Daniella Perkins’ curls So it’s always a pleasure when I get to style her ringlets. I can’t wait to get the opportunity to style Teyonah Paris. And of course, Tracee Ellis Ross.

NaturallyCurly: Can you share a few of your favorite curl tips - things curly girl can do at home (clipping a certain way, styling a certain way, scrunching, etc.) 

Monae:

  • When drying curly hair, many times I use a heat sock on my blow dryer. The heat sock is even less invasive than a diffuser, if you happen to touch curls with the heat sock it’s less likely to frizz. 
  • Since I love voluminous hair, I always use a blow dryer to lift the root of the curls at the crown. It gives a shuttle amount of lift.

NaturallyCurly: A lot of you styles involve using heat. What are your tips to protect hair from heat damage?

Monae: I use heat on many of my clients as a method to speed of the drying process and alter their curl pattern for the desired look. Every product that I use on the hair before thermal styling must have a thermal protectant. I layer thermal protectants because the hair’s health is the most important aspect of styling. I also avoid blow drying the hair completely straight if I am going to curl the hair.

NaturallyCurly: Who are some of the stylists who inspire you most?

Monae: My fellow hairstylist inspirations include Tippi Shorter, Ursula Stephen, Greggory Patterson, Micheal Dueñas, Tymothe Wallace, Michelle O’Connor, Sharon Blain, oh so many more. I’m really excited about where hairstyling is going and the popularity and camaraderie among hair stylists.