Created by her longtime hairstylist Johnny Wright, the First Lady’s hairdo tumbled slightly below her shoulders with side-swept bangs and loose curls. It was an evolution of a look that premiered at the State of the Union address earlier this year.
“I may have made it a little more piece-y [Monday]. It’s one of my favorite styles to do. It has an effortless feel to it,” Wright said. “It has class. It gives you a little bit of everything all in one, and she is able to tell several stories when it comes to her look.”
Compared to the hairstyles Wright gave Obama for the conventions in 2008 and 2012, the latest convention coif was longer. She paired the hairdo with a cobalt blue Christian Siriano dress and statement earrings.
“It has grown a tremendous amount over the past eight years. One thing that contributed to that was us going natural and moving away from chemicals,” Wright said of Obama’s lengthy hair. “I have felt that, for a women with her schedule that’s getting her hair done quite often, it’s better when it’s healthier, and it’s healthier when it’s natural. Because of that, it’s been able to grow out longer with the natural hair instead of relaxer.”
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Wright gravitates to bangs on Obama because he believes they’re a flattering accent to her face. He doesn’t follow trends or aim to generate them when styling her hair, bangs or no bangs. Instead, he commented he considers the overall silhouette more than jumping on fads.
“I love the bangs. The very first time I cut the bangs was right after the second campaign. The campaign year was so intense. We were all over the country, and her hair took a beating from blow-drying. Because you reach for the front when you start styling the hair — at least I do — that was the most damaged part. A lot of people were thinking she wanted to start a trend, and it took flight,” Wright said. “I remember being in the salon a couple of weeks after the second inauguration when she showed her bangs, and I had about five clients wanting bangs.”
A novice at political plaits during the convention eight years ago, Wright’s experience is very different at the current convention. “Back in 2008, I remember being very overwhelmed being a part of the political world. I came from a celebrity background. I was backstage at the Oscars and the Grammys, but the political world is 100 percent different. I was afraid I wasn’t going to do the right thing,” he recounted. “I did take a moment [Monday] to reflect on that time. Eight years later, my nerves are not an issue at all. It’s no pressure to make her look a certain way because I pretty much have mastered her look in my mind.”
On Monday evening, Wright was backstage while Obama addressed the crowd. “I wanted to go to the audience and watch it with everybody, but it happened so quickly, and I didn’t want to miss any of it,” he said. “I was teary-eyed. It was such a great speech. I thought she made the case for Hillary.”
Whether it’s Bill Clinton or Melania Trump who becomes first spouse, Wright is exiting Washington, D.C., when the Obama administration ends. He’s most likely returning to Los Angeles, where he lived prior to relocating to the capital. Wright said, “It will be bittersweet but more sweet than bitter. There will be a little bit of missing it, but I’m very excited to do whatever is next in my life and move on to other things.”