Just like her unique sound, Janelle Monáe’s hair is the epitome of trendsetting. At the 2015 Met Gala, the Electric Lady wowed spectators on the red carpet with her gorgeous braided ‘do.
“I admire her for her uncompromising sense of style, unwavering work ethic, unmatched talent and vocal ability, and her overall unique way of approaching things,” her hairstylist, Caprice Green, says. And Monday night (May 4) was no different as the Wondaland boss slayed the red carpet at the 2015 Met Gala with her signature black and white ensemble, red lip, and ever-evolving crowning glory (that even has its own Instagram account) – her hair.
Vixen caught up with the visionary behind the most admired mane in the industry, as she talks about working with Janelle, the inspiration behind her Met Gala WondaBraid, and tips for natural hair gals.–Ashley Monaé
VIBE Vixen: Janelle Monáe is known for her killer, natural coif. What’s the best part about doing her hair?
Caprice Green: The best part of working with Janelle is Janelle. I admire her for her uncompromising sense of style, unwavering work ethic, unmatched talent and vocal ability, and her overall unique way of approaching things. I could go on about being her true fan, but I would start to sound corny. We really have fun with the whole team—myself, her makeup artist, Jessica, and her wardrobe stylist, Maeve, even though the jokes are usually on me – but that’s another interview.
How did Monáe prepare for this year’s Met Gala?
Last night was epic! We knew we had to kill it, after all it’s Met Ball – everyone walking that carpet wants to slay. It’s always a meeting of the minds with Janelle and her team that weighs in on all things style-wise. Ultimately, we acquiesce to her final opinion and so far, her gut instincts are spot on. I begin with the framework and we tweak from there. There’s also a little music and lots of laughter in between.
You also did Janelle’s hair for the gala last year. There seems to be a braid trend going on where last year’s look was more regal and this year, you went rock star chic with the cornrow and braided faux hawk. What’s the infatuation?
As far as the WondaBraid goes, we always end up naming our styles. The infatuation is really all about “natural hair” and how we can work a natural style that is still elegant and true to her already established image. I really hadn’t noticed a so-called trend until now. I think we had so many years of doing the “Classic Monae,” that now, our new classic is a braid trend.
Cute name. Who came up with it?
I named it this time. The names have come from [her producer-collaborator] Nate “Rocket” Wonder in the past, in an effort to remember what style we did for what occasion. That way if we decide to do it again with a twist, it’s easy to remember and everyone’s on the same page.
With the Met Gala’s theme honoring Chinese influence on Western fashion. What inspired Janelle’s “WondaBraid?”
When I researched the theme for this year, I sort of gravitated towards a more bad-ass chick theme, like Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She was a fighter, and rocked a few bad-ass ponytails and braid styles. The style really translates to Janelle as an artist—still natural, not fussy with a rock-star twist.
What came first: the outfit or the hair?
The outfit usually comes first, then we collab. I usually have a plethora of ideas floating around in my head that are waiting for their moment to come out.
Over the past 24 hours, everyone has been fawning over Janelle’s hair. What did you use to create this look?
To execute this look, I had a lot of help from Shea Moisture, from the shampoo to the deep condition all the way to the styling products. Basically, Shea Moisture is the answer for natural girls’ hair! Look for “Get the Janelle Monáe Met Ball Look” from @sheamoisture4u for all the details.
Speaking of natural gals, there are so many products on the market for natural hair, and it’s daunting, trying to find what actually works. What would you say are three key products to happy and healthy natural hair?
Key products for natural girls are: a good hydrating conditioner like the Honey and Mafura Oil from Shea Moisture, Jamaican Castor Oil to help keep those edges in tact, and a good styling or twisting cream like Shea’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie that gives a non-sticky finish to the hair and doesn’t weigh it down.
After Janelle’s WondaBraid, do you think braids will be trending this season?
Braid styles always circle back around, especially in the warmer months like spring and summer. Braids are an excellent way to give your hair a break from heat. They are also ideal for vacationing. With so many new styles with braids emerging, women are discovering that you can not only lead an active lifestyle with them, but they can also translate into an elegant night out.
What would be the next hairstyle you’d love to try out on Janelle?
Now if I told you what the next hair style for Janelle would be, it wouldn’t be any fun. Stay tuned!