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A Naturalista’s Journey to the Met Ball!

Spoiler alert: This is not Tia Williams. I’m Simone, Vogue’s assistant bookings editor and an avid SYB babe like you! Tia asked me to share a super-glamorous hair story with you, and I can’t wait to gush – but first, I’d be remiss not to wax rhapsodic on what a fab full-circle moment this is for me! When I stumbled on SYB seven years ago as a beauty-obsessed teen, it was like discovering a gold mine. I couldn’t get enough of this gorgeous, smart, funny black girl’s take on what works on our skin and hair! Suffice it to say, those couple years without SYB were dark times.

But I digress.

And now, for the glamour! At Vogue, I book hair, makeup, and models for photo shoots. A sweet gig, especially for this fabulous perk: I got to attend the glitziest night on human record, the Costume Institute Gala — aka The Met ball. And it was everything!

Total Cinderella moment.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think lil’ ol’ Monie would walk those red-carpeted steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, swathed in a gorgeous pink Oscar de la Renta gown. I rubbed elbows with the brightest stars (including tete-a-tetes with both Rick Ross and The Wire’s Jimmy McNulty. I’m still swooning) and danced to a live performance by Bruno Mars in the middle of the Temple of Dendur. But ladies, the fairy tale almost didn’t happen.

I’m a nearly new natural gal. In an impulsive (and sometimes regrettable) move, I shaved my head about a year ago. These days I wear a low maintenance mini-afro, but I knew I’d have to step it up for the Met Ball. How, though? I’ll admit it: I’m a bad naturalista. I don’t do the pre-poos, the rinses, the stretching and all that other stuff I read about on the blogs. I want to, but I don’t have the time (I know, bad excuse). So I knew I wasn’t adept enough to create a glam ‘do befitting my glam dress! I needed a fro pro.


The bad news? My go-to salons, Hair Rules and Miss Jessie’s, were both closed on the days I needed to be styled. But two days before the ball, I had a light bulb moment: You’re a hair and makeup editor! Use your resources, dummy! After some frenzied researching, I found natural hairstylist to the stars (and now me) Lacy Redway. She hooked me up! Using a mix of Carol’s Daughter Tui Hair Oil and Kinky Curly Custard Curl Gel, she gave me a shiny, defined twist-out the likes of which my half-assed natural self had never seen before. The twist-out kept its hold for the entire night (and days after), giving me the confidence and swag I needed on that gloriously fabulous night.

SYB Babes, how do you dress up your natural ‘do for fancy events? And pleeaaase share any tips on how to navigate the intimidating world of natural self-styling. Here’s to glam twist-outs!

xo, Simone


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  1. nik
    May 30, 2012 4:35 pm 

    My gosh, this made me smile. I’m so happy you got to go.

  2. Mama Andi
    May 30, 2012 5:51 pm 

    You looked absolutely stunning! Gorgeous and pinkalicious! Your hair was perfect.

  3. Misha
    May 30, 2012 5:58 pm 


  4. Tay
    May 30, 2012 6:08 pm 

    This dress is BEAUTIFUL!

  5. May 30, 2012 6:20 pm 


  6. DrennaB
    May 31, 2012 1:23 am 

    You looked BEAUTIFUL!! My go-to style is almost always a twist out.

  7. June 4, 2012 12:28 am 

    I LOVE that dress on you! Hair, makeup, everything looks just beautiful! <3