“She Wasn’t Just Going To Be Some American Girl In This Movie” Rihanna Was Adamant Her Ocean’s 8 Character Have Locs
Rihanna is turning out to be one of the most subtly woke celebrities around. While the singer may not march, protest, or make grand gestures in the public eye, she uses her platform, and beauty in particular, to make sure Black women always feel seen and heard. We learned this for sure with the Bajan star’s launch of Fenty Beauty this past fall and now her longtime hairstylist, Yusef Williams, has shared details on her look for the upcoming Ocean’s 8 movie and why Rihanna had no interest in looking like “some American girl” in the flick.
It was two years ago that we spotted Rih Rih with those gorgeous butt-length locs in New York City, but it’s only now that we know the hair change was for the heist comedy series and not just a random new ‘do. Rihanna plays the character Nine Ball in the movie, and when it came to choosing to give her faux locs, Yusef told Refinery 29, “We thought it would be strong. Her locs would maintain that tie to Africa. She’d keep her accent. She wasn’t just going to be some American girl in this movie. Nine Ball is still a Caribbean girl that just happens to be in America.”
When it came to planning meetings and figuring out just who Nine Ball was and what she would look like, locs were something they always wanted to do, Yusef explained.
“Production gave us a lot of freedom to create her character visually and play with her look. Gary [the director] and wardrobe trusted that we would just nail it. We wanted this girl to be cool, chill, and very minimal. She would wear the same things over and over again. But I think the one thing she probably cared about the most was her hair. When people have locs, it’s kind of like their crown. It’s their pride and joy. It’s like a flower… you gotta nourish it and watch it grow. Hair played a really big part in who Nine Ball came to be.”
Lots of women will no doubt be looking to recreate Rihanna’s loc look when Ocean’s 8 hits theaters this Friday and Yusef gave out a few tips for creating the look and protecting your own hair while rocking faux locs.
“We didn’t use Marley hair, which is a little bit more refined, pretty. Instead, we went with a kinkier, looser textured hair for a reggae feel. We didn’t do too much parting, either; when you start to part and make sections, the hair becomes a little bit unrealistic. We haven’t relaxed Rih’s hair for years now, so we wanted a lighter, natural-textured hair to match,” he explained.
“We used tons of Shea butter and black seed oil to keep her hair strong. Those are our go-to’s: olive oil, lotion, anything to keep the hair moisturized. For her edges, I used a lot of black seed oil. I’ll mix that with a little bit of gel or pomade and then smooth them up… also letting them kind of curl up when they wanted to, just to create that realness.
“After the hair is braided, I like to soften it up by soaking it in apple cider vinegar, hot water, and then drying it so it can have a little bit of movement to it. And then we wrap the braids. You can also braid the hair with yarn and then wrap it with the Afro hair, which makes it less heavy. We tried that towards the end, because it was just easier for her to be on set all day, robbing the Met and whatnot.”