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Skai Jackson DWTS

Source: Kelsey McNeal / Getty

If you’re able to make a good impression with your moves, being a participant on ABC’s hit Dancing With the Stars is a great opportunity to expose yourself to a larger audience. Singer Normani has done it. Future Emmy winner Zendaya certainly wowed people when she ended up in second place in 2013. Following in her fellow Disney alum’s footsteps, Skai Jackson has been an exciting addition to the cast for the new season, getting votes and fans of all ages with the hashtag #TeamReachForTheSkai. The 18-year-old is also stepping on the dance floor in a way that lets people know, she’s not little Skai Jackson anymore. A way to remind people of that is by ensuring she’s sporting a fun but mature, even sexy look each week that she shakes a tailfeather in front of a national audience. You can see that in the hairstyles she’s gone with thus far, from the sleek, long braid she wore during premiere week, to the big and flirty curls she rocked on Tuesday night’s episode. We talked to her hairstylist, the talented Ray Christopher, whose other clients include Zendaya, Mariah Carey, Niecy Nash and Monica. We found out how he achieved this week’s look on the former Jessie star, what styles he hopes to execute next as she fights for the Mirrorball trophy, and which looks he won’t do to avoid making her appear too young. Here’s what the Dove Hair partner and stylist had to say.

MadameNoire: Skai looked like a living doll during last night’s show! How would you describe the look you did with her hair?

Ray Christopher: I like to call it the “goddess natural.”

How did you both decide to go with the big curls and braid at the front after doing the sleek and simple braid last week?

We really wanted to bump up the look this week and woo the audience. So once I saw her outfit, I instantly knew I wanted something spicy!

How can others achieve this look? And what products did you use to get it?

I’ll let you guys in on a little secret – her hair was in a protective style in the back. I just used a curly fall for the back and in the front I used the new Dove Amplified Textures Shine & Moisture Finishing Gel to slick down and design her baby hairs. I really like this alcohol-free gel because it doubles as a styler and finishing gel, and gave her hair a light all-day hold – just what she needed for the dance floor! I finished off by spraying Dove Style + Care Compressed Micro Mist Extra Hold Hairspray to add extra volume to her hair without all the stiffness.

Skai Jackson DWTS

Source: Courtesy of Dove / Unilever

How do you see yourself experimenting with Skai’s hair if she gets to continue to compete in the weeks to come?

I have so many ideas that I am super eager to work on – from buns to ponytails and wigs. I am so excited for you guys to see her different looks each week. I predict she’ll go all the way to the end!

And one thing I’ve noticed is that you help her, along with the costumes chosen, to achieve looks that remind people she’s not a little Disney kid anymore. She’s grown! How important is that and how do you make that happen through hair?

Yes, people fail to realize that she’s 18 and trying to separate herself from that 12-year-old persona. I really just try to stay away from hairstyles that are on the younger side and style her hair in a way that lets people know she’s transitioning into a grown woman.

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