Meet Felicia Leatherwood

If you’re like me, you’ve been noticing Jill Scott’s triumphant return to the spotlight. First she appeared at the NAACP Image Awards and got everyone abuzz about her gorgeous glow and amazing new hairstyle.

Then she did it AGAIN at the premiere of Why Did I Get Married Too.

Jill’s new style has been turning heads, but the woman behind the style has remained mostly behind the scenes.

Until now.

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Bellas, meet Felicia Leatherwood — natural hair specialist, founder of the Loving Your Hair With Natural Care Workshop. She’s more than just a celebrity hairstylist, she’s an artist who takes natural hair seriously. And she wanted to exclusively share her story with Afrobella.com, YAY!


I caught up with Felicia on the phone as she headed to an important client appointment in Los Angeles, where she’s based. Felicia first explained that her relationship with Jill Scott isn’t a recent phenomenon. “I’ve worked with Jill – it’s been like 6 years. But it was off and on. Then I got a call in January when she did Chelsea Handler’s show – I did her fro but wasn’t able to get creative with it. But then I got a call a week or two later for the NAACP Awards, and we wanted to do something unique,” she explains.

Jill isn’t Felicia’s first celebrity client, but she has gotten the most attention from the media and from eager natural hair enthusiasts.

“I worked with Anthony Anderson when he wore his hair twisted up, I worked with Will Smith after Bagger Vance and before Ali. For a while he was wearing his hair in cornrows. But I can’t find any photos online from that time,” Felicia muses. “I’ve been working this whole time, but I never looked at what people had to say about my work until Jill. I can’t believe how many people are talking about her hair!”

Jill Scott NAACP Awards

[Photos via ClutchMagOnline.com. See more at BVHairTalk.com]

For the NAACP Awards, Jill had a particular style idea. “She wanted something that looked classy, beautiful and diva-ish,” says Felicia. But for the more recent style for her movie premiere, Felicia was given more artistic leeway.

“The new one for Why Did I Get Married Too, I created a unique look for her, and she loved it!”

Jill Scott Why Did I Get Married Too

[Photo from FashionBombDaily.com]

Felicia was totally right! Jill looked stunning on the red carpet. And her hair was a work of art — that was Felicia’s intention.

“I’m 41 now and I really get to appreciate what I do. It’s no longer about how many clients I can have or money I can make. Now it’s about how much I appreciate my work. I get the opportunity to play. You can do anything to Jill Scott and she looks great. She’s my Barbie. I’m loving it!”

Hairstyling is no longer about mere commerce for Felicia, her techniques are her art. And she explains that like a true artist, she’d be unable to exactly replicate one of Jill’s intricate styles.

“Its like a painter – he may be able to paint a close replica, but he won’t be able to perfectly recapture the essence of what he did the first time around,” she explains. But I still got her to explain step by step how she created the style, and bellas – she recommends that you go to a professional to do this sort of thing!

“Its a combination of hairstyles — cornrows and two strand twists. If you’re good at cornrows, get one side perfect. Then the other side, you double strand twist with a little bit of Miss jessie’s, sit under the dryer and let it dry, then untwist a little and you’re good to go!”

When working on a look for Jill, Felicia considers all the angles. “I have my own way of doing the hair. I have lots of friends in the industry, we each have our own style. My signature style is soft and sexy. I need to work with the clothes. I need to see what she’s wearing . I like to match everything from the makeup to the clothes if possible. I get in touch with the stylist or the assistant to find out what color. And that determines the look,” she explains.

It is Felicia’s preference to do styles that can be used in a versatile manner to get the most wear out of a style.

“I like two in one hairdos. If I can get a hairstyle and flip it to get two or three different styles, even better!” She just did that with a trio of media appearances Jill made. “On CNN, Joy Behar and Jimmy Fallon, we flipped it three different ways. I used a flower in her hair to give her a Billie Holiday vibe on CNN. Like in the Golden video when I put the yellow flower. It takes the style somewhere different.”

After doing intricate styles, Felicia is especially careful with her client’s hair.

“I am really into caring for the hair – after the movie premiere I didn’t want the cornrows pulling. I did use some added hair in that style. We use it because it’s entertainment – people are looking for what’s new, what’s hot, and what will stand out on the red carpet. That’s the field we’re in, we’re entertainers. So on stage, on the TV…many of your favorite entertainers are wearing added hair.”

So in case you were wondering, there you go. Jill Scott wears her hair in a natural style, but being an entertainer she does sometimes use artificial hair to enhance her look.

I had to ask Felicia — which products are your favorites? And I was happy to hear that Jill Scott and I share a favorite.

“I use Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding or Buttercreme on Jill, and I use this is an amazing product, you have to try it – LRC concepts. It’s got no parabens, and it’s just incredible. I like Kinky Curly and Mixed Chicks on my mixed hair clients,” she says. On her site, she offers a detailed shopping list for natural hair’s specific needs.

Felicia has a certain approach to working with natural hair. It’s very nurturing and very loving. “I work a lot with afros and kinky curly hair. I do not use the word nappy – I think it’s derogatory. Our hair has energy. You may notice it’ll stop growing if you’re going to one stylist, and if you switch to someone else, all of a sudden it’ll start growing again. I believe that’s because of their positive energy. So speak kindly to your hair. Dont say bad things to it or about it. Love it!”

Felicia is a stylist who works by appointment only — if you want to reach her, contact her through her Facebook page Loving Your Hair With Natural Hair Workshop. And as the name would indicate — she is offering a natural hair workshop that’s traveling throughout the US. And she’s coming soon to Chicago! “I want to encourage the women of Chicago to embrace their natural beauty. I do it because I love to give the information to people.” Admission to her event will be $25, and you can watch this space for further details.

Talking with Felicia was wonderful – she is a warm, humble, friendly and spiritual person with wisdom to impart. I really really hope to meet her when she comes to Chicago, and I hope to interview her again in the future!!

Be sure to join her Facebook page Loving Your Hair With Natural Hair Workshop – let her know Afrobella sent ya!

Thanks for everything, Felicia – natural hair lovers appreciate what you’re doing SO much. Keep the inspiration coming!!

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Comments

  1. she seems like a lovely woman :D

    I’ll be looking out for more of her work in the future..

  2. She hooked my girl up! Thank you for introducing her to us.

  3. This lady has a lot to offer African American woman and she’s making great strides in our hair. I can’t wait to try the LRC products she suggested! Thanks for introducing us to Ray

  4. Didn’t Felicia have a salon in L.A. at one point?

    She’s fantastic.

    Jill’s hair looks healthy and beautiful.

  5. Jill does look fantastic. I mean, she always has, but now she’s been turning it up to 11. Good to know who’s responsible! And Ms. Leatherwood is radiant-looking herself. Love her locs.

  6. Charrise says:

    I loved Jill’s hair! She looked so great (she was working that dress!) i want to get my hair done this way.

    Sadly I cannot cornrow so I cannot do it on my own.

  7. Natasha Johnson says:

    Feilicia, is not just a stylist, she is a hair and spiritual guru. She has been doing my hair for years. She started doing my hair after someone else had died fried and laid it to the side one too many times. My hairs is so thick and long now everyone thinks its a weave. Her spiritual hands and words of guidnance not only made me love and wanna touch my “nappy hair” for the first time I see it for how beautiful and precious it is. Felicia told me Im lucky to have my tight curls and kinks. She works my kinky curls like Michael Angelo sculpted the clay that became David.

  8. Hey Fe- Wonderful article! I loved it and I love you…this is just the beginning my dear :)

  9. I appreciate this article in it’s entirity. I also loved her explanation about natural women who wear natural looking weaves as entertainers. I think we sometimes expect way too much of our fav celebrities. Meanwhile, not many of us could take a graceful walk in their shoes. I def couldn’t. I hope Ms. Leatherwood visits Chicago and I LOVE the tips she provides. Her shopping list on facebook is helpful because I am searching for a new conditioner and leave in.

  10. Great interview! Felicia has beautiful locs. Jill’s hair has been looking extra good recently and I was wondering about who was doing it for her.

  11. Great article! Felicia’s work is outstanding and I like that she uses’s products that are paraben free like the LRC line mentioned.

  12. I love to see hair and hairstyles that work. Hair works when it’s stylish, flattering, and healthy. Jill’s hair is all three and I love hair stylists who are caring, creative and are sensitive to energy. Hair care and any care in particular is more than just the physical and I’m so glad Felicia is sharing her gifts, knowledge & skills with us. I’ve had the honor of having Felicia style my hair in the past and look forward to having her healing hands in my hair at the end of the month. Thanks Jill & thanks Felicia for being divine inspiration!

  13. she sounds like a nice stylist – I just don’t understand why all so called professionals always say – seek professional to do xyz style. If it can be achived by self or by a friend why not.

    anyway she is creative and Jill Scotts hair looks gorgeous

  14. I just wish they let Jill wear her real hair in Why Did I Get Married I and II. Those wigs were atrocious. And in the second movie, I noticed several flubs. Quick lunch meeting with a loosely curled wig, supposed walk around the corner for dinner and now she has almost shirley temple curls. SMH. This hair, on the other hand, is GORGEOUS!

  15. I just love it when we show the natural beauty of our hair. Nobody can continue to say that u can’t do things with natural hair. Felicia is going hard and Jill is definitely rockin those dos!

  16. Thank you for this interview. She is an inspiration for sure and I would love to attend one of her work shops!

  17. Felicia has put two very natural looking and stunning sewn in weaves in my hair. She is truly a gifted hair artist. The only thing more delightful than her styling skills is her amazing spirit. She gives me A-list celebrity looking hair without the A list celebrity stylist attitude! I simply sit in her chair and enjoy an enlightening conversation with this humble being and before I know it my hair has been thoroughly nurtured and beautifully transformed.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] I loved to see Jill Scott recently with her hair in a fearsome afro cornrow style.  Embracing natural hair is definitely in, and I’m glad to see women of color embrace their natural locks.  A woman with natural hair myself  I was happy to see Stylist Felicia Leatherwood lets us in on her secrets to taking care of the hair you were born with, check out the full article here. [...]

  2. [...] even right here on BVHairTalk.com, many of you expressed admiration for her style. Recently her stylist Felicia Leatherwood did a lengthy interview over on Afrobella.com where she explained how to achieve the kind of intricate styles seen of late on Jilly from [...]

  3. [...] Remember my interview with Felicia Leatherwood, natural stylist to stars like Jill Scott, and creator of the Loving Your Hair With Natural Care Workshop? [...]

  4. [...] = 'afrobella';From the minute I interviewed Felicia Leatherwood, I had a feeling that we’d get along really great if we met in person. At the time I had no [...]

  5. [...] Leute, das Haar Event des Jahres, und zwar- mit Felicia Leatherwood, ja- die Felicia Leatherwood von den Loving your Hair with Natural Care workshops. Diesmal findet [...]

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