As a fan of Issa Rae’s since the days of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, I’ve been paying close attention to her glow up. The evolution has been so inspiring and so beautiful! Season one of HBO’s Insecure was nothing short of phenomenal, a true testament of her range and talent. Issa has stepped fully into her celebrity and shown us possibilities worth dreaming of. Her style is genuine, unique, and enviable but still so true to who she is. I absolutely love her look at the 2017 Golden Globes. LOVE! You know I had to get the full breakdown.




Issa is wearing a beaded Christian Siriano gown, sparkling earrings and a clutch – the look was put together by stylist Ayanna James (@ThatsAyannaJ)and the makeup is by the amazing Joanna Simkin (@JoannaSimkin). This glorious braided double up-do is by the one and only Felicia Leatherwood (@LovingYourHair), and I had to reach out to get the scoop!



I was lucky to get hold of Felicia – if you follow her on Instagram, you know she’s an international jetsetter. But I got lucky! Here’s the details, from the celebrity hair stylist and natural hair expert herself.


“When it comes to awards shows, Issa has to be flawless from head to toe. That means I collab with the glam squad. I always choose 3 hairstyles I think would work and I add to it. I might take inspiration from a style I’ve done for that person before, and add something that makes it more iconic for the person.

The gown Ayanna chose was a white, beaded Christian Siriano gown. When Ayanna showed me the gown I thought it was like a beautiful sculpture of who Issa is. It gave a class and sophistication and I wanted the hair to follow that. The gown was the lead. The hair came after.

I wanted Issa to look sophisticated, classy, iconic and also I wanted her to still be a naturalista, to keep her in the natural way. She’s not fussy, which makes it very easy for me to create some of the most beautiful works of art on her.

Issa’s updo styles are inspired by her facial features – the shape of her eyes, the shape of her jaw line, her cheekbones, all allow me to create those styles and accentuate every style I give her.

What I used was simple – honestly, I used maybe 4 things to create this hairstyle.

I detangled using my detangle brush.

I used Curls Blueberry Bliss edge control paste on her edges, her hair loves it!

I used Wonder Curl’s Butter Than Love whipped on her hair to smooth it

I always use LRC leave in conditioner as a heat protectant before using a hairdryer.

I lightly blew it out, used a cool setting and just stretched it. There’s no pressing, nothing used over 100 degrees, which really doesn’t count as heat. Issa’s texture is like a 4a, curly kinky. I used the direct attachment and lightly stretched the hair, at the time her hair was slightly wet.

Then I did 3 ponytails and pulled them to the center and I used synthetic kanekelon hair and I twisted it like a rope and created my updos by using lots and lots and lots of hair pins. I finished it with L’Oreal Ellnet satin hairspray, my favorite hair spray.”

#hairbyfelicialeatherwood #goldenglobeawards #issarae #nominee #congratulations #insecure #grateful #naturalhairstyles #naturalhair #noheat

A photo posted by Felicia Leatherwood (@lovingyourhair) on

Felicia has advice for anyone looking to create similar styles on themselves for a special occasion – wedding, prom, anywhere you need to slay with your natural hair. “For special occasions, I want women to be open to having at least 3 hairstyles in case the first one doesn’t work out. You can take a style you love and just build on the hairstyle. Issa’s hair is a medium/short length, but I can look at her hair, break down a style in components and build on the style, component by component.” If you look at this style, you can see what she means!

Today has been a special day. Not only was our favorite funny girl @issarae nominated for a #GlodenGlobeAward, but she hit the red carpet looking stunning. Although I’ve been fighting the worst cold ever, I was able to slay her hair along with a fabulous glam team of @joannasimkin – makeup? and @thatsayannaj – wardrobe stylist. Together we were proud to watch Ms. Rae walk out of the door on her way to the globes. You are magical @issarae and the world is proud of what you’ve accomplished. #blackgirlmagic #sohappyforyou #hairbyfelicialeatherwood #naturalhair #idohair #goldenglobeawards #redcarpet

A video posted by Felicia Leatherwood (@lovingyourhair) on

Thanks for the breakdown, Felicia! You can check her out on Twitter and Instagram.

Follow Issa Rae on Twitter and Instagram and click here to visit the official Insecure site – can’t wait for season 2, to see what styles Issa rocks next!


pets says:
January 10, 2017, 9:41 am
Beautiful gown and hair. Issa Rae's smile is infectious and mischievous. Well written post. Thanks for this.
Carey says:
January 10, 2017, 3:23 pm
Wonderful article! I've been a fan of Ms. Leatherwood foe years. I imagine her hands working as she creates masterpieces like Ms. Rae's. I can't wait to read more about Ms. Leatherwood's work.
Kiss & Make-up says:
January 12, 2017, 4:26 am
Such a fun updo!
DLPWrites says:
January 18, 2017, 9:18 pm
Wow, I'd never given much thought to awards day hair. Obviously, I know that it takes work and probably several people but to learn that the hair stylist considers so many elements in preparation is amazing. My hands and brain never agree on what to do with my own natural hair but seeing something so beautiful broken down so simply almost makes me think I could accomplish it. Almost. Still, I'm happy to know Leatherwood's social media information so that I can scope out more tips.