Iggy Azalea's hair stylist, Motions Celebrity Hair Stylist Ursula Stephen, is no stranger to a red carpet braid moment. She's the one responsible for Rihanna's long, red braid back at the 2011 Met Gala, so she's definitely not afraid to plait.
When Iggy Azalea hit the Grammys red carpet on Sunday, the Internet went nuts over her dramatic crown braid, which was the brainchild of Stephen; Heidi and challah were the two most frequent comparisons. I like hair that looks like things, though, and the more I started really analyzing this braid, the more I enjoyed it. It's a wonder of hair architecture. Shortly after the style made its debut, Stephen took a few minutes to chat with me on the phone from L.A. about Azalea's look.
You've been doing a lot of braids on Iggy lately.
I've been doing a lot of braids in general. They're trending and Iggy looks really good with braids. She really likes braids and likes her hair away from her face. It's been a challenge — in a good way — for me to come up with different and fun ways to put her hair up besides just an average ponytail. When I saw the dress, I thought it was amazing but it's a really classic, simple silhouette. I didn't want to go with something predictable like a simple bun or a side chignon. I wanted to give it a little personality.
So how did you do it?
I split the hair in two and did two cornrows going upward. What took a little time is shaping it. After I braided it, I pulled on segments of the braid to puff it out. I wanted to give it more of an editorial feel and mess it up a little bit and show the segments. I wanted her to feel regal and elegant and queen-like. That was my vision.
Is it wrapped in the front? I don't see the ends.
That was my challenge: to make sure you don't see where it started and finished. I wanted it to look like one piece. I overlapped it and tucked it underneath and pinned it. When I puffed it out, I could hide the ends of the braids. I used Motions Light Hold Working Spritz to keep it in the whole night. It's not stiff, so she can take it out easily.
People are saying it looks like a crown, or Heidi, or challah bread. What do you think about feedback like that?
It doesn't bother me. They're talking and paying attention! A lot of girls are wearing halo and crown braids. It's right on trend. I love it. I'm a hair stylist, so I see things in shapes and illusions. I like to create shapes. Kelly Osbourne's stylist [Ryan Randall] did an amazing french roll on her and then he put it next to a picture of a croissant, because it looked like a croissant. But it still looked amazing! It's not a bad thing.
This interview has been edited and condensed.