Photo: Courtesy of Michael Dueñas.
So, of course, we reached out to Dueñas to see exactly how he made the dancers in the videos Queen-Bey-worthy (no, he did not style B herself). Turns out, the process was, unsurprisingly, very last-minute. "For "Grown Woman", I received a story board the day or so before, and it was all African-tribal-themed," says Michael. "I jumped on a conference call with the director, B’s team, and my other team members to discuss the direction and go through each look and what we were going to do for each dancer." The answer? Braids — a lot of them.
Says the stylist, "A few friends and I sat at my house making all the braids the team and I would need for the music video. We pre-braided so much hair — large braids, small braids, all different colors." On the day of, Dueñas and his team worked their butts off to create elaborate, sculptural braided 'dos that made each dancer stand out in a unique way. "We started with the girls' natural hair, and braided it to make the hair as big as possible. Then, we used their natural hair to create the base for the extensions we braided. The goal was to make big, intricate hair."
We assumed that Dueñas and his team used fillers to create all of that badass volume, but the stylist assured us that all of that texture was simply the result of strategic braiding. "The height and volume of each style depended on how tight or loose the braid was. We wanted everything big, so we just let our imagination take us wherever it wanted, creating all different shapes and beehives. We really wanted a modern look that stood out."
Michael recalls the nerve-racking moment when all of the hairstyles were complete, and the girls went out to do their thing. Thankfully, the director, and Beyoncé herself, loved the looks. Says Dueñas, "Do you know how good that feels? B saying she loved it?!" Oh, friend, we can imagine!
"The night before the shoot, I got the call sheet and story board — no conference call, just a ton of running around frantically to try and find a wig for one of the girls," says Michael. "But, it was 9:30 p.m. Do you know how hard it is to find a wig at 9:30 p.m.? I paid a place to stay open later, and got one. And, of course, we didn't even end up needing it — all of the girls had great hair!"
To get a look that, as Dueñas explains, was "all about sex appeal," the stylist curled Smalls' glamorous waves with a 1 1/4 inch curling iron, and placed the curls into a roller set (the stylist prepped her hair with OSiS Grip and OSiS Elastic to keep the curls perfect all day). For Chanel Iman's kinkier, more free-flowing waves, the stylist used Grip again, and used a 1/2 inch curling iron to create the waves. To finish, the stylist "stretched and dishelved" the waves using a Mason Pearson brush and a blowdryer.
And, did Beyoncé approve? Thankfully, once again, Dueñas got the A-okay — not that we're surprised! Hey, Michael...can you get us an intro?
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