There are some celebrities who have a "signature look" — like J.Lo's glow, Kim Kardashian's contour, or Gwen Stefani's red lip. But Taraji P. Henson can't be pinned down to one aesthetic. On any given week, you'll see her in glam Hollywood waves, a long wrapped ponytail, or a sharp angled bob... and it's all thanks to her mane man, Tym Wallace. Three years ago, he blew her away while doing her hair on the set of Acrimony, and Henson solidified the relationship with four words: "You belong to me." Wallace happily obliged, and they've been a match made in hair heaven ever since. Ahead, learn about how he and Taraji got so close, the products he swears by, and all the wigs he carries in his 70-pound kit.
His Big Break
"I never really thought that I would do hair; I thought that I wanted to be a lawyer. But I had a childhood friend whose mom did hair, and I always noticed how her clients’ demeanor changed after their appointment was done. Eventually, I went to hair school and fell in love. My teachers at school always told me they saw me in Hollywood. I wanted to get there, too. I paid attention to every celebrity and fashion magazine, and patterned my career after what I saw.
"My first break was NeNe Leakes, when she needed her hair done in Chicago (where I was born and raised). From there, I started working [on the set of] Love & Hip Hop: New York. I worked the Atlanta reunions, too. Even though I knew it wasn’t my aesthetic, it was building content, building skills, building my portfolio. One of the cast members from New York introduced me to Brandy. Then I started working with Brandy, Gabrielle Union, Nia Long, Zendaya, and more."
"I connected with Taraji through a referral. Her former wardrobe stylist, Wouri Vice, and her makeup artist, Ashunta Sheriff, became two people in the industry who took me under their wing and the relationship happened organically. I worked with her for carpet events here and there, She brought me on to film Acrimony almost three years ago. At the end of shooting, she was just like, ‘I want you full time.’ Actually it was, ‘You belong to me.’ You can’t say no to that!
"In the business, people often move from one person to the next. With Taraji, I started getting her calendars months in advance. This woman really meant what she said. And here I am about to film my fourth movie with her next week.
Making The Chop
"She hadn’t been that short — ever — in her career. She also hadn’t played with her natural [hair], even though she’s been natural for years. You never really saw it. That was a moment for me to showcase my skill, and most importantly, to show young Black women that your texture is beautiful. I still get DMs from people, and so many people took Taraji’s picture as a reference to the salon. I think people were inspired by it, and I’m proud that they were."
"On a typical day, I travel with a 70-pound kit. I'd rather be overprepared than underprepared. When I’m with Taraji, I have about three different-sized barrel curlers. I have multiple blowdryers. And you know we can’t forget the wigs! I’ve even had to condense those down, because a lot of the time they take up the bulk of the weight.
"I use everything from Moroccanoil to Paul Mitchell to Sebastian to Oribe to Creme of Nature. Whatever products I have, she has. She will shampoo, deep condition, and give herself a hot oil treatment. She can really do her hair herself. She’s a hair girl."
Setting The Tone
"During a press junket, things get really crazy. You start at 5 a.m. and if it's an in-house junket, you're going from room to room. I try to do as much as I can without being overbearing. A red carpet event is a lot slower and a lot easier. Typically, I get two and a half hours when I'm not pressed for time. Do we need all that time? Absolutely not.
"Typically when I'm styling her, we play tons of music. If I find a new album, I'll send it to the group chat, and vice versa. Or she'll find a new album and she'll just play it and let us hear it. She's introduced me to so many new artists. I'm sure when I see her, we'll definitely be listening to Cardi B. We played the Black Panther soundtrack a lot, too. There's always a lot of music, and always a lot of laughter. I don't think people know how funny she is, because you've never really seen her in comedic characters. She's hilarious. The whole glam squad is really like a family."