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Rihanna’s hairstylist reveals why she asked to wear dreadlocks for Ocean’s 8

‘When people have locs, it’s kind of like their crown’

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 05 June 2018 09:44 BST
Teaser trailer for Ocean's 8

Next week cinemagoers will have the opportunity to witness Rihanna in action as the tech-savvy "Nine Ball" when Ocean’s 8 is released in the UK on June 18.

The visual elements of Rihanna’s character played a huge part in formulating her identity, with the singer’s choice of hairstyle being particularly integral.

Rihanna’s trusted hairstylist Yusef Williams has gone into detail explaining why it was so significant for Nine Ball to wear her hair in dreadlocks during the heist film, upon the specific request of the "Wild Thoughts" singer.

According to Williams, Rihanna felt strongly about being representative of her Caribbean roots.

“Her locks would maintain that tie to Africa,” he told Refinery29.

“She’d keep her accent. She wasn’t just going to be some American girl in this movie.

“Nine Ball is still a Caribbean girl that just happens to be in America.”

Before filming for Ocean’s 8 began, Williams and Rihanna sat down for a meeting with the film’s director Gary Ross to discuss their visual concepts for the character.

Williams stated that their aim was for Nine Ball to be “cool, chill and very minimal”.

However, her defining feature would undoubtedly be her hair.

“When people have locs, it’s kind of like their crown,” Williams said. “It’s their pride and joy.

“It’s like a flower… you gotta nourish it and watch it grow. Hair played a really big part in who Nine Ball came to be.”

Williams and his team of assistants wanted Rihanna’s dreadlocks to have a loose, reggae look, using Shea butter and black seed oil to maintain her hair’s strength.

The locs had to be thinned out during filming, as Rihanna’s hair wouldn’t have been strong enough to carry the weight of it otherwise.

While someone who’s grown dreadlocks their whole life may have been able to manage with the volume of the locs, it would have been far more difficult for the singer, who was given what Williams described as “12 years of locs” overnight.

“It was probably the easiest style she’s ever had, since she got to be free and cool and see herself differently,” he said.

“She’s a huge pop star, and then we kind of stripped her down and gave her locs that we didn’t make super, super pretty. She made them glamorous when she wanted, and then super casual when she wanted.”

Williams has assured that Rihanna will wear her hair in dreadlocks again in future.

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