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Michelle Obama’s Hairstylist Says the Former First Lady Has ‘Always Embraced’ Her Natural Hair

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Michelle Obama‘s longtime hairstylist says the first lady has “always embraced” her natural hair.

Social media lit up with praise after a picture surfaced that showed Obama wearing her natural hair in public for what would be the first time since she became a first lady. In an interview with Refinery29, hairstylist Johnny Wright, who has worked with the former first lady for over eight years, said the picture was real — and was taken recently.

“She just got back from vacation, I think, on Friday. I’m not sure if it was her going to the airport or coming back. But that is her, and it is recent,” Wright told Refinery29.

Wright declined to comment to Motto. A spokesperson for Obama did not immediately respond to Motto‘s request for comment.

Many on social media praised Obama for rocking her natural hair and some added that they wished they would have seen her do this during her time in the White House. But Wright told Refinery29 that Obama has always “embraced” her natural hair and that they never had a conversation about whether she should wear her curls while in office.

“For the looks she was going for and the stories she wanted to tell, I styled her hair straight. There wasn’t any lack of embracing her curls. It’s just what she wanted to do,” he said. “You can’t dictate the way you want to tell your story through your aesthetic by what the backlash would or wouldn’t be.”

Read the full interview at Refinery29.


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Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com