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Deva Inspired Stylist Yene Damtew Used DevaCurl for Michelle Obama’s Iconic Curls at Essence Fest

True story: When we heard Michelle Obama was appearing at Essence Fest when we were there, our team was so thrilled to have the honor of hearing her speak.

When we found out her stylist Yene Damtew used DevaCurl on Obama to style her beautiful ombre curls for the event, we were overjoyed! She is true #curlgoals (and everything goals, TBH).

We caught up with Damtew to learn how she achieved this look, chat curl trends following Essence Fest, and also discover more about her journey to becoming a Deva Inspired Stylist! Read on for our Q&A with Yene:

Q: We love the look you created on Michelle Obama at Essence Fest! Can you share what Deva products you used to achieve this look?

A: I am the cocktail queen. Love mixing some product together for the natural tresses. For the look, I started the base of the style by using my go-to DevaCurl Mist-er Right Dream Curl Refresher. This product reactivates the curls. Afterwards, I whipped up a cocktail using two products. Next, I finger-curled and diffused the hair to finish the curly look.

Q: Can you share how you met and started working with Michelle Obama?

A: I started working with the Obamas, back in 2009, focusing on the daughters primarily and it later evolved over the years. The connection was initially established by a former mentor, Johnny Wright, who was Mrs. Obama’s primary hairstylist. Ten years later, I am blessed to be her exclusive hairstylist, a mentor, and a good friend.

Q: Coming out of Essence Fest, did you spot any trends for curly textures?

A: While I was in New Orleans for my very first Essence Festival, I was in love with the array of natural hairstyles on many black women. From twist-outs to wash and gos to braided styles – it was a celebration of black women and their unique creative style. When it comes to curly hair, I believe each curl is unique and different like the women who wears it, but we are all beautiful and proud to wear our natural tresses, in any way or form. This was celebrated and evident at the 25th anniversary celebration of Essence Festival this past weekend.

Q: What are your tips for styling super curly textures in general?

A: It all depends on the client. My philosophy is, ‘You have to find the right product that works best for you and your curls.’ Just because it worked on someone else’s curls doesn’t mean that it will work best on your curls. With tighter curl patterns, I prefer to use products with a creamy texture.

Q: We are so thrilled to hear you recently earned your DevaCurl Inspired Certification! What motivated you to take the journey with us?

A: As a stylist and salon owner of Aesthetics Salon in Arlington VA, it’s important to be trained and educated in all facets of the hair care industry. I was previously familiar with cutting curly textures but I wanted to learn more about the Deva Method. Additionally, there aren’t many salons in Northern VA that do curly cuts. Today, I am proud to have a fully Deva Inspired Stylist team who are experienced and versed in styling women with highly textured hair.

Want to read more tips from our favorite stylists like Yene? Be sure to follow DevaCurl on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube for tutorials and inspiration!