10 Minutes With Celebrity Hairstylist Ursula Stephen
You all know that we can’t get enough of Rihanna. (That hair, those clothes!) So, I was super psyched to finally catch up with her amazing hairstylist Ursula Stephen in between her crazy, non-stop traveling schedule.
Here’s what she had to say:
Glamazon Andrea: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not busy traveling?
Ursula: Shopping, eating.
Glamazon Andrea: Where do you like to eat at?
Ursula: Where do I like to eat? Oh my god! I like everything. Right now, I’m really hooked on this one Thai restaurant in Brooklyn. And all I eat from there is calamari. I have spots in the city like obviously Philippe Chow’s and, you know, it changes. Whatever I crave when I’m away and I can’t really get it, I always try to get it when I’m home.
Glamazon Andrea: But, when you’re home, what is your favorite thing to do? Because you’re always traveling.
Ursula: I definitely love to catch up with friends. It was hard for me at first, but now I’m definitely getting back into it because I was always like I’m so tired. I gotta sleep for two days. But now I’m really trying to go out with my friends again. Just going out. Trying to do sociable things. Comedy shows. You know, whatever. Just doing whatever.
Glamazon Andrea: What is your favorite thing about being on the road so much?
Ursula: The one favorite thing is actually shopping. Because you get to find different things. That’s fun. I actually do like room service. [laughing] And it’s funny because we went to Korea and we had to do this thing with Rihanna where they like, follow her on the street and we didn’t even realize that we were like on this street with like crazy vintage stores. And we found some dope things! Meeting different people is always good, too.
Glamazon Andrea: Do you speak any other languages?
Ursula: No. I don’t.
Glamazon Andrea: Have you ever thought about looking into it since you’ve been all over the world?
Ursula: I do, but then you get there and you have a translator and people are trying to speak English so there’s really no need. I know how to say “hello” in many different languages, obviously, but I don’t really know how to speak in full conversations.
Glamazon Andrea: So, out of all the hairstyles that you’ve created for Rihanna, what’s your favorite one?
Ursula: Oooo. My favorite would be, I think, maybe her American Music Awards hairstyle. There’s a couple of them that I really liked. Oh! I liked the one at the Video Music Awards, about three years ago, when she had on the hot pink dress and she had like a bob. That’s one of my favorites because I got to cut like crazy and that was fun.
Glamazon Andrea: What do you like most about working on celebrity clients? When you start, do you look at their outfits first, do you work with the stylists?
Ursula: It’s so different every time. It could be the outfit, or the hair first. It depends on what we’re doing as well. Like, if we’re doing a video there’s usually a direction that we’re going in.
Like when we did ‘Rude Boy’ it was a Jamaican pinup. So, that was our direction.
Glamazon Andrea: Was that fun?! P.S. That video was hot!
Ursula: Yeah, that was one of the most fun video that we’ve done. Everytime we did do a video, it was always more realistic hair and makeup and just real life stuff. So, we finally got a chance to like do more characters. Like [Rihanna] wore a red wig and even though I’m known for changing up her hair so much, it’s still basically short, funky, edgy. This time, I got to take it to a whole other level. Like the whole puff that we did, the wig. It was fun!
Glamazon Andrea: So, what’s next for you?
Ursula: Wow. I’m trying to figure that out now. I used to always try to have a plan. It’s weird because I’m always that person that tries to have a plan, but when I didn’t have a plan, things would just always just work out for me and fall into place. I didn’t really know that I would be doing this or traveling the world with Rihanna. Now, I’m like do I still not do a plan and just let God gives me what he gives me? I think my plan is to always walk in the right direction. And never turn down an opportunity.
Glamazon Andrea: That’s a good idea! So, what’s your favorite fragrance?
Ursula: Oooo if I told you, I’d have to kill you. I’m so sorry, but like my best friends are still trying to figure out what my fragrance is and I won’t tell them. I wear it every single day.
Glamazon Andrea: Is it some ‘ole ghetto stuff that you got on the corner somewhere? [laughing]
Ursula: No, it’s not ghetto! I have like 25-30 perfumes on my table and I only wear that one every day. Like that’s my signature scent.
Glamazon Andrea: And you’re not going to tell anybody what it is?
Ursula: No, sorry.
Glamazon Andrea: Ursula has a signature scent.
Ursula: It’s very expensive. And it’s very rare.
Glamazon Andrea: Really? Is it Hermes?
Glamazon Andrea: I’m gonna sniff you and figure out what it is. And I’ll just whisper it in your ear once I figure it out because you know I have a good nose for things like that.
Ursula: That’s fine. [laughing] I went to a club with it on one day and this girl in the bathroom was like ‘What are you wearing? I smelled you from downstairs?’ I said that is so nice, but I can’t tell you. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell Rihanna. I won’t tell Mary J. Blige. I won’t tell anyone. You can be Michelle Obama and I’m not telling you.
Glamazon Andrea: So, if anybody could give you a gift, what would you want it to be?
Ursula: People see me wearing all this name brand stuff, but that’s what I buy for myself and I would never expect people to buy things like that for me. I just like really thoughtful small things that I wouldn’t buy for myself; that I just wouldn’t have the time to find it. One of my friends bought me a travel set about 2 years ago and it was like the best Christmas gift I ever got. It was like the holder with a cashmere blanket and cashmere socks and I was like oh my god I really need this to travel in! My friend bought me a passport holder which I needed because I was like a bum with my passport. So, you know, just like little things that are thoughtful, I just love it.
Glamazon Andrea: And what are some hair tips that you can offer to our readers for both permed and natural hair? For the everyday girl.
Ursula: For natural, I’d say to maintain your hair by wrapping it at night. People think that you can’t keep your hair straight because you don’t have a relaxer but wrapping it actually preserves the straightness. And for the permed girls that do wrap their hair at night, you should switch the directions up every two days. When you do that same circular motion everyday, your hair tends to just stay like that. What happens to the girls that do keep in the same motion, that left side is always breaking and thin. You have to switch it up. And sometimes, don’t even wrap it. Just throw it up into a ponytail. It doesn’t have to perfect every day, you know?
Glamazon Andrea: What about the girls that wear extensions alot?
Ursula: Try not to do the same hairstyle all the time. Like, if you wore a middle part this time around, next time you should do a side part. Then next time, wear it all back. And then the next time maybe you shouldn’t even do a weave at all. When you keep doing the same hairstyle, that hair that you’re using to cover up the track or use as camoflouge becomes stressed because it’s that same hair used every time. You have to give it a break.
Glamazon Andrea: Anything else that you want to add to our amazing Glamazons readers?
Ursula: Um, nope. But I love The Glamazons! Those chics are hot.