Uh, in case you haven’t noticed, Janelle Monáe is kind of winning the red-carpet game right now. OK, if we’re getting specific, the singer slash actress slash straight-up badass has been actually slaying the red carpet since she first stepped onto it years ago, but recently, she’s been kicking it up approximately 500 notches, and we’re obsessed.
While most celebs play it safe on the red carpet, lest they end up on a worst-dressed list, Monáe seems to give absolutely zero shits about expectations and has been rocking her natural hair with a series of never-ending accessories that have become our guiding light through the dark, repetitive tunnel that is awards season. We’re talkin’ space buns decked in safety-pins and googly eyes, updos wrapped in silver wire and tiny pearls, braids decorated with small, gold rings, and pigtails intertwined with gold coils (and you thought that headband you wore to work last week was risky).
Monáe talked about her hair bling in a recent Instagram post, writing, “From the Eyes, to the Gold Wire, and then to the White Safety Pins… Can you guess what messages [I] am sending and speaking through my hair?” Uh, is that message “I am awesome”? Of course, we know the actress isn’t standing in front of a mirror for five hours creating these elaborate updos. The co-genius behind the styles is actually Monáe’s longtime hairstylist, Nikki Nelms (who is also responsible for Solange’s beaded braids in her music video “Don’t Touch My Hair”).
In an interview with Nylon, Nelms elaborated on the hair, saying, “Sometimes, I just get in that mood—all arts and crafty,” referring to the gold string that Nelms bought from a craft store and threaded through Monáe’s hair for the Palm Springs Film Festival. “Janelle is just one of those clients who is so creative that she welcomes new ideas,” she added. “Every time a client makes me feel comfortable with trying new things, the possibilities are endless.” Which is great news for us, because now we have something else to look forward to on awards night, other than bad spray tans and tear-filled speeches.