The self-taught hairstylist used products from his very own line to get Williams' mane camera-ready.
With every win, appearance and announcement, Serena Williams further solidifies her status as both a symbol of Black beauty and world class athlete. Today, she added to that legacy with a Vanity Fair cover that nearly broke the Internet.
Shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz alongside her fiancé Alexis Ohanian, the 35-year-old exposes her baby bump in a series of breathtaking shots, and as predicted, we’re all obsessed. As with any other editorial shoot, a hairstylist is necessary to complete the vision, so Vernon Francois was recruited to create the voluminous ‘dos sported by Serena throughout the shoot.
“Serena and Annie have been communicating for sometime about images that really spoke to them,” Francois shared with ESSENCE. “On this occasion, it was my responsibility to ensure I brought their vision to life, given the focus was on the baby bump and hair.”
In one shot, Williams’ hair is styled in loose waves down to her waist, while another showcases her tresses pulled back into a braided ponytail. Both textured looks speak to the not only the expertise of a self-taught Francois, but the beauty of Black hair as well.
If you want to recreate either of these looks or a style that requires the same level of volume, Francois recommends pre-styling your hair the night before to lock in moisture and smooth your ends.
“Bantu knots. Single braids. Two strand twists. Silk wrap over night. Over time, this will also help. [It’s] always handy to have serum to apply during the day. A great sneaky tip for your edges is to wear a silk headband. I often cut the silk material myself for my clients.”
In addition to Paul Mitchell hairspray and Got 2 Be Invincible Gel ($5, walmart.com), Francois used products from his namesake line to create Serena’s Vanity Fair looks. Shop all three of them below and learn more about Serena and Alexis’ love story here!
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