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When we were called on to style the hair of the First Lady of New York, Chirlane McCray for New York Magazine, I didn’t know what to expect.  I imagined that the First Lady would have an extremely busy schedule and so I did not really anticipate being able to connect with her, but instead just to do my job and keep it moving.  But McCray is an exceptional woman, person.  She doesn’t pass up opportunities to connect with someone on a real level.

Despite her tight schedule she arrived looking calm, collected and gently focused.  She was easy going, cooperative and receptive to the directives of all the players at this photo session.  Never did she become impatient or frazzled, she just went with the flow.  There is a quietness about her that reflects an innate emotional and social intelligence.  Despite her quietness,  McCray is engaging and one feels the warmth of a genuinely caring person behind those wise eyes.  It’s quite easy to see why the Mayor, being the smart guy he is,  defers to his wife.

Please pardon me while I gush, but McCray is everything you want a sister to be – sweet, authentic and intelligent.  It was such an honor and a pleasure for Andre Tinnie, our Loc Specialist and I to groom the First Lady’s hair.  Though I have to admit it was a bit startling that the photographer insisted that we make her hair look like she had done it herself.  So we didn’t have the liberty to style her hair as we felt best.  Still, as you can plainly see,  she looks stunning due to the beauty inside that radiates outward.  And just for the record, the article mentions McCray having braids.  But her hair is not at all braids or braided, it’s Locs.

I love that McCray has a real understanding about girls and women in this culture at this time.  As friend and Columbia University Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin quoted on FB:  “For McCray, feminism is not so much about the fulfillment of personal ambition as it is about helping women to get the basic things they need. …“I don’t think it’s about ‘leaning in,’” she says. “In this day and age, it comes down to improving life, for girls especially, young girls—improving the numbers of opportunities, the kind of opportunities. But it’s not just about opportunities anymore. Violence against women is a huge issue. A good feminist should be working on that—making the world a safer place for girls and women, wherever they live. Economic opportunity is hugely important. That’s why paid sick leave was so important. But we’ve got so many women who are employed as teachers, nurses, health aides, fast-food workers, and don’t have access to child care, can’t afford child care. I mean, that’s an issue that feminists should be working on. We have to think about the state of women in a more holistic way going forward.”

It was indeed an honor to be in the presence of this great lady and to have the time we had to connect with her.  It is already quite evident that all New Yorkers, particularly those who have been forgotten, have a real advocate in their corner with our new Mayor with his confidant and adviser, his uniquely beautiful and amazing wife.  Giving Thanks for continued blessings and to a fruitful incumbency for Mayor de Blasio.  With McCray by his side, focused on the all the people who make up the tapestry of New York City, I am looking forward to a bright future for all New Yorkers!

Oh and did you hear about all the controversy regarding the First Lady?  To that I say, “haters need to learn how to be appreciators”.