Inauguration Day was full of groundbreaking moments. From Amanda Gorman's powerful poetry to Kamala Harris becoming Vice President, history was made from sunup to sundown. However, there were a few things that took place away from the podium that caught people's attention. Nikolas Ajagu trended on Twitter thanks to his rare sneakers and Sen. Bernie Sanders unknowingly created the meme seen around the world. Above all others, former First Lady Michelle Obama shined with her flawless outfit and incredible hair. Behind the scenes, a talented stylist named Yene Damtew is to thank for Obama's hair looking as flawless as it did.
Damtew is a talented hairstylist residing in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Today, Damtew is the owner of Aesthetics Salon in Arlington, Virginia and Obama's personal hairstylist, but she has known the Obama family for more than a decade. Damtew began working alongside famed hairstylist Johnny Wright in 2009 when the Obamas first moved into the White House. At first, she would primarily work on Malia and Sasha's hair and only help out with Michelle's hair on special occasions. However, she took on a greater role with Michelle when the Obamas moved out of the White House in 2017.
“Since leaving the White House in 2016, I have worked with Mrs. Obama full time,” Damtew told DCist.
“I can’t count how many times I’ve done her hair. It’s been hundreds of hundreds of times.”
As she became Michelle Obama's primary hairstylist, her list of high-profile clients grew. Over the years, she has styled the likes of Tracee Ellis Ross and Skai Jackson. She also opened her salon, Aesthetics Salon, in 2017 before moving to a larger venue last year. Since Inauguration Day, Damtew's business has grown even larger. Many new customers are now asking for what she affectionately calls "The Michelle."
"The salon has received hundreds of emails and appointment requests. My manager has also received many requests for interviews and brand partnerships," she tweeted.
The sky is the limit as Damtew transitions from one of the most well-known stylists among Capitol Hill elites to one of the most well-known stylists in the country.
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