salon secrets


Aïssa Maïga: from Cinema to Afro Hairstyles

January 17th 2017
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For the French release of the movie ‘Il A Déjà Tes Yeux’, FAB met Aïssa Maïga. In the film, the 41-year-old actress plays Sali, a black woman in a relationship, who is soon to adopt a white baby. This realistic comedy about adoption thumbs its nose at all the clichés – much to the audience’s enjoyment. Aïssa talked to us about cinema, hair and afro beauty.

‘Afro Hair Is Magic’

When it comes to hairstyling, you can definitely say that Aïssa knows her stuff. The reason is simple, Aïssa has tested it all: straightened, curly, frizzy, braided… “I have tried so many things with my hair,” says the actress, bursting out laughing. This time, in ‘Il A Déjà Tes Yeux’, Aïssa has African tresses – a hairstyle she explains as being like that because her character is anchored in the real world: “Sali has responsibilities, and lots of things to do every day. So she doesn’t have a lot of time for doing her hair. Tresses take a long time to do, but then you’re done for weeks. In addition, Sali is very attached to her afro culture, and tresses with decorations are very common among Africans,” says the Dakar-born Parisian. As someone who cares about her hair, Aïssa gives it plenty of attention every day: “I hydrate my hair every day with a little bit of mineral water, which I put in a spray. I also apply hydrating cream and nutrient oil. I love mixtures. When I let my hair down to hang naturally, I always do myself two tresses (unless I’m really exhausted), which I undo in the morning. That produces a natural afro. It’s a quick and practical trick. Afro hair is magic, and you can do anything with it, but it’s very fragile.”

Photo credit: @arnolam

Aïssa is used to changing her hairstyle, and principally sports four afro looks:

  1. Halle Berry & Her Short Hair In James Bond’s ‘Die Another Day’

Aïssa: A boy’s cut, but really feminine! There are some really legendary ones, from Jean Seberg to Sonia Rolland, without forgetting Halle Berry. It’s a timeless style in the film world. It’s a modern cut that gives the face a chance to be really seen.

  1. Solange Knowles & Her Superb Mass Of Hair

Aïssa: It must be difficult to be the sister of Beyoncé. Even so, Solange Knowles manages quite well, thank you, by being authentic – notably with her hair, which has been the subject of lots of talk. Hair can seem like a useless thing, but the afro is emblematic in the history of black people and black women. The subject has been a society issue in the States, because there used to be a time when anything black was seen as ugly. Women had to conform to standards that went against their kind of hair. Nowadays, this natural hair style is a lifesaver for lots of women, who don’t have to do hostile things to their hair anymore. We’ve moved on to a new outlook: every woman can define herself the way she wants.

Solange Knowles. Photo credit: @saintrecords
  1. Kerry Washington’s Straightening

Aïssa: Straightening your hair is really American, but really afro too. Lots of women in West Africa straighten their hair. Kerry Washington looks really good with straight hair. With this hairstyle, her strong gaze is really the first thing you see.

Photo credit: @KerryWashington
  1. Urban Bush Babes & Their Incredible Tressed Hairstyles

Aïssa: Their mass of hair is almost scary. It has an animalistic look that, for me, makes it almost look like a costume. In the TV movie ‘Quand La ville Mord’ (2009), I played a girl who had just arrived in France, and decided to become a prostitute to survive. There’s a scene in which my character goes to the hairstylist. Up to then, she’d been wearing a rather cheap-looking wig but, when she went to the stylist, she decided to give herself a lioness-like hairstyle. I love that scene. There’s a moment in which my character raises her head, both physically but also in a psychological sense, and it’s the hair that does it.

Urban Bush Babes. Photo credit: @individualeye