Design Essentials Natural brought their Big Easy Weekend of activities, powered by Sally Beauty, back to New Orleans this year and presented some of the most well-attended beauty events this holiday weekend. Over three days, Design Essentials®Natural offered opportunities to receive their most popular products, mix and mingle with celebrities and receive complimentary styling services to visitors and locals alike.
On Friday July 3, Design Essentials presented the Blogger Martini Mixer for all of their media partners and some of the top natural hair bloggers and YouTube stars. Representatives from MadamNoire, Bossip, and Sheen Magazine.
Design Essentials® Celebrity Gifting Style Lounge brought out a group of fashionable vendors which hosted the giveaway suite for attendees. From makeup and manicures to body products and handbags, these premium gifts allowed attendees to leave with the hottest new brands in beauty and style.
The Gifting Suite culminated in the reveal of the new Ledisi Look Book from Design Essentials® Natural, featuring gorgeous photography and step-by-step instructions and product recommendations to achieve Ledisi’s signature looks.
Check out a few highlights from our interview with Ledisi below:
Ledisi: Yes originally from here but raised in the Bay Area Oakland, California
BOSSIP: What do you love most about being back in N.O?
Ledisi: I love my family being here and its just comfort right away, and the food of course, gotta get the food.
BOSSIP: There’s nothing like the food here.
Ledisi: Family, food, and just chill I love it here. But its great being here while the Essence festival is around.
Bossip: One thing I love about the Essence festival is so many different types of beauty. Isn’t it refreshing?
Ledisi: Its good to see different styles and versions of beauty of us just walking around
BOSSIP: Exactly and I love your locks by the way they are beautiful
Ledisi: Thank you
BOSSIP: Faux locks have been a huge trend these past few years, how do you feel about faux locks?
Ledisi: Well if that’s what you want to wear. I don’t have faux locks and I’ve never had it. If you want to wear that I mean well it’s a form of expression and I look at hair as the extension of whats inside of you and that’s what it’s about. If you want to express yourself wearing locks or natural hair or wigs or whatever as long as it looks good on you and you feel good about yourself.
BOSSIP: How long have you been growing your locks?
Ledisi: Over 15 years. I started with the bantu knots, little twisties all around and then they became bantu knots and I let them grow
BOSSIP: How did you come to work with Design eesentials?
Ledisi: Well I was getting my hair done in Epiphany salon. I love them. They introduced Design Essentials to my hair, and I actually loved it cause it was light. Loved the edge tamer, that’s the first thing I fell in love with and then the twist and set helped me get my curls. So I said “gosh I love this product” and I searched for them and told them ‘I love it and if you ever need me I’m here.’ Years later it probably took two or three years of me going ” Hi” stalking them and then Taydra (Taydra Mitchell-Jackson, VP of Marketing for Design Essentials) came around and said ” We have something for her and we want to do a photo shoot.” I didn’t know until the photo shoot they wanted to make me the beauty ambassador so that was amazing to find out and now here I am.
BOSSIP: So how has that been? What are the responsibilities of a beauty ambassador?
Ledisi: Inspiring other women to use the products and showing them why I love it so much. Also exposing and celebrating all women or men with natural hair — anyone who doesn’t want dry hair really, because it really moisturizes your hair more than any other product. It’s great. I do anything they need me to do. I’m here, but I feel like this brand doesn’t tolerate natural beauty they celebrate it and that’s what I love about it. There’s choices, there are more choices for any natural style of hair and I have everyone involved in it.
BOSSIP: So what’s next for you?
Ledisi: Wow. Next? I don’t have a next right now other then being an ambassador and writing and waiting to see whats going to happen musically. I just got off a tour in March. I did an 30 city tour and Design Essentials was there as well.
Ledisi‘s Asst: In 30 days, she did a 30 city tour in 30 days.
BOSSIP: That’s crazy. So you did a different city every night?
Ledisi: Every night. We only had 1 day off
BOSSIP: That’s rough.
Ledisi: Yes but we did it and sold out.
BOSSIP: Congratulations that’s huge!
Ledisi: Yes we had a great turn out and now I get a break. Don’t I deserve a break?
BOSSIP: You definitely deserve a break. So what are you doing on your break?
Ledisi: Writing, reading, and waiting to see musically where I want to go. I’m not forcing anything I’m just meeting new people and doing events that involve philanthropy ,work for civil rights educators and anything with natural hair and involves Design Essentials. I’m just present and enjoying the moment.
BOSSIP: Were you already doing civil rights work or was it the working with Selma that drew you more into it?
Ledisi: I was already doing it but not vocal about it. It was already my personal thing but working on Selma I realized you have to make your voice louder so that helped even more.
BOSSIP: The black community is so diverse. What do you think could help to bring the community together?
Ledisi: More imagery of uniting and more music to help us unite, because remember in the Civil Rights movement there was a lot of music to help unite us that was the way we talked, through music an I think that’s something we need. We need more brave leaders like Bree [Newsome] to just be hands on and make that happen.
BOSSIP: So we understand that you did a Design Essentials Look Book?
Ledisi: Yes! I have never done one before and that makes me feel celebrated. Other women and little girls can see you can be yourself be celebrated.
BOSSIP: So it’s different hairstyles?
Ledisi: Yes, sorry I’m excited! It’s different hairstyles, the products used and how to do them. The descriptions are clear and easy to follow and the pictures are beautiful.
BOSSIP: So do people come up to you and ask your advice on hair? Cause I get it all the time.
Ledisi: All the time! So you understand then! I just try to remember the product because I just have them all lined up. I know what I use everyday. But if they about a specific product. I tell them I love the product because its light and they grow your hair.
BOSSIP: So you’ve experienced more growth?
Ledisi: Most definitely
Saturday July 4th Design Essentials® Natural sponsored one of the hottest Day Parties held annually. The Dayhem Day Party Hosted by Terrence J at Le Meridien drew a crowd of celebrities and tastemakers for a lively event with Media Partners MadameNoire and Bossip in attendance.
Attendees received complimentary dry styling services from the Design Essentials® Natural Style Team.
Design Essentials® Natural brought their Coconut Monoi Collection to “declare war” on dryness. Sponsored by Centric TV and hosted at Sally Beauty on Gentilly, the team debuted 3 new products exclusive to Sally’s: Coconut and Monoi Curl Enhancing Dual Hydration Milk, Coconut and Monoi Deep Moisture Masque, Coconut and Monoi Curl Defining Gelée.
Hosted by Blogger Strawberricurls (R), the Meet & Greet gave fans the chance to show love to both New Orleans natives.
For more photos from the Design Essentials Natural Big Easy Weekend events, hit the flip!