The contestants’ fancy footwork is not to be overlooked. Craig’s cutting remarks are passé. This year, Strictly has a surprising star.
Please, drumroll . . Motsi Mabuse was the judge of Motsi’s hair. The stunning styles on Motsi Mabuse’s head are a testament to the fact that anyone can give scores.
She walked down the steps wearing an enormous tower of hair one Saturday (some have called it my Marge Simpson look).
One week she was wearing cute, but fierce Bantu knots right up to her scalp. Twitter really went crazy when she displayed her best-ever Afro style.
Motsi Mbuse (40), judge on Strictly Come Dancing, felt under pressure to manage her hair.
If anyone is giving scores, the fabulous styles appearing on the top of Motsi’s head have deserved tens across the board
Motsi’s hair should have its own show. This is what I inquire the woman. “Maybe it’ll get its own place next year,” she says, hoping. Craig Revel Horwood, her fellow judge is an admirer of her work. She said that Covid texted him to tell him: “Love your hair darling”
Motsi is 40 and has graciously agreed to take us along, as she shows you how some her most famous styles are created. This means five hours in the salon chair, with her tresses — real and fake — being smoothed, teased, pinned and primped.
The whole thing is amazing for a novice hairdresser like me. Michelle Sultan, a hairdresser, talks at one point about Nefertiti, an Ancient Egyptian queen, as the inspiration behind Marge Simpson’s look. She says, “The closer you get to God the higher you climb,”
You will need to squeeze a lot. Ironmongery can be found (about 25 pins). The elasticated bungee ropes wrap around everything. As if by magic the entire thing can stand alone at the end.
“It lifts up her entire stature. She’s quite a regal figure anyway, but now she’s a Queen — a goddess,’ says Michelle. Motsi is certainly making a big statement. But what are Motsi’s style statements? We are now moving beyond Strictly’s sparkle into more serious territory.
Motsi (40) has offered to allow us to tag along as she shows us how her iconic looks are made. This means five hours in the salon chair, with her tresses — real and fake — being smoothed, teased, pinned and primped
Michelle knows that Michelle made the comment about Motsi’s growing hair was both politically and cultural.
“I have worked before with women of color on television, but Strictly is my favorite show. It’s huge to see a woman from colour here and showcase her hair this way. She says that her hair takes up space.
Motsi too is aware of the importance of Motsi’s coiffure story. We meet again later in the day to talk about Motsi’s hair journey. I ask her about being a young black girl in South Africa as well as how she got used to living under white rule.
She spent her childhood with her mother, trying to control her wild Afro hair. Hair styling — for Motsi and her sisters, Oti and Phemelo — was all about looking smoother, sleeker. You can have more white.
‘Hair like ours had to be made more neat, more tidy — we had to fit in,’ she says.
I just recall the pain. My mother would run after me and put my hair in braids, cornrows, plaits or sometimes with wool. That hurts was something we used to tell our parents when we were older.
Motsi has her own 3-year-old girl with them today. “Her hair looks different than mine, because her father is European. But the principle remains the same. I want Motsi to be able to accept the hair God has given her and love it. I wish she had all of the options I didn’t have.
Interesting is the fact that Motsi, an off-duty Motsi, is wearing only a woollen hat with no make-up. The hat hides her true hair. Her natural hair is very short, and she has it pinned in rows. She is not recognized when she walks out.
The famous trio of Mabuse sisters danced the ballroom in a very formal (and very white!) way. Their hair was always neat and tidy.
Motsi’s hair should have its own show. This is what I inquire the woman. “Maybe it’ll get its own place next year,” she says, hoping. Craig Revel Horwood, her fellow judge is an admirer of her work. “The week he had been away from Covid was spent isolating, and he sent a text to his girlfriend, saying: “Love the hair, Darling.”
She says, ‘It wasn’t spoken.’ “That was a very European world, with long straight hair and a flat head.
Motsi’s 20s and later teen years were when she found chemical relaxers. These chemicals break down hair structure and remove frizz.
But, she did not fry her hair with the products. She rubbed her head on the scalp. “I still have some scars, as well as issues with my scalp, dryness, and hair. These are some very difficult things.
Evgenij Voznyuk, a fellow Ukrainian dancer, was her first competition.
It was difficult for her to find an Afro-friendly hairdresser in Germany when she arrived. She would drive over 50km to get one. “I was completely lost. But, I was more worried about my hair than buying chemical relaxers. However, I would never be seen competing with my hair.
It sounds like she is ashamed of her hair. ‘I was. It wasn’t something to be seen — not in public.’
In 2000, Motsi met a hairdresser that changed her entire life. ‘She loved my hair — much more than I did,’ Motsi recalls. “She still straightened it but she was using natural hair, not just covering it up.” It was fun to try different styles, such as knotting my hair or putting it in rows.
It was difficult for her to find an Afro-friendly hairdresser in Germany when she arrived. She would drive over 50km to get one. “I was completely lost. But I was more worried about my hair than the chemical relaxers that I had bought. However, I would never be seen competing with my hair.
Motsi was also experimenting with weaves or wigs. This is a hugely-popular option in the black community. Hear her laugh about the wigs flying in competitions.
It didn’t happen for me but one of my sisters at the German Open had it happen, she jokes. She said that her hair was blown out of place and she left it there. “Pick your hair up!” was what we were saying. ‘
Motsi was a professional dancer when she joined Let’s Dance in Germany, which is the German equivalent of Strictly. She was elevated to the judging board four years later.
She had given up relaxing her hair and started wearing it natural when she was not working. However, she still wore wigs while watching TV.
Pretoria High School’s 2016 incident was what changed her life. Students protested at the school, saying that the rules regarding hair styling were racist as they didn’t allow natural Afro styles.
“Those girls stood up and declared, “This is how God created us.” I was stunned. They are fighting for the hair of these young women. These people are willing to fight for their type of beauty made an impression on me.
She was unsure of her hairstyles for the first time. Is it possible to ditch the wigs? Her thoughts were further complicated by her three-year-old daughter’s arrival. “I thought: “How can I teach her to love herself, accept her beauty?”
Motsi might have just thrown out all of the wigs. But it was not that simple.
According to her, she told her hairdresser that she didn’t want one-piece hair wigs because they ‘disguised all of the hair’.
Instead she chose to use her natural hair as a starting point and continue building on it.
Since then her confidence has grown — as has each successive hairdo. ‘Some people say ‘throw away all the wigs’, but I want to use them — on my terms — and showcase how versatile black hair can be.
According to what I do, and how large I want it to be, I can get hundreds of different looks.
Motsi was unsure about how assertive she should be with her hair when she first appeared on British Strictly. Motsi is clear that hair can have a triggering effect and doesn’t want anyone to be shocked.
“I also had some experience with TV in the early stages of my career when people expected me to be a certain style. I wrote to one the producers asking: “Is Britain ready for this?” The producer replied that she was ready to help.
When she tried to ‘go’ the first couple of times, her reaction was overwhelming. People loved it. It was a delight to receive so many letters from girls, especially little ones. The debate has been centered on women of colour and hair. People who don’t live in the community aren’t aware of this topic.
The famous trio of Mabuse sisters danced the ballroom in a very formal (and very white!) way. They kept their hair neatly ‘neat’. She says, ‘It wasn’t spoken.’ The whole European culture was known for long straight hair that is combed down to the scalp. Motsi was in her 20s and later twenties when she discovered chemical relaxers. They break down the hair structure and remove frizz.
Now? And her hair loves have grown. Motsi’s hairpieces, wigs and hairpieces. There’s no way. It’s not possible. Many people now have their very own Strictly makeup department. Hairpieces that are mostly made from real hair were flown in from all parts of the world to her.
Her hair is the basis for many of the elaborate looks she creates, and it’s something that’s never been done before. I hear her tell me she was in Strictly Christmas this week and that after filming, she took off her wig to put it on her lap.
The car was parked on the street and she forgot it.
The man who was very British picked the item up and told it: “Madame, I have dropped something.” . .’ “.
‘I didn’t. He just gave it to me. He didn’t seem to recognize me which may be a positive thing.
I asked my husband which one of the dozens of amazing hairstyles she likes best.
She giggles once more. She laughs again.
He will tell you, “You’re beautiful when we wake up each morning.”