The video from the Today Show segment, where Beauty Expert Deepica Mutyala attempted to demonstrate quick and effortless summer dos on women with various hair textures went viral in no time after she transformed a black woman’s existing cute hairstyle into an unfinished tragedy.
Deepica issued an apology via Twitter and promised to do better in the future.
— Deepica Mutyala (@deepicam) August 5, 2016
NY Mag’s The Cut interviewed the model from that segment, Malyia McNaughton, to get her take on what happened.
When you practiced it backstage, did your hair look completely different?
It was essentially supposed to be a curly ponytail that kind of goes high on the head and kind of combines with the bangs. I had never tried the style before, but once she showed me the inspiration photo, I knew my hair could do it.
Was the model black in the inspiration photo?
She was black and she had a similar hair texture to mine.
As the segment was airing live, did you get a sense that your hair wasn’t panning out to what you and Deepica had planned?
Unfortunately once the cameras rolled live, the pressure just kind of hit. I kind of knew halfway through that it wasn’t coming together the way that we initially intended, but I knew that we just had to keep going because at the end of the day it’s live TV.
Did Deepica say anything to you on set right after the segment aired?
Right after our segment she had to do a Facebook Live segment. After that she came up to me; she hugged me and said, “Thank you so much for jumping in last minute. I really look forward to working with you again.” We talked about possibilities for the future, so it was definitely a bonding moment and I was, again, grateful to her for including a woman of color, a black woman, on the segment.
Are you surprised by the widespread reaction to the segment?
It was definitely all good up until, I guess, people kind of ran with it. I’m surprised by the reaction a little bit.
Has Deepica reached out to you since the clip went viral?
Yeah, absolutely. She reached out the same day because she started getting mean-spirited comments. I felt for her because I knew her intentions were pure and I’m an advocate for everything that has to do with natural hair, black-related inclusion, and so I felt her sentiment and didn’t want it to turn that way. I offered a comment on one of the Today show Facebook posts and people backed down after that. It’s just an unfortunate situation.
You can the interview in its entirety here. We’re pretty sure Malyia’s responses would have read a little differently had she not been trying to preserve her relationship with the show. What are your thoughts?