Real American Beauty

A few weeks back, my good friend Funmi was telling me about a shoot she helped out on in South Los Angeles. It took place at a hair salon where droves of women spent their Saturday getting the works before going out. Many spent their salon time as a pre-party for wherever their new hair was going to take them and, given the amount of time they spent getting made up, the resulting hair styles are undeniably flawless.

The video Funmi mentioned is actually the first in a documentary series for i-D called Real American Beauty and it is a fantastic, fashionable look into hidden (and not so hidden) worlds of beauty. Directed by Liza Mandelup, this first video steps inside Mr & Ms Salon, a bustling insider hair zone for women to hang and do hair and hang some more. The video captures the process and gives some wonderful, bright beauty shots of these women after the salon process is complete.

Yet, the real action in this video is the conversation: these women have some great things to say. There’s an obvious bond between the stylist and customer, friend and acquaintance, that allows for someone to ask a not-so-blunt question like “Are you pregnant? You look pregnant.” which does indeed happen in the film. You also hear about how hair and looking good is a big key to success for women and perhaps what can elevate them from the place they are in to a higher social status. In perhaps the videos best bit of chatter, the women in the salon have a heated conversation about Uber and whether or not it would come “to the projects.” It is concluded that Uber does indeed go anywhere.

It’s a great little documentary that is so well polished in its production with subjects that you want to hear talk for hours (or seven minutes, which is how long the video gives you). The music is also so super great, too. You can watch it below—and be on the lookout for future episodes.

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