Can I tell you how excited I am? Seriously. There’s been some fantastic happenings going on in my life & the with The Frizzness…can’t wait to share them all with you! Starting with having the awesome pleasure of lending an ear to…..
a curly beauty whose melodious vocals simply sleighed audiences & carried her all the way to American Idol’s Season Seven Top 3! An undeniable stage presence snagged her THE STARRING role of Deena Jones in Broadway’s “Dream Girls.” And if that isn’t enough to knock you off your mane, later this year she’s anticipating the big-screen release of her first feature film, aptly titled: DREAMS. (How many of us get to play the offspring of Mel Jackson & Vickie Winans?) An absolute joy to talk entertainment, natural hair & dental work (insider) with, let’s catch up with model, singer & actress Syesha Mercado, whose incredible talent has her sitting on top of the world….of CURLS!
Congratulations on landing the part of “Mia” in “DREAMS!” Tell us about your experience.
SM: I’m really excited…the cast is extraordinary! Vickie Winans was a pleasure to work with; such a character, great personality & so sweet. In fact, I was invited to the Winans family Christmas dinner (Marvin Winans produced the film)! I’m considered family now. Mel Jackson was also very impressive! Going from the stage – which is a chaotic pace – to the slower pace of a movie set was a nice transition.
Let’s talk hair: Did you style it yourself on the set?
SM: Well, I thought Mia should have straight hair, but I was so blessed that the director loved my cury hair & didn’t want to change a thing!
That’s awesome to hear…acceptance as you are!
SM: Exactly! It’s (hair) is always a touchy subject on set. But I’ve learned to speak up & be honest without hurting someone’s feelings. (I’ve also learned to come on set ready & PREPPED). I’ve been extremely blessed not have someone try to transform me completely.
So how do naturals in the industry “prep” for set arrival?
SM: Always let your director or someone know the time it takes to do these things & prep your hair. I wore 19 wigs in Dreamgirls! (Eventually, my hair was braided underneath). “DREAM” was filmed during the winter, so I wore a lot of hats. (Breathes a sigh of relief). It’s important to know you do have an opinion – but do your part by showing up prepped.
So have you always been natural? Have you ever relaxed your frizz?
SM: I’ve always been natural, even though I tried to experiment in high school. (Laughing)My mom gave me a relaxer ….that did not go well AT ALL! In the end, it really just loosened my curl pattern. But I’ve always loved the natural look; it goes with my personality; it’s fun!
How are you maintaining those beautiful curls?
SM: I’ve learned so much about natural hair. I’ve never been one of those girls that wraps my hair every night. A lot of times I just go to bed, get up, shake my hair & go! In fact, when I was younger, back home I just used the black gel because everyone was using gel! I thought that was the thing to do because I didn’t know any better. It was cheap, affordable & convenient. But, it broke my hair off.
What products are your curls currently rocking?
SM: Right now, I’m using Wen products.
SM: I know, right? I was skeptical at first, especially because I cut my hair more and I’m blonde. But it’s really been working well & doesn’t strip hair of natural oils. You can use it to shampoo, wash & condition all in one. It doesn’t dry out your hair; you can leave it in.
In the past, you were using Miss Jessie’s, yes?
SM: I haven’t used Miss Jessie’s in a while (because of using WEN), but the Curly Pudding works amazing! I’ll be trying some more of Miss Jessie’s soon. There are so many great products out there! It just depends on your curl pattern or what you like.
What styles make your curls smile?
SM: I rarely straighten it unless I’m cutting it or trying to see length. I usually do twists. Because the top is really long, I’ll bobby pin it to stretch the curls; the sides of my hair are cut short. If I want to sleep later, I’ll blow dry & bobby pin my hair for a 1940’s look. It will last up to two weeks – as each day goes by it forms it’s own personality! I’ll comb it out to see if it’s getting frizzy & swoop it to the side. Sometimes, I like the 1940’s look, sometimes I like youthful & edgy…those are my two favorite styles!
How did you learn to embrace your Frizzness?
SM: You know, if it frizzes, oh well. I think frizz adds personality. Natural hair is all about just doing it & figuring it out. Having curly hair is unexpected, even when you prep it. So I learned not to worry about it.
Tell us: what has made your strands cringe?
SM: (Hearty laugh) – Some BIG lessons learned! In college, my hair was mid-back length. I let my friend from back home straighten my hair using an old school iron. She burned my hair off in the middle!!!! My hair is STILL damaged from that! Like my mamma would say: ‘Don’t let everybody play in your hair!”
SM: Yes! Oh, I have another one. Never have fire in your make-up area.
SM: Yes, ha ha! On the American Idol tour, the make-up artist asked me to get something. Well, a candle was by it. I bent down to pick it up & lit my hair on fire! So no fire in the make-up area!
Your hair is so beautiful…..we’d never know all the battle wounds your curls have!
SM: I got some scars, girl!
Why do you love acting so much?
SM: It’s been my dream every since I was a little girl. We would have movie night every week at my house. My dad played the same movie over & over again until I had the lines memorized. So I’ve always wanted to be on the big screen & do Broadway. Acting makes me feel good. When I do it, I feel like I’m making a difference – someone’s life can be changed for the better.
Anything else you want to leave our Curlie-Pies with?
SM: Yes, please go DEMAND Dreams the movie! See the extended trailer at dreamsthemovie.com – and demand it. You can also request it via eventful.com. It’s faith based, & just a really good story. You can find me on Facebook, my webpage (syeshaonline.com) or Twitter under my name. I do reply!