Hollywood Dreamin’: Meet Dionna Owens, the Hairstylist Behind Hollywood’s Most Natural Wigs | News

It seems like everyone and their mom is wearing a wig these days, but it takes a special blend of skill and talent to make one, especially for some of the world’s biggest TV and film stars. Yet that’s all in a day’s work for Dionna Owens, who launched her thriving business, Sew Natural, by making extensions that resemble black women’s natural hair. Today, she is an in-demand hairstyling guru in Hollywood, but her journey has not been without significant challenges, including the struggle of black hairstylists to gain recognition and union membership.

“The company started to fill a void,” Owens told BET. “I couldn’t find extensions for people who looked like me. I wanted to find something that looked like our natural hair without making people wonder if it’s yours or not. I knew I had something, but I didn’t know exactly what it would become.

When Owens started her business in 2012, she couldn’t have foreseen the golden path that awaited her. It took a lot of work, a little luck and the crucial attention of celebrities to widen this path. As a licensed cosmetologist, she brought her invention and expertise to YouTube, which led to a major breakthrough. “I was contacted by Lyndrea Williams, Serena Williams’ older sister. That brought me into the entertainment world in Los Angeles and led me to branch out, figure out where I wanted to be in the industry, what my name would be, and what I wanted to represent.

Meeting influential people like Brandy and Kelly Rowland created a ripple effect. As his relationships grew, so did his business, allowing him to apply his proprietary natural-looking technique to wigs, a staple of television and film. “I’ve been doing TV and film since 2018 pretty consistently,” she says, referring to her work on films like Marsai Martin’s “Little” and Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Homecoming.” Her success inspired her to think about growing her business. “Making a wig takes a lot of time. I can’t do anything but concentrate fully on a wig, one project at a time. So I’m learning to grow and teach other people.

Owens’ journey, while impressive, also highlights the significant obstacles black hairstylists face in Hollywood. Despite its growing success, joining a union remains a difficult process. Unions provide essential benefits like health insurance, job security, and standardized pay rates. However, many black hairdressers, especially those who are self-employed, have difficulty joining a union.

The entertainment industry is notoriously difficult for hairstylists to navigate. The on-demand nature of their work, combined with informal networks and a lack of standardized hiring practices, makes unionization elusive. This leads to inconsistent working conditions and pay disparities, particularly affecting black creatives and those who work outside major centers like Los Angeles.

Despite the lure of Hollywood, Owens chose to stay in his home state of North Carolina. This decision, although seemingly counterintuitive, was beneficial to him. “North Carolina is far enough away from the hustle and bustle; This gives me time to reset. And that gives me the opportunity to take my time. No one can call me to come (for a meeting in Los Angeles) right away: I have more control over my work-life balance. This distance allowed him to control his schedule, a rare feat in the entertainment industry.

Owens’ success is a testament to his resilience and strategic decision-making. She embraces her success on her terms – rare in Hollywood and even rarer for black creatives. “I didn’t even know or imagine that hair could take me this far, but it was this jump that started it all. I’m living my dream.

Her journey is both an inspiration and a stark reminder of the systemic challenges black hairstylists face in the industry. As Owens continues to grow his brand and influence, his story highlights the need for better support, recognition and union representation for black hairstylists in Hollywood.