“Fantasy, love, escape, glitz, glamour, and fun—those are the six adjectives I use when I describe Erika Jayne. So for me, that gives Clyde [Haygood] a really good start. Where are we? What are we doing? What are we wearing? How are we feeling? Are we bratty? Are we sexy? Are we aggressive? Are we shy? What’s the venue? What time of day is it? How’re our fans? And that’s what really dictates how we’re feeling and then we go from there.”
At first glance, a tall, tan, toned, Barbie-pop diva hybrid distracts your attention, but when Erika Jayne, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and recording artist, speaks, you’re immediately reminded of your place and her presence—you know that beyond the peroxide mane, the 46-year-old is all business and no nonsense. She conveys that same say-it-like-it-is sentiment through her hairstyles. With the touch of her decade-long right hand mane man and celebrity hairstylist Clyde Haygood, Erika has sported a wider and wilder variety of coiffures than some people will ever sample in their entire life, making the Georgia Peach one of our most audacious muses.
In her first look, half-up hair slung to one side that Clyde says, “is giving full Pamela Anderson hair vibes, lots of texture, careless, fun and flirty,” Erika has her slay face on—and it’s incessantly fierce. Clyde drenches her face in wind and she doesn’t flinch, but “she’s got, like, five wind machines on her when she performs” so she’s used to the feeling. Even though the ensemble her creative team concocted for look one, a leopard Versace silk pajama set and pumps, is cozy-haute, she serves smize after smize for Mat Abad like she could do this shit in her sleep.
Killer hair, clothes, and international concerts are lifestyle staples of The Pretty Mess (her stage name). If you watch RHOBH, you know that wherever she goes, her glam squad follows, in her private jet. Even while abroad, you’ll never catch she and Clyde taking tresses down a notch—there’s always a wow factor, a dash of “oh dayum.” Daisy and pom-pom-adorned space buns in Tokyo and a micro-banged high ponytail done up dominatrix style in Berlin are just a few of the pièces de résistance that Clyde has crafted in the past.
I ask Clyde how they come up with looks and he tells me, “Last season, for Housewives, we ended up giving 67 different looks, and when I say different, I mean different. From the Hong Kong looks with the Victory rolls and the braid work, but we decided to relax on the braids, because everyone is doing it and caught on so we’re trying to go somewhere else different with that this year.”
Ironically, if she’s not patting the puss (a signature Pretty Mess dance move) mid concert across the pond, or filming an extra-glam music video for one of her can’t-get-out-of-your-head dance songs (expect her new music in early 2018), Erika’s routine looks just as normal as the rest of ours. “My hair would be in a bun and I would have a T-shirt, sweatpants, and no makeup. I would be wandering around my home, watching CNN with my dog, Tiago,” she tells me is where we’d find her on a Tuesday night in. But just because a comfy fit on a Tuesday is the norm for Erika doesn’t mean a semi-sheer, gem-encrusted bodysuit and thigh-high boots aren’t out of the question for a concert—actually, no skin-teasing getup is. And she doesn’t give a damn if you’re offended by it. “Go be offended at your own life,” she captioned an Instagram pic of a fan-made St. Erika Jayne continental candle with her photo on it. But that’s no surprise, given the fact Erika’s already sent the world a strong signal about her indifference to haters in her song “How Many F*cks?” in which she shamelessly admits to giving “none, not one, zero.”
As Erika returns to the glam room for a makeup change from Preston Meneses, Clyde hovers over the two picnic-size tables on which he sprawled out his hair accessories for the day. Covered in tiny pill emoji hair pins, hot pink hair extensions, ladybug barrettes, regal headpieces, it looks as though a unicorn threw up. “So, Erika is the queen. All of her fans think of her as a queen and the queen needs a crown. So I like to come up with hairstyles that often give her the crown-like effect. We’ll often do center mohawk braids and twists, especially when she’s performing, because she doesn’t want hair constantly hitting her lashes and in her face or in her mouth. But one of my favorites is doing a braided crown, so we love to do a rounded cornrow, connect it at her crown and then jack it out for volume. We often add a couple pieces that are pre-teased to give the crown volume. This is very much her performance hair.” Clyde fashions his favorite look for Erika’s second shot by embedding her hair with jewels, a glam touch to the pink varsity jacket and blue jeans.
Wearing what seems like a different hairstyle 365 days a year and refreshing her bleach blonde hue via Frank Galasso, Erika’s hair has it rough—or so you’d think. Years of bleaching my own hair in high school only for it to turn into hay prompts me to ask how she maintains a lush mane. “The secret to maintaining my hair health is not having bad people on my hair. I have, like, triple-processed hair with extensions on the top and I have my hair done all the time. I just took my hair out yesterday and my hair is beautiful—like my real hair—so there is a way to do it, but you’ve gotta be careful with who touches your hair. Very few people touch this head. Only like four people,” she replies. But when the glam squad isn’t around, she reaches for Inphenom and a Sheila Stotts Removal Brush.
Within six hours, Erika bounced from a high-powered business woman in silk to a 90210 cool-mom in jeans to The Pretty Mess in a bodysuit and latex thigh-highs. Now, pantless, in a white fur coat and a baggy Biggie Smalls T-shirt, the beauty chameleon faces the camera while seated on a wooden stool for the final look. Her strands scream Tokyo Pop Princess, courtesy of kitschy trinkets out of Clyde’s kit. From the outside looking in, this seems like just another performance for her, but to her, a performance is an emblem of living her best life. “Freedom to be who you are and the access to do that is my idea of living your best life. I’m fortunate enough to live in a town and have a husband and a son that accepted me and loved me for who I am and encouraged me to be Erika and I have great creative friends that you’ve met here today, who are supportive. I surround myself with good people.” If The Pretty Mess taught us one thing other than how to pat the puss, it’s to do you, through and through.
Crew: Photography by Mat Abad; Hair by Clyde Haygood; Makeup by Preston Meneses; Wardrobe by Dani Michelle; Creative Production by Ashley Alanis.