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Laetitia KY’s whimsical hair sculptures
courtesy of Instagram/@laetitiaky

Laetitia KY’s whimsical hair sculptures are powerful political expressions

We speak to the hairstylist and designer about her long braids, beauty icon Rihanna and why she'd have surgery on her eyebrows

The Dazed Beauty Community is our ever-expanding encyclopaedia of creatives and emerging talent from across the world who are redefining the way we think about beauty. From supermodels to digital artists to makeup prodigies transforming themselves in their bedrooms, these are the beauty influencers of tomorrow who embody everything Dazed Beauty is about. Discover them here.

Ivory Coast artist Laetitia KY has been braiding hair since she was five years old. “I used to style my mum and sister’s hair,” she says. “When I went back to natural hair six years ago my love for braiding increased. I wanted to go back to my African roots.”

Laetitia turned this interest in braiding into art, creating incredible hair sculptures that are at the same time whimsical and powerful. What started as a fun way to express her creativity has since transformed into a form of political expression, posting anything from pistol shaped ponytails to protest gun violence to a gender equality hair sculpture with a passionate caption about women’s rights. “At the beginning, it was only for fun and to show my creativity, but with time it changed. I saw the impact it can have on people so now it’s more serious, more engaged. I do it to send messages of self-love, tolerance, equality and respect. I do it to try to ameliorate the world I live in.”

Alongside her ever-expanding Instagram, Laetitia has also launched “Kystroy”, a clothing brand into which her politics and body positivity are innately built. The labels, for example, don’t use the words ‘small,’ ‘medium,’ or ‘large,’ but rather ‘stunning,’ ‘magnificent,’ and ‘lovely.’  “Because all of us are beautiful and it has nothing to do with size.” A message we fully endorse.

Which fictional character do you most relate to?
There are a lot of fictional characters that I like. Naruto comes to mind because I love manga. He works hard to improve himself every day which is definitely me.

Who is your beauty icon?
My beauty icon is Rihanna, without hesitation. That woman is everything. She is not only super stylish but she is a free mind who knows her beauty no matter what people may think and she promotes body positivity. Rihanna is the definition of beauty for me. I love all her looks but I have a crush on the big locs she has for Ocean’s 8.

What beauty product would you take with you to the moon?
Shea butter – it’s the best product ever and it's 100% natural. It’s very moisturising and you can use it everywhere, from skin to hair. It’s an excellent product for the whole body.

If you had to choose one surgical enhancement, what would it be and why? 
Honestly for now I wouldn’t want to change anything, but if I had to choose maybe a surgery to make my eyebrows fuller. They are so thin.

If you could have a new sense on top of your existing ones, what would it be?
Oh my god, there are so many things I want to have. Maybe the power of persuasion.

What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty means confidence. You are extremely beautiful and perfect when you love yourself. Beauty has no standard, no shape, no colour, no size. Its a state of mind.

You’ve opted to be cryogenically frozen in hopes of continuing the human race. When you’re awoken it’ll be your responsibility to kick-start the breeding. How will you wear your hair on your first date?
Extra long braids like I have now or a super-giant afro.

It’s the year 2100. You’re the owner of the largest beauty tech company in the world, what five products or treatments will you dedicate your resources trying to invent?
A product that makes your eyebrows become fuller after one application. A foundation that heals skin so that we don't have to use makeup remover at night. A mask that you put on your face to go from no make-up to flawless make-up without effort. A hair helmet with pre-installed hairstyles that you can put on your head and then choose a hairstyle by pushing a button and waiting five minutes to have your hair done. And a nail polish with a pattern that can move on your nails.

You’ve had an accident which causes you to lose your sense of smell. The doctors can’t return it fully but can give you the ability to smell one scent. What do you pick and why?
It's so hard to choose. There are so many good smells. Maybe my own natural smell so I will be able to smell something permanently.

Are you optimistic about the future?
Yes, I am. That’s why I fight for causes that I believe are important because I’m optimistic that we can change things. We have to be optimistic. We have no choice.

What is your fantasy future?
A world that is full of love where people respect and tolerate the difference of others and these differences don’t hurt people. A world where men and women are equal in every aspect. A world where every type of beauty is represented and praised so everyone can feel empowered. A world without beauty standards, with less violence that’s full of love.