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01st Feb 2022

Meet the stylist behind Erica Cody’s hair on Dancing with the Stars

We caught up with stylist Stephanie Nwambu who is making some serious waves in the hair community right now.

Irish R&B singer Erica Cody made history on her Dancing with the Stars debut after she and her partner Denys Samson received the highest score ever for a couple’s first dance. As well as bringing it to the dance floor each week, Erica has also been rocking gorgeous hair, which comes courtesy of Irish hairstylist Stephanie Nwambu.

Also known as Callah Crowns, Stephanie is a stylist that specialises in Afro-Carribean hair, but can adapt to all hair textures. Stephanie landed her first editorial gig last March, and her career has snowballed since then.

“Everything’s taken on a life of it’s own,” she tells Her.

For Stephanie, her love of hair stretches back to her youth.

“I’ve always had a passion for hair,” she says. “I was in med school for a while, and that didn’t work out for me. Then a friend said to me, ‘You know that you’re amazing at doing hair, you could actually make it your career if you take it seriously.’ So I was just doing it on the side while I was in Uni, and then I moved back home and stopped doing hair for about a year. Then, I decided to start taking orders again, one thing led to another and we’re here today, working on Dancing with the Stars.”

Stephanie’s passion for what she does stems from her desire to make people feel good.

“I feel like there’s nothing like having your hair done and looking put together,” she says. “When your hair is done, there’s just this different air of confidence. I really like being able to give that to people. That joy has always intrigued me. There’s so much that can be done with hair, be it natural, or a wig, whatever the case may be. Hair is a huge part of a woman’s identity.”

When Stephanie landed the Dancing with the Stars gig, she admits she was a little bit taken aback.

“I just didn’t see it coming at all, it was very surreal,” she says. “It was nervousness, it was a lot of excitement. I’ve never done someone’s hair to this capacity before, so I just had to hope that no pins would go flying.”

In terms of styling, Stephanie tends to go for volume, and she uses a number of styling techniques – twist-outs, braid-outs, straight-backs and sew-ins – to achieve her desired level of volume. In fact, she used a sew-in on Erica on the night she made Dancing With The Stars history.

To those looking to kickstart their own career in hairstyling, Stephanie has some words of wisdom.

“Really hone your craft. Practice as much as you can. Increase your knowledge and always be open to learn,” she explains. “I would also say, don’t limit yourself. It’s good to have a niche, or a specific market, but it’s also important to take the opportunities that come. Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Reaching out to those you admire in your field is also a good way to get started.

“If there’s a specific brand, just reach out to them and show them your work. Just say ‘I exist, I’m able to do this, and I’d love the opportunity to work with you. Even assist other hairstylists. You learn a lot from assisting.”

You can check out more of Stephanie’s work right here.