“I’m like—that’s Janet Jackson! I do the cabbage patch and everything every time I see her!” So says Cassidy Blaine, who’s been turning out sick-ass hairstyles for Miss Jackson (if you’re nasty) and her touring crew for the last decade. And we can’t blame her; Jackson is indisputably an icon. You know it, and we know it.
Ms. Blaine, a West Hollywood resident hailing from Hawaii, got her big break when her childhood friend, legendary choreographer and longtime Jackson collaborator Gil Duldulao, called her to groom Jackson’s background dancers. Blaine’s talent and generally laid-back demeanor — which belies her fiery passion for hair — quickly secured her a place on the team.
Today, Blaine works directly with key hairdresser Janet Zeitoun on Jackson’s videos, ad campaigns and tours. The Glow Up landed an interview with Blaine just as she touched down from the superstar’s latest U.S. State of the World Tour to find out about the methods behind how Janet stays in control — of her hair.
The Glow Up: Let’s get right to it: Every woman wants Janet Jackson icon-status hair that looks effortless and lasts when they hit the dance floor.
Cassidy Blaine: OK, I got you. Janet has a lot of hair and a beautiful tight curl that’s past her shoulders when you straighten it. There’d be no way she could have kept her hair if—like a lot of these celebrities and entertainers—she constantly put extensions and stuff in her hair. It takes over and wears out and tears up the hair. So she really tries to avoid that, and stays using her natural hair.
TGU: What’s the secret?
CB: So, we made a ponytail for her. I used similar textures to her hair. I mixed pieces of hair; some a little bit more lengthy and not so curly, and some more tight.
TGU: What’s the system for attaching the ponytail?
CB: Well, basically, the piece that I created for her, it’s very easy-breezy, like putting on a scrunchy. It’s a drawstring that encases the bun, and two tiny combs cinch in a little bit. And we just kind of cross-pin it. We only use open granny pins and avoid bobby pins. If we had to be on a time clock … 10-15 minutes, and it’s done.
TGU: What products do you use?
CB: Janet’s key hairdresser, Janet Zeitoun, just developed her own line called SOTAH (State of the Art Hair). It’s a great product. I used theirhydrating cream to style. I also use Sebastian Ultra-Firm Finishing Hairspray, because it doesn’t flake up when we try to attach it to Janet’s bun.
TGU: How do you get her hair straight?
CB: I blow it out! My blow-dryer’s like a gun. If anybody wants to use my blow-dryer … “Um, I think not.” Because any wrong movement—like just dropping it once—could ruin it.
TGU: And what do you use for products for blowouts?
CB: I use SOTAH. You have to get a Dyson blow-dryer from Sephora because they have their own warranty on top of it, so if something goes wrong, they get it back to you faster.
TGU: What’s your favorite hairstyle that you’ve done on her?
CB: 2009 Jingle Ball London. It was gorgeous. Google it, girl!
TGU: How do dancers keep their hair looking good when they’re performing?
CB: Wigs! Because they don’t have to use hair spray. I stress never to use too much product when you’re trying to achieve a style, because they get filmy.
TGU: Tell me about what it’s like to do hair on Janet’s level?
CB: I’m living a prayer that I put into action, and my friends helped me get there. Every time I’m around the person that Janet is, it makes me younger. She shows me that life is exactly the way it’s supposed to be: Sometimes you get a break here and there. She walks her life as it was presented to her, and no matter what she’s going through, she always rises to the occasion.
The Glow Up guide: What have we done for you lately? Here’s a full list of products to style the iconic Janet Jackson ponytail. You’re in control!
• SOTAH Oil/Créme Therapy • Sebastian Shaper Plus Extra Hold Hairspray • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray • Moroccan Oil Moisture Repair Conditioner • Dyson blow-dryer • Croc Premium Infrared Flat Iron • Wet Brush classic and paddle brush • Olivia Garden NanoThermic Ceramic & Ion Brush Set