The Mane Event
Andre Walker on set in New York City as he tweaks Oprah's curls for the October 2013 cover.
For 30 years, Walker has been the man behind the chair, styling Oprah's hair for her TV show, countless appearances—and every single cover shoot for O, The Oprah Magazine
. In honor of our 15th anniversary, he shares the hits, the near misses—and the styles Oprah will never wear again.
"We started working together in 1985. We were both babies. Oprah had recently moved to Chicago. I've had the privilege of doing her hair for three decades. When I retire, I am definitely going to miss that woman." — Walker
April 2001: Pixie
"This is the first time we shot the cover in Santa Barbara. Oprah fell in love with the place. We rented a house in the mountains with a great view. Oprah said, 'Why have I never been here?' That's her real hair. I cut it short because it was damaged from styling. Trimming her hair kept it healthy."
"Oprah was going to be turning 50 soon. She'd been wearing her hair braided for a few months. When we took out the braids, I cut this youthful spiky look. Oprah said it was her favorite of all the cuts she'd ever had."
April 2005: Full-Blown Bob
"We started growing Oprah's hair longer because we decided that even though you may be over 50, you can still wear long hair if it looks good."
January 2006: Braids
"Oprah kept her braids in all the time because she loved wearing them—they're so easy. She even wore wigs over the braids on her show."
March 2006: Wind and a Wave
"Here's one of my favorite looks. We called it 'a wing and a wave.' (Reggie Wells, Oprah's former makeup artist, called it 'whipped-cream hair.') This photo was shot in Hawaii. We started with Oprah's natural hair, but it began to get limp, so we used one of her wigs."
December 2006: Upswept Curls
"Oprah loves an updo. I think it does something very nice for her face when we pull up her hair. It just kind of gives everything a lift. "
May 2007: "The Martha"
"This is what Oprah called 'the Martha Washington look.' I liked it, but later found out nobody else did. I heard about that for a looooong time. I still don't think it's that bad."
September 2010: Pixie Wig
"The wig in this shot was originally shoulder length. We had used it a lot, and the hair wasn't in great shape, so I cut it. Oprah loved it. You can see how beautifully it fits her head."
September 2012: All Natural
"This is exactly what Oprah's hair looks like when we take it out of cornrows. She'd always said she wanted to wear her hair like this on the cover. I love it, and so does she. She likes big hair."
May 2013: Half Up/Half Down
"I don't know what possessed me to do Oprah's hair like that. She hated it. She dubbed this one her 'Dale Evans look.'"
September 2013: Bigwig
"So much hair! Hairstylist Kim Kimble made this wig. I washed it and hung it up, and it took three full days to drip-dry in my bathroom. After it dried, I teased every inch of it to make it as big as it could be. It weighed three and a half pounds. Oprah is such a sport about stuff like this—no complaints."
January 2014: Highlights
"These highlights were a great color, a caramel that complemented Oprah's complexion. We had to stop highlighting at some point because it can be damaging."
March 2015: Bombshell Blow-Out
"Another favorite style. I blew out Oprah's hair to get these beautiful, smooth waves. Of course, there's a fan to help give the look some movement!"