Work it! On the new December 2018/January 2019 issue of Essence magazine, Michelle Obama rocked the cover flaunting her gorgeous natural hair. And with the help of her hairstylist, Yene Damtew, Michelle was able to change up her usually long, straight tresses into a style that showcased her natural beauty to the world.

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“It was an important moment for us to showcase, because she does wear her hair natural. We’ve seen little tabloid-y pictures of her on vacation or on Martha’s Vineyard with natural texture,” Yene Damtew recently dished to The Zoe Report. “This was a moment where we discussed the cover, and where she wanted to showcase it.”

Michelle, 54, wanted her latest Essence cover shoot to highlight the importance of natural beauty. And since she bares all in her new memoir, Becoming, it was only fitting that she would show her fans how beautiful she really is without straight hair.

“It definitely was a moment — and still is a moment — for Mrs. Obama, the former First Lady of the United States and the first Black First Lady of the United States to be on the cover of a major publication with her natural hair,” Damtew explained.

Michelle and her stylist first started working together when Damtew was only an assistant to Michelle’s former hairstylist, Johnny Wright. After Damtew started working with Michelle, she was able to get the fashionista politician to stop using chemicals to straighten her hair.

Michelle Sasha Malia Obama
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“I had clients, such as Mrs. Obama’s family, and was able to showcase that it’s possible to train your hair to do anything you need it to do,” she said. “I knew that styling hair without chemicals was what I wanted to do.” To get the look that Michelle had on the cover, Damtew explained that she just finger curled Michelle’s hair and applied heat. So gorgeous!