Today Show Stylist Apologizes for Disastrous Hair-do, Model Said it May Have Been ‘Too Ambitious’

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Malyia McNaughton (NBC)

After NBC’s “Today Show” aired a segment on one-minute summer hairstyles, the stylist at the center of severe backlash on social media has apologized. Deepica Mutyala posted an apology on her Twitter page late last week saying she is “deeply sorry for what happened.”

Mutyala’s task on the August 3 segment was to transform three model’s hair into quick, easy-to-do styles after a post-beach swim. Her high side ponytail on model Malyia McNaughton was swiftly panned online. Several people questioned her expertise and thought she was unqualified to handle African-American hair.

“I am a huge advocate for diversity so offending anyone breaks my heart. [I’m] learning from this experience and promise to do better,” she said. “Love you all and I will do everything I can to make this right.”

In the days after the segment aired McNaughton came to the on-air personality’s defense, saying a one-minute challenge “may have been too ambitious.”

She also explained the look on her face was not one of horror and “unfortunately the end result didn’t turn out as planned.”

The designer and CEO expanded on what when on in an interview New York Magazine.

McNaughton revealed she was added to the segment the night before it aired and Mutyala practiced the hairstyle prior to taping. In a photo of what the look was supposed to be, the model was Black and had a similar hair texture to McNaughton.

“It was essentially supposed to be a curly ponytail that kind of goes high on the head and kind of combines with the bangs,” the Colored Girl Campaign model explained. “I had never tried the style before, but once she showed me the inspiration photo, I knew my hair could do it.”

But she said once the segment began taping live, things fell apart.

“Unfortunately once the cameras rolled live, the pressure just kind of hit,” she said. “I kind of knew halfway through that it wasn’t coming together the way that we initially intended, but I knew that we just had to keep going because at the end of the day it’s live TV.”

The jewelry line owner admitted she was surprised by the backlash and said she “felt for [Mutyala] because I knew her intentions were pure and I’m an advocate for everything that has to do with natural hair, Black-related inclusion, and so I felt her sentiment and didn’t want it to turn that way.”

“I thought that it was great that she wanted to show diversity,” she continued. “I commend her and applaud her for that, and that’s why I think people need to look at that angle as opposed to completely bashing her because I feel like that closes the door for future opportunities. She will probably never work with a natural-hair model again, in regards to hair, and I think that that’s unfortunate.”

McNaughton added Mutyala was very apologetic and the model was willing to work with her again “even if it’s a makeup segment, maybe not hair.”

Watch the original segment below.

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