Beauty inside

How Tony winner Joaquina Kalukango prepared for her big night

Joaquina Kalukango’s Tony Awards night was one for the books. The Broadway star not only moved audiences with a moving performance of the ballad “Let It Burn” from the Civil War-era musical Paradise Squarebut won a second standing ovation when she won the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.

On her big night, Kalukango looked like the golden star in a beaded dress designed by her sister, Rachel Kalukango Harris. “My sister lives for all things African because of our culture, so we chose this fabric because it showcases true power, femininity and a sense of royalty,” Kalukango Harris says of the inspiration. behind the dress, which was accessorized with matching metallic Valentino. Swarovski platforms and jewelry. “It is a representation of the queen that emerges within and through Joaquina Kalukango.”

Kalukango wore an equally majestic beauty look with glowing skin, smoky copper lids and sculptural braided hair rich in symbolism. “We wanted to maintain Joaquina’s artistic African aesthetic and because braids represent so much the culture of African women, I started there,” explains the hairstylist. Tish Celestine, who braided Kalukango’s hair in cornrows before creating a high bun with spiral shapes that had a deeper meaning. “The circles represent that full-circle moment,” says Celestine, who has been a friend and collaborator of Kalukango for eight years and relishes this moment for her. As well as being both beautiful and iconic, the style, made up of different braided pieces, was one Celestine could take apart for the Kalukango performance and put back together in minutes. An inspiring artistic feat, indeed.

Here, Kalukango takes vogue in her prep session for the 2022 Tony Awards.