Essence China: Rare.

I remember the first time I saw hair styled by Essence. Dawntoya—who's married to one of my best friends, Adam—had just gotten hers done. I think Adam and I were in the house chillin' and she walked in. All I could see were these CRISPY lines that looked as if someone had taken Adobe's pen tool and drawn these braids on her head. No gas, I'd never seen anything like it. (And I'm Nigerian. With two sisters. I've seen a lot of braids in my day.) 

I asked who'd done it, and she said, "Her name is Essence." 

Essence and I have since become friends and even worked together on a few projects. She's a master stylist, specializing in locs, braids and braided up-dos; and if that weren't impressive enough, she created an online academy to teach young stylists how to do the same thing. She's built an incredible following and now tours the country doing live seminars that teach stylists the skills and the profession that she's mastered over the years.

Phenomenal woman, if you ask me.