Getting Ready

Black Panther’s Star “Always Wanted to Be a Badass”

And with Law Roach styling her, she’s a bonafide fashion icon, too.

By: Jodi Taylor
Photography: Tristan Kallas

While the city was no longer buzzing with energy from the Grammys, last night there was new excitement in L.A. as celebrities, stylists, and hair and makeup artists primped and prepped for the premiere of Marvel’s latest movie, Black Panther. There’s been a ton of buzz around the movie, and rightfully so; there’s an incredible, almost all-black cast (hi, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, and Sydelle Noel), Kendrick Lamar is producing the soundtrack album, and as Issa Rae proudly shared on her IG story last night, the movie is all about “black excellence, black heroes, black women.”

Naturally, we wanted to get in on the frenzy and celebrations, and so around 5:00 PM yesterday evening, we pulled up to The Jeremy West Hollywood Hotel and practically ran with excitement up to the room where none other than Sydelle Noel herself was getting ready for the big night, with the help of one of our faves, stylist and image architect Law Roach. While it was the first time they had worked together, you never would have guessed it; the two got along like old friends, and we happily watched from the sidelines, snapping photos of the process as Noel had her makeup and hair done and finally put on her beautiful gold gown that made her look like an actual queen. Roach could not have done a better job at pulling the perfect dress, and before Noel got swept off to the red carpet, we chatted with them both about the movie, how they ended up working together, and what it was like for Noel to audition for the role.

Sydelle Noel: “I’m a comic book junkie, and when I was auditioning, I had no clue what role I was auditioning for. When I found out I would be playing a Dora—it was a childhood dream of mine. Doras are a team of women who serve as special forces, bodyguards for Black Panther. They are warriors, fierce, and can take on anyone without blinking an eye. I’ve always wanted to play a badass, and I will continue to strive for roles like that.”

The look Law was going for:

Law Roach: “Powerful. I was just really inspired by the movie—although I haven’t seen the movie—but from what I gather from hearing the stories, and seeing the preview, and people who know about the comic is that these women are powerful, they’re protectors and warrior women. I wanted that to reflect in Sydelle’s look tonight.”

SN: “I tried on around 20+ dresses, but as soon as I put on the Marc Bouwer dress, [we] looked at each other and we just knew. We continued to try on other dresses for fun, but we kept saying to each other, ‘Not as good as the gold!’ It’s everything I envisioned and wanted to achieve for the premiere look.”

LR: “I think Marc Bouwer stamped the world in the ’90s and the early ’00s with bodycon and super feminine gowns, and although what I was going for was this superstar warrior woman, this femininity and the sexiness also had to be there. I think this dress is a bit of all of those things. The shoes are Stuart Weitzman.”

How Law approached Sydelle to work together:

LR: “I’m a fan of Glow, and I thought she was incredible in Glow. I took a shot and just reached out to her and asked her if she was working with anyone for this particular project. She hadn’t hired a stylist yet—I think it was the universe aligning and putting us together for the perfect opportunity.”

SN: “I was thrilled to know that he sought me out. I couldn’t believe someone of his caliber wanted to work with me. He’s a go-getter and knows fashion to a T. I was blown away with how many dresses and shoes he had for me to try on. What I loved most was that he wanted to know my fashion sense and how I like to represent myself, and didn’t just put me in something without getting my personal feedback. He brings out your own personal essence and adds his flare. I love that!”

LR: “One of the things that I pride myself on is really just finding out who my client is and where they are with their style. I help to elevate that, not to change the DNA of who they actually are.”

LR: “For me, I’m an energy person. I like to be in the room with other creatives and start the conversation [for hair and makeup]. I already have an idea of what I want hair and makeup to look like, but when I get in the room with other creatives, that’s the time to just jump in and make sure everybody is on the same page.”

SN: “I embraced every task that was thrown at me and took [my role] head-on. To be a Dora was a dream, and was also physically demanding. I didn’t mind shaving my head for the role either. I ended up embracing and loving my bald head while shooting.”

LR: “Anytime someone puts the responsibility of their image in my hands, I take so much care in that. No matter if it’s a major motion picture, or a major red carpet, or a press day, whatever it is. It’s someone trusting me with their image. It’s all just as important as the next.”

The advice Law gives to clients before they hit the red carpet:

LR: “To enjoy themselves, have fun. It’s a big moment, but it’s also a small moment in the rest of your life. Just come in and enjoy it and have fun. You know, they look beautiful.”

SN: “I’m really looking forward to seeing all the cast together again. I saw some people after we finished filming, but seeing everyone together again will be amazing because we really built a powerful bond during the filming of this history in the making of the film.”

SN: “This is a new side of the business that I thought I was ready for, but I still get butterflies as soon as I walk out of the car. I don’t really shake the nerves, I just embrace it. If that’s how I’m feeling on the carpet, I will admit it in an interview, and then it naturally goes away as I continue down the carpet.”

What we can expect from the movie:

SN: “Expect to be blown away! This will be like no other Marvel movie you have seen.”

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