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[Pics] The Woman Behind The TODAY Show’s Horrible Makeover is a Gorgeous Model in NYC

• Aug 9, 2016

By now we’ve all seen it, the universally panned TODAY Show makeover that left a black woman’s hair looking absolutely tragic. Well, the woman behind the makeover is Malyia McNaughton, and there is more to her than that terrible video.

1. She is signed to Bicoastal Model Management.

Malyia has been passionate about becoming a model for twelve years now. Her dream finally came true almost six months ago when she was signed by Bicoastal MGMT. The international modeling company discovered Malyia as a feature in “The Best Street Styles at Afropunk” on

2. She left her 9‑to‑5 to become an entrepreneur.

Malyia designs body chains and other jewelry selling them through her company Made by Malyia. Singer Jazmine Sullivanis among her celebrity clients. Last year, her company was selected to create pieces inspired by the blockbuster hit The Divergent Series: Insurgent.

The fear of leaving the comfort and security of a guaranteed salary was the hardest part of making the decision. The brand was growing, but I felt I was doing more harm to the business by not devoting all my time to it’s success. I started developing my exit strategy by creating a savings goal and reducing expenses. I researched other entrepreneurs that took similar leaps of faith and realized that I was on the right path.  — The Stylish Standout

3. She credits going natural with transforming her life.

This liberating moment represented so much more than the act of removing years of damage. It was symbolic and represented a new phase of my life. I credit my natural hair journey for helping me discover a self-love I never experienced in the past. — Curl Riot

4. She has been natural for 4 years.

Malyia went natural in 2012 after realizing the harmful effects that relaxers can have on the body.  She transitioned for a bit before big chopping.

5. She is proud of her melanin.

Not too long ago, Malyia participated in The Colored Girl Project, which celebrated black women of various shades.  From Essence:

When asked about colorism, jewelry designer, Malyia McNaughton suggested that Black women are often on the receiving end of false compliments. “I don’t like back-handed compliments,” McNaughton states, “those ‘you’re pretty for a brown girl’ statements. When someone tells me that I look like a ‘Black Barbie’ I often wonder what that means and then they’ll say something like ‘your features look European, but you’re a brown girl.’ ”

6. She is a Bronx native with Caribbean roots.

Malyia grew up in New York as the youngest of five children. Her family is Caribbean.

7. She keeps it professional.

While many of us cringed during that infamous Today Show segment, Malyia kept smiling. Even after the segment, she had no ill words about the hair stylist:

I knew it didn’t look like it intended. When we practiced it, it really looked nice. I look forward to trying the intended style again. [The stylist is] a sweetheart and I knew that she was doing her best under pressure and with the time allotted. The goal of the segment was to be inclusive and to highlight diversity. This is a conversation that we need to have as women of color. In the beauty industry we need representation.Curl Riot

Get em Malyia!

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5 years ago

Her family is Carribean… That’s a bit vague.

Malyia Mcnaughton
Malyia Mcnaughton
5 years ago
Reply to  ladyelle

My family is Jamaican. I was born in NYC. 🙂

5 years ago

Excellent article! It’s true. WE DO NEED REPRESENTATION! A lot of them are clueless about WHAT to do with our skin and make up and hair.

5 years ago

that is how you keep cheques coming in. keep it professional, don’t tear into that stylist.

Malyia Mcnaughton
Malyia Mcnaughton
5 years ago

Thank you for featuring me and writing this article! I am a huge fan of Black Girl with Long Hair! I will continue to use my platform and voice to further the conversation concerning representation and inclusion. Thanks for the love!

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