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Beauty Expert Mangles a Woman’s Natural Curls on Live TV

What the fuzz?! During a Today show segment about one-minute summer hairdos on Wednesday, August 3, a model’s natural curls ended up getting styled into a mangled and messy high ponytail. 

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New York City–based beauty expert and Today Style Tastemaker Deepica Mutyala had good intentions when she attempted a piled-up ponytail on Malyia, a model with a head full of beautiful ringlets. Mutyala started off innocently enough, gathering Malyia’s locks into a high side ponytail perfect for humid days. But as the seconds ticked on, things began to get a little hairy. 

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The tight updo ended up creating a bulky base that obscured Malyia’s curl pattern. Mutyala moved on from the ponytail to create bangs. “We’re going to undo these curls that she has in front of her face,” she explained, separating Malyia’s strands into a frizzy mess. The model appeared visibly uncomfortable, grimacing with each tug as Mutyala pulled her hair in different directions to shape the style.

Though Malyia kept a smile pasted on during the segment, the internet wasn’t very happy with Mutyala’s finished result. Clips of the segment were widely circulated, with one Facebook post with the video of the makeover racking up more than 3.5 million views!

Soon after, angry Instagram users flooded Mutyala’s page with criticism. “Not here to bash you but please learn more about natural hair textures before laying a finger on someone’s hair and at that calling yourself a beauty expert,” @anjuhleek.shante wrote on Mutyala’s August 3 post. “That was by far the most disrespectful thing you can do is to pull and tug at someones natural hair confidently saying you want to rid her of her beautiful curls. If that was me or many other natural haired girls I would have gotten upset and walked off stage or got crazy with my hands. I wish you a well educated future in NATURAL hair.”

A very sorry Mutyala acknowledged the comments, insisting that she meant no harm. “I apologize if I offended you or anyone by no means was that my intention. I am passionate about diversity and it’s an incredibly hard battle to fight. Getting in front of the camera is only the first step,” she responded in an August 3 Instagram post swarming with comments from displeased viewers. “I understand representation matters but that also needs to come w compassion, consideration to cultural nuances and respect. I’m truly so genuinely sorry that didn’t come across in that segment… @themodelmalyia is absolutely stunning & I’m so grateful she was able to model for me ❤️ apologies again & hope you understand that my heart was in the right place xo”

And Malyia agreed, graciously rushing to Mutyala’s defense. “Deepica practiced several times on my hair with the style and I loved it,” she commented on the same post. “As most of you may be aware natural hair reacts to the environment and without being allowed tools or products the final result didn’t turn out like the way we intended. I say all that to say I was honored when asked to be a model. And even more grateful to be a visual representation for women that look like me … I would not hesitate to be on another show or segment including hair. This was a dream come true to be on national TV for the first time. Deepica is a sweetheart and I look forward to working with her again. Sending good vibes.”