Hollywood Dreamin': Meet Dionna Owens, The Hairstylist Behind Hollywood’s Most Natural-Looking Wigs

Owens, the mastermind behind Sew Natural, talks about her rise to Hollywood fame by creating wigs that flawlessly mimic Black women's natural hair. However, her journey highlights the significant challenges Black hairstylists face in the industry

It seems like everybody and their momma is rocking a wig these days, but it takes a special blend of skill and talent to make one––especially for some of the biggest TV and movie stars in the world. Yet that’s all in a day’s work for Dionna Owens, who started her thriving business, Sew Natural, by making extensions that look like Black women’s natural hair. Today, she’s an in-demand hair guru in Hollywood, but her journey hasn’t been without significant challenges, especially the struggle for Black hairstylists to gain recognition and union membership.

“The business started to basically fill a void,” Owens tells BET. “I wasn't able to find extensions for people that looked like me. I wanted to find something that looked and felt like our natural hair without being questioned whether or not it's yours or not. I knew I had something but I didn't know exactly what it would evolve to be.”

When Owens began her business in 2012, she couldn’t foresee the golden path ahead. It took a lot of work, some luck, and crucial celebrity attention to widen that road. As a licensed cosmetologist, she took her invention and expertise to YouTube, which led to a significant breakthrough. “I was contacted by Lyndrea Williams––Serena Williams' older sister. That put me into the space of entertainment in LA and led me to branch out, figuring out where I wanted to be in the industry, what I wanted my name to be, and what I wanted to represent.”

Meeting influential people like Brandy and Kelly Rowland created a ripple effect. As her connections grew, so did her business, allowing her to apply her proprietary natural-look technique to wigs––a staple in TV and film. “I've been doing television and film now since 2018 pretty consistently,” she says, referencing her work on films like Marsai Martin’s "Little" and Tyler Perry’s "A Madea Homecoming." Her success prompted her to think about scaling her business. “Making a wig takes a significant amount of time. I can't do anything else but fully focus on a wig one project at a time. So I'm learning how to scale and teach other people.”

Owens' journey, while impressive, also highlights the significant barriers Black hairstylists face in Hollywood. Despite her growing success, joining a union remains a challenging process. Unions offer essential benefits like health insurance, job security, and standardized pay rates. However, many Black hairstylists, especially those who are freelancers, find it difficult to gain union membership.

The entertainment industry is notoriously difficult for hairstylists to navigate. The gig-based nature of their work, combined with informal networks and the lack of standardized hiring practices, makes unionization elusive. This leads to inconsistent work conditions and pay disparities, particularly affecting Black creatives and those working outside major hubs like Los Angeles.

Despite the allure of Hollywood, Owens chose to remain in her home state of North Carolina. This decision, although seemingly counterintuitive, has been beneficial for her. “North Carolina is far enough away from the hustle and bustle; it gives me time to reset. And it gives me the ability to take my time. No one can call me to come in [for a meeting in LA] right then and there: I have more control over my work-life balance.” This distance has allowed her to control her schedule, a rare feat in the entertainment industry.

Owens’ success is a testament to her resilience and strategic decision-making. She’s owning her success on her terms––rare in Hollywood and even rarer for Black creatives. “I didn’t even know or imagine that hair could take me places so big, but that leap started it all. I’m living my dream.”

Her journey offers both inspiration and a stark reminder of the systemic challenges Black hairstylists face in the industry. As Owens continues to grow her brand and influence, her story underscores the need for better support, recognition, and union representation for Black hairstylists in Hollywood.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.