Contrary to their catch-all name, not all ponytails are created equal. Are the limp, ribbon-tied powdered wig ponytails of the Founding Fathers in the same league as say, Lizzo’s bouncy, bang-accented version on the red carpet? Not even close — but they’re ponytails just the same. This summer, in particular, glamorous takes on the old-as-time style have dominated celebrity events, both public and private. The latest star to add an unreal amount of elegance to a classic? Halle Bailey’s high ponytail on the Variety red carpet, which begins with her signature locs and cascades into a waterfall of warm copper curls. Considering the event she attended honored the most powerful up-and-comers in the industry, Bailey’s power pony was a perfect pick.
The star-honoring event comes just days after Bailey graced the Variety Young Hollywood Issue cover, a celebration of her rise from child star to full-on franchise leader. In both the issue’s photoshoot and on the red carpet, Bailey’s natural glamour and sophistication are clear in everything from her poses to her carefully-chosen beauty looks. To complement her high ponytail and curve-hugging silver gown, Bailey and her glam team opted for an ethereal dusting of pale silver eyeshadow, a delicate pink lip, and just enough dewy blush to warm her sculpted cheekbones.
Bailey’s ponytail isn’t only a testament to the versatility of updos, either — it’s also a love letter to the locs she’s worn for years, and proof that there are a million ways to style them. Her expert blend of textures, extensions, colors, and shapes adds so much dimension to what would otherwise be a simple, straightforward look. In fact, when she scored the titular role in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, Bailey and the film’s director made sure Ariel wears locs in the movie — in the mermaid’s trademark bright red, too.
After an A-list evening at the Variety celebration, Bailey fittingly spent the next day at Disneyland in a youthful, relaxed side-parted bun. Her ability to morph from glittering glamour girl to the proverbial girl next door is always exciting to watch, but it’s utterly unsurprising — that’s just star quality in action.