The Africa summit is officially underway, which means one very important thing for the District: The first lady of Cameroon’s hair is here.
Chantal Biya has single-handedly made mullet the new magnificent. Biya’s bouffant is a beauty school master’s thesis in contradictions. Somehow her hair manages to be short and long, rebellious yet elegant, unruly but controlled.
And whether she’s visiting the pope or hanging out with Paris Hilton, the 43-year-old’s signature style remains unfazed. Here we humbly submit just a small sampling of the many coifs of Chantal. Washingtonians should expect to see each and every one around town this week.
1. Biya sports the I Woke Up Like This look as she steps off the plane at Andrews Air Force base with her husband, Cameroon’s president Paul Biya, on Saturday.
Cameroon President Paul Biya and his wife, Chantal, arrive at Andrews Air Force Base on Aug. 2 for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. (Cliff Owen/AP)
2. Biya and the Official Business Bob while casting her vote in Cameroon’s 2011 presidential election.
Biya holds her voting card at a polling station in Yaounde on Oct. 9, 2011. (Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)
3. Nobody puts the Orange Pompadour in the corner. Not even Naomi Campbell.
Sarah Brown, second from right, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, stands beside supermodel Naomi Campbell, center, along with Cameroon first lady Chantal Biya, fourth from left, and other first ladies after Campbell was appointed global ambassador to the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood charity during the African First Ladies Health Summit in Los Angeles in 2009. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
4. Michelle Obama’s bob meet Chantal Biya’s bobcat.
Obama, right, greets Chantal Biya during a visit to Stone Barns Center. Obama hosted a tour for the spouses of heads of government attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2010. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images )
5. The Holy Father himself isn’t safe.
Pope Benedict XVI speaks to Cameroon President Paul Biya as wife Chantal applauds at the international airport in Cameroon in 2009. (Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters)
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President Obama delivered the opening toast to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner held at the White House Tuesday night. Obama reflected on trips his family has taken to the continent and how the African people have inspired them. (AP)
Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews, and send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org.