It was 2010. The location: London NYC Hotel in midtown Manhattan. The occasion: Diddy’s live uStream party celebrating the release of his short-lived rap&B collective Dirty Money’s premiere (and only) LP Last Train To Paris. While Puff hobnobbed with the likes of Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Fabolous, Swizz Beatz and a lesser known Kevin Hart, the only individual to crowd headlines that night was a model whose curls caught on fire while she was lounging in a tub by a candle. (See the viral proof here at the 0:36 mark.)
Fast forward three years later and here I was, not swashing around bubbles in a bikini, caught in a similar situation at Spin Media and Vibe magazine’s merger meet-and-greet at the SoHo House.
I was mingling with some marketing reps by the bar, doing my usual introduction (“Hi, my name is Adelle. 2 L’s. No Grammys” breaks the ice every time) and leaning back on the tabletop, which, for reasons unknown, was littered with miniature candles. While the setting attempted romantic, there was nothing adorable about the next five seconds and the smell of burnt Finesse mouse and hair follicles.
As my hair literally went up in flames, I immediately erupted into laughter – my go-to defense mechanism against anything that may require a fight-or-flight response – as I heard shrieks from bystanders and caught flickers of fiery red-orange dancing up the right side of my scalp. The scene itself mirrored a slapstick comedy really: Vibe’s former editorial director was swatting at the flames like a pesky band of flies while a chorus of gasps circled the room. Then there’s me, trying to keep my cerebrum at a 90-degree angle as I furiously fanned the mini-forest fire on my head away. Within a matter of five minutes, the tiny inferno on my kinky coif was gone.
I raced to the women’s bathroom to wash away what I was convinced would be a mound of dark, curly, lifeless tresses, only to see half an inch of hair circle the drain.