Hype Chat: ‘All Eyez On Me’ Star Annie Ilonzeh Talks New Film & Healthy Hair Must-Haves

Annie Ilonzeh

The legendary Tupac Shakur led an extraordinary life in his 25 years, and now the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s remarkable story is being brought to the big screen in the new biopic All Eyez On Me.

The film features a star-studded cast portraying some of the most prominent figures in the rapper’s life, including Danai Gurira, Kat Graham and Annie Ilonzeh who stars as the late rapper’s girlfriend, Kidada Jones.

We caught up with Annie to discuss this highly anticipated film and get the 411 on her hair and beauty secrets!

Hype Hair: How would you describe your over-all experience as part of All Eyez On Me?
Annie Ilonzeh: It’s been a moving experience, being attached to such an incredible film and having the opportunity to be a vessel and tell the story of Tupac’s life. For me, the process started almost two years ago, when I first auditioned and read with Demetrius Shipp [Tupac], so I’m as excited as everyone else to finally see the movie on the big screen.

HH: How did you get the role of Kidada Jones, and what was it like working with Demetrius Shipp?
AI: I had auditioned a few times and eventually did a “chemistry” read with Demetrius. I remember feeling like we really connected, and I left the room even more excited to get the role—and I’d already really wanted it before I went in! Producer L.T. Hutton said he knew when he saw us together that we had love between us. When we were on set, it felt like Demetrius and I had known each other for years. He’s a very supportive and giving actor, which made it such a fun experience.

HH: How did you prepare for the role? Did you get any advice from Kidada Jones?
AI: Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to meet with Kidada ahead of filming. The relationship between Tupac and Kidada represented a true love story, and I researched a lot to understand who she was and what their relationship was; I thought it was necessary to identify the love between them.

HH: As an actress, you can experiment a lot with hairstyles for film and television. How does this play into getting into character?
AI: Hair is one of those final touches that bring a look together. It makes me feel like I’ve morphed into the person, bringing her to life. It helps me feel more connected to the character.

HH: What is your daily haircare routine when you’re not on set?
AI: I try to keep it as simple as possible when I’m not working, with minimal heat and low-maintenance styles, like a bun or a few do-it-yourself braids. When I wash my hair, I comb through it using my fingers, not a comb, during the conditioning process. It helps keep more of the hair intact, since using a brush on curly hair can be damaging. Using your fingers is much more gentle. Then, a couple times a month, I’ll do oil treatments or a protein packet. Monthly trims help keep my hair healthy too.

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