Hype Hair: You’ve actually done a complete transformation – not just with your hair, but with your health and weight loss. How did that begin?
Syleena Johnson: I was fed up. I have been an athlete my whole life. I worked out and yo-yo dieted my whole life because I didn’t know how to eat. So, I went to college for nutrition science to understand the science of eating and what I need to put in my body. I got my degree in June 2015 and by the end of September, I started my diet when I got off tour. That’s when I took out my weave. I just went into a hiding situation and I worked out and my meals were very strict and I got real focused.
HH: What was the biggest challenge?
SJ: Stress. I had been working out and eating right and nothing was happening. I took this stress test and [discovered] my stress levels were high from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. That was preventing me from losing weight. And, when I did lose weight I would gain it right back. Now, I have more of control of who I am and I know what I’m supposed to do.
HH: In addition, to your health and beauty transformations, you also birthed two new projects last year with your album, Rebirth Of Soul, and your TV One show, Sister Circle.
SJ: I’m very grateful. I love what I’m doing. The TV show is something I never would have seen coming. It’s not something I set out in my career. I am simply being obedient and following God’s assignment and having a great time. As far as my music, it will never die in me. It is who I am.
HH: How has your experience on Sister Circle been different from R&B Divas: Atlanta?
SJ: I don’t come to the set nervous or with anxiety like I used to with R&B Divas. I don’t have problems in the morning with anyone. Real talk, on that show, I just knew it was going to be drama. But, on [Sister Circle], I don’t even have to sing and people will listen. Our goal is to have fun, heal and inspire. I’m really not sure where it’s going to take me, but I’m excited about where it could go.
HH: Rebirth Of Soul, your collection of R&B covers, came out last November to critical acclaim. What was it like working on the project with your father?
SJ: It was an interesting process considering we don’t get along very well. But one thing that is a true and pure connection is music. He is everything that I know of music. I can connect with him and work on any level as far as music is concerned.
HH: What inspired you to revisit those classics?
SJ: I actually recorded all of those records in December 2010. My mindset was to bring enlightenment to real music and what real sound was as opposed to an overly saturated, auto tuned industry. Here we are, seven years later and it’s still relevant and that tells you something about the music. The music is timeless. It’s all about who’s singing it. That was my test to myself.
HH: What was your favorite part of the recording process?
SJ: The live experience and being able to see those live instruments live with my voice.
HH: You’ve been pretty busy in-between tapings with Rebirth of Soul Tour performances. What is one thing that you must have when you’re on the road?
SJ: Naked Honey & Almond Moisture Whip Conditioner by Essations. It’s a protein based conditioner and it’s amazing because it snaps my curl back — when it dries, it dries curlier.
HH: Any other must-haves?
SJ: I use It’s a 10 leave-in conditioner. My hairstylist is Robin Groover and I use her Too Groovy shampoo and conditioner. We also use Design Essentials styling mousse and Moisture Love Moisture & Style Cream and, of course, coconut oil from SheaMoisture.
HH: Do you have a favorite hair moment?
SJ: When I decided to not wear wigs and weaves anymore.
Sister Circle airs Monday – Friday, 12pm EST on TV One.