Florence Lawson headed to South Beach on a Sunday knowing one thing: Jimmy Butler was contemplating a look. The Philadelphia-based hairstylist works with a wide range of clients around the country. None of them have tastes quite like the Miami Heat superstar.
To that end: For the second consecutive year, Butler arrived at the Heat’s preseason media day with a hairstyle fans most certainly won’t see again this season. Last year it was dreadlocks that extended past his shoulders. This year, it was curtain bangs paired with a trio of lip rings and an eyebrow piercing, a look you’d be more likely to see at the emo-heavy When We Were Young festival than at the Kaseya Center in Miami.
“This is my emotional state,” Butler said from the podium, a quick smile curling across his face. Was this a nod to the team failing to land Jrue Holiday? The team’s loss in the NBA finals? Was it the latest in a line of subversive actions taken by Butler to topple the norms of the sport? Some things we’ll never know.
GQ did, however, catch up with Lawson moments after she landed back in Philadelphia following a whirlwind trip to Miami to create a look that conquered the internet.
GQ: How long in advance did you know this look was coming?
Florence Lawson: I didn’t! Jimmy said he was considering a look and had been preparing for it, but I didn’t know until I got out there.
Can you walk us through the prep work that made this possible?
The night before, we used shampoo and conditioner. It probably took about 45 minutes to an hour. Then we straightened his hair with flat irons to provide a sleeker look. On the morning of the event, we took like 10-15 minutes to get him ready. That’s it!
Were you also tasked with the nails and piercings?
Just the hair. I just played my part! But we listened to music that fit the genre while we prepared. I couldn’t tell you what it was, but I enjoyed the music as well as he did.
That eyebrow piercing wasn’t real, right?
Some things you just gotta leave up to the imagination [laughs].
Why do you think Jimmy keeps showing up to NBA media day, which is a content generation factory with legs that extend throughout the season, with a look that he likely won’t rock again?
Jimmy is an individual. He has his own mind, his own way of thinking. And he does what he wants, you know? Who wouldn’t? You have the power to do what you want—and it’s not hurting anyone. It’s for fun and to just stir things up a bit.
My understanding is this was your first NBA media day experience. What was it like?
It was amazing. I enjoyed myself so much yesterday. It was a new experience for me, but also a very fun one. I pray that I’m around for the next one, because it was so much fun. In between shoots and interviews, we’re all talking and laughing. And Jimmy was just taking it all in. He almost felt like we were more into the look than he was.
Did Jimmy say anything after the day ended?
He said the look was well executed, and that he really enjoyed it.
Jimmy disclosed in an interview that he may drop a country album in the future. What do you think Jimmy Butler Country Star looks like?
There’s no telling! I will be both surprised and not surprised with whatever it is.
How would you describe Jimmy’s look and persona to someone who hasn’t met him?
Expect the unexpected.