EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to report that "Waitress" is the first time the lead had a textured wig that mimics natural curls."
PANAMA CITY — A local woman is continuing her dream as a hair and makeup artist with a new gig on a Harry Potter production.
Born and raised in Panama City, Destinee Steele works for National Broadway Tours as a wig and makeup supervisor. She consults with five shows under NETworks Tours, including the tour of “Waitress,” which is the first time the lead had a textured wig that mimics natural curls.
She toured as a freelance wig and makeup artist for several gigs, including opera performances and music videos.
Earlier in November, Steele accepted a position to be part of the hair and makeup team for a Harry Potter production in San Francisco. The UK production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” goes on stage in January at the Curran Theater in San Francisco.
“It was just so crazy and out of the blue because I already thought I found my dream job, but after getting that job offer, I guess I was wrong,” Steele said.
She said she landed the job after getting exposure for speaking up for Black talents in the wig and makeup rooms during the pandemic. She advocates for continued education for other wig and makeup artists. In addition, she’s the co-founder of the Black Hair and Makeup United organization.
Steele started making wigs in 2015 and is the founder of the ready-to-wear medical wig business, The Beauty Menagerie, where she creates wigs from scratch, which can take up to 100 hours. Steele makes wigs for all occasions and described the practice as tying single hair strands to a honeycomb of lace.
Steele said she’s most passionate about making wigs for people who live with hair loss.
“Changing your hair and makeup can make anyone look like a completely different person, which often gives a confidence boost, and I love being a part of that moment,” Steele said. “I can better the quality of life for people in need.”
After Steele graduated high school, she obtained her cosmetology license, attended Gulf Coast State College, and continued her education at the University of West Florida and The University of North Carolina School of Arts, where she earned her master’s degree in wig and makeup design.
“I know I’m in a unique position to pave the way for people who also want to be where I am,” Steele said. “I hope that I’m not the last person to hold the position I’m holding, especially people of color.”
This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Panama City's Destinee Steele makes wigs for Harry Potter production