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Celebrity Style

ELLE meets Rihanna’s hair stylist

By Tamsin Crimmens

Rihanna's epic 777 tour is more than halfway through now . . . and ELLE's intrepid reporter Mark Ellen is embedded with team Riri.

Here is his latest dispatch from day five on the road - Paris.

There was a touch of tension backstage at the Trianon in Paris last night. The punctuality-resistant Rihanna was under fierce instruction to appear onstage at 9pm - not least because the show was being recorded for a lucrative MSN broadcast. Good news though: she was 'in the building' at 20.50. Less good news: she was onstage at 21.45. And off at 22.35, five minutes after the curfew.

The set was 20 minutes shorter that in Mexico City, Toronto and Stockholm which may not have thrilled the advertisers.

Once on stage, Rihanna hands out freebies from her sponsor HTC to the crowd; 'I got an HTC phone here - lemme hear you say 'HTC'! It's inscribed 'Paris one-of-one'. There's only one of them. Yeah, one! ONE! How d'you say 'one' in French?'

But the show was fantastic. Everyone - well certainly Elle and friends - is now joining in with the backing singers' brilliant routine for 'Diamonds' - cute little triangular hand signs for 'diamonds falling from the sky'.

We all decanted to the VIP Club afterwards where an amateur lone barman - French barman who can't open champagne bottles? - struggled with serve 100 revellers and Rihanna showed up at 2.45am with P Diddy, Pharell and Akin, all swept to a private balcony above the dance floor, Reflex on the decks again (he'd warmed up for her show a few hours earlier).

Back at the airport and headed for Berlin, we ran into Yusef Williams, her hair stylist.

'The short crop on the album cover happened on the plane to Tokyo,' he told me. 'I went for the black, then I remembered I had these clippers and so I shaved off the sides. The Stockholm look was Street Coco Chanel.'

Does she ever have a bad hair day?

'Not if I'm around! I was sent to her from God! She could shave ALL her hair off and it wouldn't matter, she's so pretty. All of her hair inspiration comes from guys - like pictures [from men’s style magazines]. We can sit down and talk about hair for hours. She texts me pictures at five in the morning. We change all the time. Come up the front end on the flight to Berlin and see if she looks any different!'

Behind Yusef at Charles De Gaulle airport was Ri's massage therapist and karmic companion Lama, her t-shirt emblazoned with Indian religious icons.

'What she does takes a lot of energy so there's a lot of tension and I have to relax her,' she said. 'When she's tired I get the circulation going on her neck and shoulders. Before the show she gets nerves and fear, and adrenalin makes tension build up. We do preventative stuff too - sinus and headache release. It's great she loves herself enough to want someone to take care of her.'

Christine Dallas, hospitality liaison - she prepares Ri's dressing rooms - also works for Jay-Z. And Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen both played on the recent Democratic campaign trail. Was Barack Obama as wonderful as everyone says?

'When I met him I told him my name and that we had the same birthday and five hours later he came into our production room and wanted to pose for a picture with us all. This is a guy with a lot on his mind - an election campaign among them - and he comes right over to me and says, 'Hey, I want to stand next to my birth-sister Christine!''

Gold bottles of the Jay-Z-championed Ace Of Spades champagne were liberally tipped out on the plane though we were barely able to drink the stuff when we figured that, at £400 a bottle, it's £75 a glass - ie about twenty quid a sip.

We've just touched down in Berlin where the backstage area at E-Werk is rammed with traditional German food - stollen and big old stodgy cakes we're all hoovering up with shameful delight.

I feel officially part of the Elle family now as I've been booked into my hotel as 'Mrs Ellen Mark'.

Oh THAT'S nice. Not Ms?

Keep checking ELLE’s Twitter and Instagram for more Rihanna gossip and pictures!

See all Rihanna's best looks in her style file here

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