Shanghai-born actress Leah Lewis honored her Chinese heritage at the 2024 Gold Gala, taking inspiration from ancient Chinese braided hairstyles (hanfu). Intricate and precise, five braids came together in Lewis’s statement updo. 

Ahead, EnVi deep dives into Leah’s hanfu-inspired hairstyle with the help of celebrity hairstylist Rachel Lita, who was responsible for the Elemental star’s red-carpet hairdo.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 11: Leah Lewis attends Gold House’s 2024 Gold Gala at The Music Center on May 11, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Marina Quinonez for EnVi Media

As she explains, Rachel started by sectioning the back portion of Leah’s hair into a high ponytail. She used the útiles beauty “The Hairtie” to “secure the snatch.” Momentarily leaving the front sections aside, Rachel slicked the entire top section back with the got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Hairspray and the Mason Pearson Brush. Then, she parted the remaining front sections down the middle and slicked those pieces back separately before creating five braids from the high ponytail.

útiles beauty
Got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Hairspray

Since Leah sported a short haircut, the hairstylist attached RastAfri Pre-Stretched Silky Braiding Hair to add length. Before braiding, she brushed Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam through the actress’ hair to add grit. To seal in any splayed hairs and subtly secure Lewis’ short hair, Rachel used the Magic Fingers Shine ń Jam. Rachel then reached for an unconventional beauty tool: craft wire. She bent it into five arc-shaped segments and molded Leah’s hair around it. Finally, the celebrity hairstylist secured the hairdo with Bobby Pins, and Leah was off to The Music Center for her second Gold Gala. 

Pre-Stretched Silky Braiding Hair
Paul Mitchell
Magic Fingers
ń Jam

Meet the expert: Rachel Lita

Rachel Lita is a Los Angeles-based hairstylist whose work has appeared in publications such as Vogue, Elle and Notion. Rachel’s intricate braids and wig installs, as well as her celebrity hairstyling, stand out in her extensive portfolio. “I attended beauty school right after high school in 2010, I knew from the start that I’d do hair in any and every aspect,” she tells EnVi. “I went from assisting at salons to having my own to becoming freelance and it’s been a wild but very rewarding ride.” 

Interested in more fashion and beauty from the 2024 Gold Gala? Check out 17 Standout Beauty Looks Spotted on the Gold Carpet here.