This Is the Meaning of Madonna's Billboard Awards "Lioness" Mane

Madonna performs a tribute to Prince onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards-P 2016
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The pop queen got a haircut just for her tribute to Prince.

Madonna's visage at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night was in stark contrast to her last big carpet appearance at the Met Ball, where she bared her bum and boobs in protest of ageism and sexism in Hollywood. For this occasion, in which she was honoring the late Prince with a tribute performance, she covered up in a custom lavender brocade Gucci suit.

The rest of her more serious look was classic Madonna. "I was inspired by [her] iconic look," says the star's hairstylist Andy LeCompte (who also works with Penelope Cruz and Nicole Richie). "She wanted to go shorter, so we cut off about four inches for a fresh style and went with a wavy, bed-head [look], teasing the hair for big volume."


A photo posted by Andy Lecompte (@andylecompte) on

It's a 'do LeCompte calls classic Madonna, yet "elegant" and "lioness." This occasion was really about pumped-up volume: "I used a fine-tooth comb and back-combed through the sections of the hair to tease the waves and create more volume to give her that lioness look," the hair guru tells Pret-a-Reporter. "It makes the look a little more modern and unique with a matte texture," which came courtesy of a liberal application of Wella Professionals EIMI Dry Me dry shampoo ($19) after he wound her hair around the base of a one-inch curling wand to create the style. 

Ultimately, says LeCompte, "Madonna's voluminous waves tell her fans that she is proud of her past and the people who have inspired her along her journey." Of course Madonna's hair would come with a hidden message.