LaTisha Chong, the celebrity hairstylist who was behind Serena Williams’ appearance on the now iconic 2022 cover of Vogue where Serena announced her retirement, has passed away at the age of 32 after a prolonged fight with breast cancer. Her sister confirmed. Chong was one of a select few Black women who revolutionized the fashion industry by creating hairstyles for athletes like Williams and actresses like Tracee Ellis Ross as well as other notable singers, fashion designers, actors, and other A-list celebrities.
Taking a look back, Chong’s battle with cancer started at a fairly young age.
She was 21 when she had gotten the victory over two different cancers. It all started on January 19, 2012, when she was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer.
She noticed two lumps in her breasts and instantly knew something was wrong with her. After being diagnosed with the two lumps as cancerous tumors, her doctor discovered breast cancer two weeks later and told her that she also had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
During those periods, she also had to deal with fluctuating weight besides losing her hair at a young age. Latisha’s doctors told her she was cancer free on June 19, 2012, but even though she was cancer free, she still had to go through treatment because of its recurrence.
She even had undergone reconstructive surgeries to prepare her for her new breasts.
According to The New York Times, LaTisha was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the United States at the age of six together with her family. Prior to beginning her career as a professional hairstylist, she served in the US Air Force after enlisting at the age of 19. She received her honorable medical release from the military in the year 2014. Chong also obtained her degree in biology from Charleston Southern University, a Christian institution, in 2017.
Make-up artist, Raisa Flowers, who worked with Chong on the iconic Serena Williams cover for Vogue Magazine shared how, even though she was visibly sick, Chong still soldiered on to make the shoot look amazing.
“For our recent Vogue cover, she was in bad shape,” explains Flowers. “But she really made sure that she did the shoot. She had an idea for the hair, doing it with all the colors that Serena likes, and she bought all these hair options and spent time dyeing them. She was a genius with wigs — it’s really hard on shoots to get Black women’s hair to be super perfect and beautiful. She really took care of Serena’s hair, she washed and braided it, did all these things, because she was really about hair care as well.”
Black women face both disproportionate exposure to breast cancers and the highest risk of serious health impacts from the disease.
African American women have a 31% breast cancer mortality rate – the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group. Among women younger than 45 like Chong, breast cancer incidence is higher among African American women than White women.
According to the American Cancer Society, Black people are more likely to die from most cancers and to live the shortest amount of time after a cancer diagnosis than any other racial/ethnic group.
Tributes for the celebrated hairstylist began pouring in all over social media as