In the beginning of Megan Thee Stallion‘s highly anticipated video for her new single “Cobra,” the rapper literally climbs out of a snake’s jaws. “Like a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past — over and over again,” she says. “Cobra” is a song about what the artist has been through over the last few years, including depression, a dispute with her label, alleged cheating and the 2020 shooting by Tory Lanez, plus its subsequent trial.

But Megan has channeled these obstacles and turned them into art, as evidenced by both the deeply personal lyrics of “Cobra” and its cinematic video, which features some truly incredible hair, makeup and special effects work from some of Megan’s favorite beauty pros.

Megan’s makeup was created by her go-to makeup artist Lauren Elise Child, and Miranda Jory created the special effects. (Jory was also behind Megan’s hilarious and on-point Gremlins costume for Halloween 2023.) At first, we see her crawling out of the snake’s mouth with clumpy, defined lashes. Later, when she’s glammed up in a gown and updo, Megan wears a metallic silver smoky eye with a super sharp wing. At the mid-point of the video, though, the rapper is seen in a glass box with prying eyes watching and taking photos as she literally peels off her skin. 

The rapper wears a handful of hairstyles throughout the video, including a few slicked-back looks, an intricate updo and a super high ponytail, done by celebrity hairstylist Kellon Deryck, who frequently collaborates with the musician. “Megan and I bounce ideas off each other every time we see each other,” Deryck tells Allure of the creative process. “For the ‘Cobra’ hairstyles, we wanted them to be snakelike but not too literal, so we did an updo that had layers to it like scales, and a ponytail that had face framing fangs instead of bangs.” 

For the scene in which Megan peels off her skin and the outdoor dance break, they opted for a loose, wet-look style — in part because of the SFX elements. “We both came to the conclusion that a slicked back wet look would be best because we had to cover her body with slime and prosthetic skin to peel off.” According to Deryck, the hair was styled before prosthetics were applied. 

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