Tina Turner was a woman of many talents.
Following the news of the Queen of Rock and Roll’s death on Wednesday, PEOPLE spoke to Wayne Lukas, her longtime tour stylist, who opened up about what Turner was like behind the scenes.
Turner fans everywhere know that her hair was a signature part of her look — and Lukas says that he would walk into her room and see “50 Tina Turner wigs all lined up hanging” on a wall as she traveled on tour. The best part about it? She dyed and sewed her own wigs.
“She said nobody did it well. She’s like the rock and roll Betsy Ross,” Lukas tells PEOPLE exclusively. “She would sit on the edge of that bed, and you’d see her with a needle and thread and scissors sewing her own wigs. It was amazing times.”
Lukas adds, “Or she’d get them back and she would add all that extra fabulous in. She’s one star where that stuff wasn’t created by a hairdresser. That stuff was created by Tina.”
As Turner’s tour stylist, Lukas says that she was “meticulous” in her fittings and she knew “exactly” what she liked: “She wanted the dresses to go to not the point of your finger, but the knuckle right after the point of your finger — the middle between the knuckle and the bottom.”
“The dress had to go to that knuckle exactly when you hemmed a dress. When you hemmed a coat, she would know, put it to this knuckle,” Lukas adds. “She knew exactly how the clothes shifted that body so she could dance in them, so she could move in them and so that she would look her best.”
“I learned a lot from her,” Lukas says. “I thought I was this new upstart who knew everything, but she had already done everything, so Tina forced me in reinventing her, I had to reinvent myself, and she brought out the best parts of me.”
After learning the news of Turner’s death at age 83 after a long illness, Lukas says he “leaned against the kitchen counter” and “started crying.”
“I don’t know why the tears were coming so hard and heavy because I was prepared. To lose a legacy is one thing, but then to lose the best sister, friend, girlfriend, best friend in the whole world is another thing,” Lukas says, “and Tina was that to everybody she loved.”
The first thing he did was pull out a box with a gift Turner gave him years ago.
“When you go on tour with Tina, she gives you special gifts at the end of the tour. Each one of the dancers and me, she gave us a beautiful 18-carat gold ring that you wear on your thumb,” he says. “She gave everybody this thumb ring. And if you look inside, it says, ‘In memorium de futura’ — in memory of the future — and she slides it on your finger and she tells you she loves you.”
Lukas adds that after their last tour together, “I was getting up to leave, and she goes, ‘You don’t want the same rings that the girls got. I’ve got something else for you.’ And she handed me this box and I opened it and she said, ‘Give me that.’ She grabbed it out of my hand, she grabbed my hand, and she slid it on my wedding [ring] finger. Inside the ring, it says, ‘Remember me.’ I’ll never forget it,” he says.
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