Amazing, Blank, Bullett, Details, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, Italian Vogue, kurv, Nylon, L’Officiel, Oyster, Treats, Vogue, VVV, Wonderland.
As well as runway shows of such designers as:
Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein, Costello Tagliapietra, Denibi, Donna Karen, Giorgio Armani, Halston, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Oscar De La Renta, Phillip Lim, Prada, Valentino, Veronica Beard, Willy Chavarria, Zac Posen, and Y3.
His extensive celebrity clientele consists of:
Aisha Tyler, Arlens Sosa, Britney Spears, Calista Flockhart, Carmen Ejogo, Carrie Keagan, Chanel Iman, Chloe Moretz, Donatella Versace, FeFe Dobson, Hannah Ferguson, Iman, Indya Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Jessica Stam, Joel Edgerton, Karl Glussman, Kat Dahlia, Kelly Rowland, Keyshia Cole, Kim Kardashian, Lydia Hearst, Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Naomi Campbell, Nelly Furtado, Tamia, Tommy Genesis, Sienna Miller, and Solange.
“I love making a woman look beautiful with what I call modern, easy hair,” says Nelson, “and if you want to style it on top of that, even better.”
DT: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? And some highlights in your career? Please name drop (laughs).
NV: I am an editorial/celebrity hair stylist in NYC, well I’ve always been around hair , growing up with all sisters in my home, so the fact that I’m doing hair styling as a career is not that surprising.
Although, once I really knew what being a career hair stylist is really about, I’m not sure it was the right fit. (laugh)
With that said , hair has been very good to me , I’ve traveled the world , seen so many wonderful places I never thought I’d see, met tons of amazing people. Also I’ve taking my work trips serious , and learned about every place I’ve been.
For me, being a young man growing up in Chicago in late 70s/early80s and being very strange kid , the kind of kid your parents were embarrassed of or by. That loved to dress weird and do odd things to my hair and clothes, and just be creative overall. I’ve always been a natural loner, words from my mother’s mouth. I had know idea what she was speaking about until years later.
This is why I say hair styling career would have been a 2nd or 3rd choice for me. So much about working on the top level is about your personality, not just your skills, and I’m for sure from the school of skill (technique) over anything else. This in no way means I appreciate someone who’s rude or horrible to be around , but so many of the top hair stylists have these specific personality types, and I for sure don’t have that. Also its a very social job , and I’m a very laid back person , prefer to be at home. However, when it comes to doing hair i still light up, and want to be the best, I’m very competitive, but in a good way I hope.
I never had really strong desires to work with celebrities. For me it was all about the models and photographers, and doing iconic images for ads, was the thing that inspired me the most. So, when I started to work with celebrity clients it took some getting use to.
i still prefer working with a serious actress over a “celebrity”, and a model even more. But I must confess , I love working with a great singer, they can be so much fun and very inspiring to me and you to get to marry all genres.
And if I’m honest, the one and only time I was ever star struck , was the time I worked with Madonna. It was for sure a highlight in me career , and I really liked her. She also is an amazing mom!
Also my first work trip to Africa, I have no words to express what that was like, and if I had to pick one it would be magic.
DT: Why is it important to have diversity in the beauty and fashion industries?
NV: Simply, so I can stop being mistaken for delivery person or messenger, when I arrive to work for a photo shoot. People in fashion really need to open their eyes to type casting or stereotyping like this.
I can’t count the time its happened to me, it happens more if I’m dressed casual, like everyone else. But has also happened many times when I’ve been very dressed up.
DT: Have you seen shifts in the last decade?
NV: Yes, I’ve seen some movement, for sure. At one point, I was the only African American hair-stylist on 5th avenue. I think it use to be one or at the most two a decade, and that’s changed, for sure. Now, you have more African American women; and, for sure, seeing young men and women of color hairstylist working in the celebrity world. Some in the fashion world , but not as much,as you see working with celebrities. Another crazy thing is , whenever I’m the Key Hair Stylist for a fashion show ,the editors act as if they just saw a unicorn. There are lots of us working on fashion shows , but almost never do you see a African American hairstylist as the “Key” for a show. I’ve seen one other, so has things have shifted, but nowhere near enough.
DT: In a perfect world, what would be an ideal evolution in the industries of beauty and fashion?
NV: I don’t believe in perfection , as a matter of fact I hate the whole idea of something being perfect. So I can’t give you an example of a perfect world in beauty and fashion. What would be a great change, is to give to people of color with the same experiences, training, vision, and the same opportunities. And “profiling” because of race in beauty and fashion should not be happening in 2019.
DT: Do you realize that your presence in the industry, inspires many people around the world?
NV: Yes, I think seeing me on sets does inspire. I have young people of color from everywhere, always reaching out to me and asking what step to take to have a successful career in beauty and fashion. Most of the time, I’m not sure they like the answer.
DT: What advice would you give your younger self?
NV: I would tell my younger self, ‘to pay close attention to the fine lines, most all relationships are business.”
“Don’t take anything personally.” This one is very important, rebellion only takes you so far, and always work on the other creative gifts you have. This will help you stay ahead of the game. Never put all your eggs in one basket, and always be nice to everyone.
DT: Are you living your purpose?
NV: I am living my purpose somewhat, I am always pushing myself to get there.
DT: Finish this sentence, “I am grateful…”
DT: “…to not being afraid.”
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