When he started styling the hair of kids in his neighborhood growing up, Nelson Vercher probably never imagined he would be handling the tresses of megawatt stars like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian.
Now, his work can be seen on the pages of Vogue, Elle, Nylon, Harper’s Bazaar and more. He has worked with the likes of Kelly Rowland, Olivia Palermo and Britney Spears, and done runway shows with iconic designers including Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Oscar de la Renta.
Read on to hear about his inspirations and advice to give women their best hair yet.
Q. What inspired you to start a career in hair styling?
A. What inspired me to do a career in hair styling was [that] I was always somehow into models and fashion and the fact that I have four sisters with hair, [so] it was always a big part of our day-to-day lives. Something about seeing how hair could take your look to a whole other level made an impression on me.
Also, at the age of 15, all the girls wanted feathered hair and for some reason there was a buzz in the neighborhood that I could “do hair,” as we would say back then. I will never forget the first time I cut hair. I was so nervous … it was on one of the prettiest girls in the neighborhood who I wasn’t really friends with … she wanted feathered [layers] and I told her I could do it … to my surprise it came out great! That is a great achievement for someone who has never cut hair before!!
But I never really thought about it as a profession, until my best friend in high school said, “you’re REALLY good with hair,” … although I still didn’t think about seriously for a couple more years after that, it became clear it was what I should be doing.
Q. What are some of your favorite projects to work on? Shows, shoots, appearances?
A. My favorite thing to work on I would have to say [is] doing fashion shows in Europe. Prada was a really big deal for me in the mid ’90s. I really never saw that coming and it prepared me for all that I’m doing now. Also, I love the energy on a photoshoot where all parties come together to bring a vision alive. Harper’s Bazaar and W in the ’90s was always super inspiring! And working on music videos because I love music and I’m a huge music fan. To see a song visually come alive is amazing. But I feel the best is yet to come!
Q. Who is your favorite celebrity (or celebrities) that you have ever worked with? Why?
A.There’s not one celebrity that stands out to me. But what I will say is when I got the chance to work on Kate Moss at the very beginning of her career, and it was before I came to New York, [it] was a total moment! I was living in San Francisco, California, and really wanting to be in NYC and I was truly obsessed with fashion AND Kate Moss – she was everything! And this was when most people thought she was too skinny and was weird-looking but I loved the way she looked and I still do. Another time that stands out is when I worked with Britney Spears because it was total pop star insanity and she is such a fun, cool girl.
Q. What are celebrities’ tricks for great hair?
A. I’m not into gimmicks, so good hair starts with a healthy diet, great haircare and investing in your hair. You should invest in some great wigs or [extensions] so you don’t have to use your own hair all the time. Your natural hair can really take a beating, especially celebrities, as they have to do their hair so frequently.
Q. If you could give one universal tip for good hair, what would it be?
A. Book me!
Q. What is the most common mistake the average woman makes with her hair?
A. Being afraid to change. At the very least, every ten years you need to update your hair.
Q. What is one simple way women can give their hair a healthy boost?
A. Just make sure you do weekly treatments and drink lots of water.