OK, so it’s not really Monday, but I feel like since we’ve been teasing this out via social media since Thursday, we were going to start to really make people angry if I didn’t post it. So, it’s going up a day early.
I don’t know if there’s anything more powerful than a makeover. Entire television shows have been dedicated to this concept of the one-shot improvement process, where everything is suddenly better because some expert decided to take the reins and interpret how the world should see the “real you.” I don’t think it takes a TV camera as much as a personal decision to change your appearance. I believe the ones that really make an impact happen because of a desire for the inside and the outside to match. Essentially, they’re the colors that happen when a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis to show the world who it really is.
This series (at least it’s my intention that it becomes a series) is intended to highlight those transformations. I want to show the power of the right hair color or the perfect makeup application. It’s the lament I hear the most from people in my line of work: “I just wish I could look like the person I see in my head.” Luckily, I know some experts who can help with that.
First up: my friend Nicole Loher. At the ripe age of 22, Nicole is a sage soul with a large book of career accomplishments to her name: top fashion blogger on Tumblr, work history with Nanette Lepore and now NARS Cosmetics, teaches classes at NYU. Nicole is a force of nature and gorgeous to boot. Which is why when she shared a desire to makeover her signature hair, I wanted to be the one to share it with you.
Nicole’s transformation wasn’t taken lightly. This was months of decision-making after years of internal and external changes of both the emotional and physical variety. We’ve been planning this makeover for months, and after learning what she wanted to do, there was only one place to take her blonde ambition: Spoke and Weal in SoHo. We traded pictures with the salon, and after months of planning, Colleen Flaherty and Jay Braff brought the new look Nicole had been envisioning to life. A salon founded by NYC hairstyling legend Jon Reyman and acclaimed Aveda coloring sensation Christine Thompson, they take cuts and color to an entirely new level in a chic salon that feels simultaneously chic but comfortable. As Nicole trusted me with making sure the right people performed her transformation, I thought of no salon better suited for the task.
Besides, she can walk there from her apartment for touch-ups. Like I said, a lot of planning went into this makeover.
But instead of me telling you about Nicole’s makeover, I’ll let her do that. All I did was arrange the event and take the photos. The rest was up to our willing subject. Here’s how my friend Nicole transformed her look:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in fashion and beauty it’s that changing your look completely can transform how you feel about yourself. I’ve been toying with the concept of transformation my entire life. I was pretty crazy in my style growing up… I’ve toned it back a lot and pretty much only wear black. I’ve found that it’s just about being able to be in tune with myself. Oh, and I had blonde side bangs. That was a huge mistake.
On a smaller scale, the purchase of my first CHANEL lipstick when I initially moved to New York transformed me. On a larger scale, getting hair cut and colored is the next evolutionary step. People transform for many different reasons.
Honestly, I can’t say I’d ever wished I had blonde hair before the last six months. But during that time, as I began to shed the overwhelming insecurity that plagued everything from my physical appearance to who I was as a person, I also found myself flirting with the question, ‘Would I be the most confident version of myself as a blonde?’
I feel like anytime I bring up insecurities people are shocked. My obsessive habits of working out and dressing well stem from being a very insecure person. Growing up, I was a little overweight and was made fun of in school. It even resulted in me graduating from high school a year early and moving from Maryland to New York. If it wasn’t my weight, it was the way I dressed or the music I was into… I always felt like a target. In the last two years, I’ve really taken great pride in working out, eating right, and dressing my body the way I feel it’s meant to be dressed; you know, just being myself, the person I was put on this earth to be. Not being scared or apologizing for every step I make. While I didn’t think changing my hair color could resolve any of my deepest issues with myself, I felt it could put me one step closer to feeling the most confident version of me.
I’ve been working really hard on making myself a priority, utilizing the power of “no”, and making sure I only do things that make me the most happy. The result of all those things is quite remarkable; I’m much more private than I’ve ever been, but I’m also much happier. The color, the cut… for me, it represents something much greater.
It was hard to give up my long, dark hair. I’ve had it since I was a little girl. For so long I had “talked the talk” about changing my hair and never followed through. I’ve been thinking about cutting my hair off for about a year and coloring it only has been a recent obsession. What really fueled my obsession was seeing Karla Deras after she dyed her hair a rich blueberry shade. Talk about fearless.
I actually thought about canceling a few times because of the fear of what may happen, but I decided I needed to just go through with it. Part of this “New Me” involves embracing and confronting fear in order to become a better, stronger person. By the time the day of the cut and color came, I was SO excited, and by the time I got in the chair, I was extremely happy that I hadn’t canceled.
When I sat down in the chair, I tried not to think about what was about to happen. I tried to take it minute by minute, as it was happening. I think there was a moment when my hair was all in foils that I thought, “Well, there’s no going back.”
Seeing the first bit of blonde can only be compared to opening the gift you always dreamed of as a kid. Colleen did a great job of “the big reveal.” Seeing her so excited made me excited.
As far as haircuts go, I am always very nervous. Jay did a great job of reassuring me of what he was going to do and how he was going to do it. As soon as he started cutting my hair, I wanted him to keep going. It was beautiful.
Sarith told me I am the most beautiful I’ve ever looked and my very cool boss has deemed me the “very cool girl” of our office – which is impossible in an office of French men and women.
To say I feel amazing would cheat the salon of the work they did. I can’t even begin to describe the overwhelming amount of confidence I feel. I thought this would be the transformation, but I think this is just the beginning. This experience helped me realize I’m not as serious as I thought I was…and I shouldn’t be! I’m 22!”
Are you ready to come out of your chrysalis and embrace who you’ve always been meant to be? Maybe now is the time. Maybe a little haircolor can help.
Thank you to Nicole for being such a willing subject, and thank you to Spoke and Weal for the amazing makeover! Who’s next? 🙂
All photos in the post: Kristin Booker for Fashion.Style.Beauty. Shot on location at Spoke and Weal in SoHo on Thursday, October 8th. All rights reserved.