As someone who loves to embrace her creative side, Michelle Nahmad admits that it took her a few wrong turns before she found her true passion. From crafting costumes and wigs for Japanese anime cosplay competitions, to pursuing music in university, to exploring work in the dental field, it wasn’t until the age of 25 that she realized she wanted to be a part of the editorial world; and her ticket in was hair.
Now at 29, Nahmad works as a hairstylist at Contessa award-winning Blushes salon in Ottawa, where she’s able to bring her editorial photo shoot dreams to life. Her most recent collection helped her be named a finalist for New Hairstylist at the 2020 Contessa Awards.
“It took me four months to nail down my final vision for this collection,” she says. “I wanted it to be interesting yet easy to understand, while also sprinkling bits of my personality in it, which in this case, was texture and weaving.”
Pin It Up
As a new stylist, Nahmad turned to her two mentors, multiple Contessa winners Dorothy and Silas Tsang for guidance, and spent her first few months of the process pitching ideas and concepts until she landed on one that stuck: Texture and weaving with hair pins.
“I was quite obsessed with weaving and when I came up with the concept of weaving hair into actual hair pins, it seemed like a ridiculous idea, but when I presented it to Silas and he said, ‘If you can show others that you love to weave in the most detailed way possible, then go for it!’” she says.
Detailed was the perfect word, as the process of weaving single locks of thin blonde hair into dozens of small pins was a tedious one, but Nahmad loved creating this unique form of texture and definition. “I have very straight hair that has a terrible time holding curls. I’m obsessed with trying to achieve something that I can’t do on myself very well,” she says. “It’s the perfect chance to practice.”
For the overall vibe and theme of the shoot, Nahmad says she always gravitated to the ’80s era. She wanted to incorporate the vibrant colours in the background and wardrobe, while also show-casing a more natural form of beauty through her use of loose texture, wardrobe and makeup.
“I didn’t want to create something that would distract you from seeing their natural beauty,” says Nahmad. “I needed to figure out the balance of being playful, vibrant and colourful, without going over the top or tacky, or take away from the beauty of the model.”
Worth The Risk
Nahmad says she’s thankful that she found her way into the world of hair, and knew from the beginning that the risk of pursuing her passion would pay off.
“I knew it wasn’t just another task; this was actually something that I truly desired and was always in the back of my mind. It was my dream,” she says. “What’s better to follow than something that’s going to truly make you happy?”