We spoke with Michelle Nahmad from Ottawa, who took home the Emerging Hairstylist of the Year award at the 32nd annual Contessa Awards.
Congrats again on your award! How did it feel to be named the Emerging Hairstylist of the Year?
I’m so honoured. I have less than five years of experience doing hair. When I first graduated, I was intimidated. I wanted to be in an environment where people have more [drive] towards being the best. This was my first experience of the adrenaline rush of doing a photo shoot. The hand cramps, sweat and tears definitely paid off.
You entered photos from this collection last year but entered different shots this time around. What inspired that decision? Why did you decide to change it up?
Well, my first reaction to seeing that I would be able to submit work again was that I didn’t want to put out the exact same work, without anyone saying anything or advising me. I wanted a second chance, but I wanted to put something different out there.
Babak, my photographer, was so great at figuring out ideas with me and what different things we could do. I wanted to give a different feeling and find some different shots. We kept going back and forth but we nailed the positions. I kept going also to Silas [Tsang] and asking for his opinion. He would give me his opinion, so it was a collaboration of all three of us. Ultimately it was my decision, but of course I wanted it to be the best. Taking all the advice from Silas and Babak was what made it the collection I submitted. I was very happy.
Everything I did was just pushing my own skills to the limit.
Does this collection have a name?
Let’s call this “The #1.”
What was the inspiration for this collection?
I would say my biggest inspiration was to be successful. I just kept going back and forth figuring out what is the best way to succeed at this and perform at my best. I definitely love warm colours and colour blocking. I find that balayage and painting is something that I may need to do more of, but I don’t gravitate towards that. I like a lot of texture.
What are some other things that inspire your creative work?
There are a lot of things but the number one is that I really want to see the person wearing that hair glow.
I look at fashion and I look at magazines and what people are wearing and how they’re wearing their hair in different places around the world. Everyone has their own way of showing off what they’re wearing and their makeup and their hair.
I was brought up in a multicultural world so to pinpoint one thing that inspires me to do hair is so hard. I think more about the person/model wearing the hair. Because they’re the ones wearing it.
I want to mention my photographer Babak because he had a lot of contribution and a lot of influence on everything and he followed my requests really well. He used his own talents to give the pictures this totally different look. He’s a very inspiring guy and he’s so motivating and helps me stay super focused during shoots.
What’s it like being part of the award-winning salon team at Blushes?
I feel so lucky to be a member of Blushes. Silas and Dorothy [Tsang] have done an amazing job. They may seem intimidating (to those who don’t know them) because they win so many awards and they’re so good, but they’re so down to earth. For myself, I just want to be as amazing as they are and see what I can do in the future.
Name/Nom: Michelle Nahmad
Category/Catégorie: Emerging Hairstylist | Styliste émergent
Salon: Blushes, Ottawa
Makeup/Maquillage: Maria Li
Wardrobe/Stylisme: Sirena Shonuck