Exclusive Interview with Celebrity Hair Stylist Nicole Rae Oden
Hair is a woman’s mane event — it’s tresses before dresses. Today, Sassy Reign was able to catch up with celebrity hair stylist and make-up artist, Nicole Rae Oden for a quick interview. Multitalented, Oden is known as a great listener to clients and gives legendary, edgy cuts, gifted at perfectly framing a face and giving sharp, flattering cuts.
Big, sexy hair is her trademark. She’s an expert at blending in hair extensions with her cuts, but she’s also great at color-and-cut direction and never goes drastic.
Nicole Rae Oden has worked with many celebrities while maintaining her regular clientele and is also known to bend over backward for her clients of all hair colors, races, and nationalities, while working around the clock bringing Hollywood to the Inland Empire.
Read the interview below.
SR: So Nicole, how are you doing today?
SR & NR: Lol
SR: I hear you
SR: So, how did you learn hair styling?
NR: Actually I didn’t even learn about it, it kind of fell into my lap. I mean I was just a little bitty kid messing around with dolls and messing around with their hair. I guess I had a knack for it. I never saw people doing hair and said oh I want to do that. I was just 5 years old messing around with hair. Didn’t even know what I was doing. I guess that’s where it all stemmed from.
SR: So you’re just a natural basically.
SR: How did you start working with celebrities?
NR: About 6 or 7 years ago I have a cousin who’s an actress and I used to do her hair when she wasn’t working. I used to go with her to different little things and one of the photographers and one of the production people from the company she was advertising for was like, “Oh my God I love your hair. Who did your hair? “My cousin was like, “Oh my cousin. That’s my stylist. She does my hair when I’m at home and when I’m not working.” They said, “We have to have her. She has to be in Miami for the photo shoot.” So they flew me to Miami and I started working for the South Pole clothing and Lot 29 clothing line. Then from then on, it was just one thing after another thing after another thing after another thing. They just kind of started calling me, and using me. It went from them to other people to a couple of TV Shows and a couple music videos. It was kind of just word of mouth. I kind of just stumbled upon things due to my cousin who was already a celebrity.
SR: Out of curiosity who’s your cousin?
NR: KD Aubert from Soul Plane, Friday After Next, and Scorpion King…Everybody knows Donna from Friday After Next lol
SR: Lol oh right!
American actress, fashion model and singer
NR: Right so that’s my cousin. I used to do a couple of things with her and whatnot. I was her exclusive hair stylist for about 4 years. We did movies together. We did clothing line campaigns, and advertising campaigns, so one thing just led to another and that thing led to another.
SR: That goes to my next question. What celebrities have you worked with? Your cousin being one of them.
NR: I worked with her, I also worked with a few girls from Top Model I worked with Eva Marcille the winner of Top Model, and I worked with Jaslene Gonzalez also a winner of Top Model. I did a couple of things with Top Model. I’ve worked with Lisa Raye, so I’ve done a couple of things with a couple of different people. I’ve worked on set with a couple of TV Shows, Music Videos doing hair for the video girls. I’ve worked with South Pole Clothing Baby Phat; I’ve worked with Guess, a couple of different handbag companies. I’ve done a lot of models that may not be the face of things, but they’re still models in their own rights, so you know from TV commercials to Cover Girl Campaigns stuff like that.
SR: Wow, so you’re pretty well in there. Pretty well known.
NR: You know I’m not the most big time, but I’m definitely making my stamp in the world doing what I do.
SR: Ok so tell me what’s the difference between styling hair for television and movies versus everyday wear?
NR: The main difference when it comes to television, movies, and music videos, is you can go a little more out the box so it’s always more over the top. It’s bigger. It’s more glamorous. It’s stuff that regular chicks wouldn’t wear on an every day basis. You know that’s why a lot of times when you see hair shows and hair competitions people are like “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. But those are not regular everyday life type of things. There’s no woman going to a 9-5 that’s an executive wearing big bedroom hair style you know.
SR & NR: Lol
NR: She needs something that’s going to be corporate and standard for work. So it just gives you a chance to work outside the box. I deal with a lot of professional women, from doctors to lawyers to politicians. Things I can do with them, I can’t really push the envelope with them like I can push it when you’re talking about a runway. Plus when you’re talking about a runway or a TV set, a movie or music video everything has to be over the top cause it has to be picked up by the camera. A little bump will not do the same thing a big flowing curly dramatic effect would do.
SR: Ok, This is a question a lot of people always question or they’re always wondering. How frequently do celebrities where hair extensions from your experience?
NR: Depending on the celebrity I would say 8 times out of 10. I mean every race. I’ve dealt with Hispanics, Caucasians; I’ve dealt with Blacks. I mean here’s the thing. When you’re dealing with a celebrity you’re dealing with a big personality and dealing with something that’s for TV. Everything has to be dramatize you know what I mean. We can walk around without regular eyelashes everyday but celebrities have to wear false eyelashes cause when you’re on camera everything has to be seen. So what may be ok for us for everyday life a flat iron needs to be that much longer, that much fuller, much more body for TV with a little clip in here, a little extension there. Plus a lot of celebrities are now crossing over to wigs and things. It’s a lot of hard work to have your hair done everyday. Just think about people like Oprah and people who are on TV every single day.
SR: Or Taraji Henson
NR: Right, Taraji. Pressing your hair every day, every day, every day is damaging to the hair. So a lot of times it’s easier to throw a piece on, throw an extension, in there or something to that effect so you aren’t damaging your own hair. It’s not always necessarily meaning that celebrities don’t have hair; it’s just easier for what they need it for you know what I mean.
NR: When Taraji is shooting empire she’s working 5 days a week. So if she washed and pressed her hair everyday 5 days a week…
SR: She’d be bald
NR: Lol she’d have no hair
NR: In a matter of months…Exactly
SR: What’s the biggest challenge when styling a celebrities’ hair?
NR: The biggest challenge honestly…I mean celebrities are just people like the rest of us, but the biggest challenge is a lot of times when you’re styling celebrities, they have a vision, you have a vision, the director has a vision, the writer has a vision so it’s just trying to mesh all the visions together. When I’m just dealing with a regular client and they sit in my chair and tell me how they want their hair I do it.
NR: If a writer says hey this is the character, this is who she’s portraying, what kind of look do you think will be ok with that. I’ll come up with something, and then the writer is like I have this in mind. Then the celebrity is like I want my hair to look like this. So a lot of the times the big challenge is just celebrities still want their own personalities to shine through when it comes to dealing with them and a lot of times it’s not about them. If you’re playing a character, the characters personality needs to shine though. We understand that Eva wants her hair a certain way, but that’s not the character. So it’s just trying to mesh everything together. People say you have the diva personalities and that and the other. I mean people like what they like. There’s diva personalities in regular everyday women, there’s diva personalities in men so, it’s just people like what they like and the biggest challenge is trying to mesh everything together to make sure everybody is happy. Cause as you know being a woman, if you don’t feel like your hair is cute then it’s not cute.
NR: Even for celebrities, if they don’t feel it, even on camera it’s going to show. So I still have to try to make them happy. Make the director happy, and make it something that is ecstatically pleasing to the camera.
SR: So What are the trendiest styles in Hollywood right now?
NR: Messy…Messy, loose, flowing, is the trendiest thing right now. You know we’re getting out of the structure thing. Loose waves, messy waves, people who look like they just shook their head and walked outside and they’re like “Oh God that’s everything.”
SR: So not having that stray hair is a thing of the past.
NR: Exactly. No Super Super bone straight, Super Super no texture. Things that create body in the hair like layers and dimensions. No one wants limp hair because we know hair is going to be limp after a couple of days anyway. The more texture we put in it, the more layers we cut in it, the more dimensions we put in it, the easier it is for it to last longer and for it to look like something along the line. People will be like did you just get your hair done? Yeah that’s the look! That’s really what’s big now.
SR: How can someone emulate a celebrity style?
NR: Umm I mean see a stylist. Lol There’s really no such thing as emulating a celebrity style. At the end of the day you do what’s best for you. What looks best on you. There are trends you can look at in magazines, you can look at TV, take it to your stylist, and say hey this is what I want & basically see if your stylist can give it to you. But there’s no such thing as a celebrity style. There’s celebrity stylist but you should know that there’s really no such thing as a celebrity style. Just because Taraji wore it she didn’t come up with it. Talk to the person behind Taraji that did that for her. So it’s not Taraji’s style, it’s her hairstylist style. It’s not Tyra Banks style; it’s the person behind her. I think people get a little too caught up with saying “Oh My God so & so is doing this it’s the new popular thing.” I’m like ok it was probably popular before she did it. So you know try not to be into a box of what’s trending and what’s going on and what’s popular at that time. Just do what looks best on you and what’s going to make you shine when you step outside.
SR: Lastly, What is your #1 hair care tip?
NR: Healthy hair. Conditioning, trimming…a lot of times people try to hold on to stuff they don’t need to hold on to. People get so caught up into wearing extensions that they forget they have hair underneath. Don’t get so caught up in “Oh, I’m gonna put my extensions in.” “Oh I’m gonna put my clip-ins in.” “Oh I’m gonna put this wig on.” Forgetting to take care of your real hair, because at some point you’re not going to have those tools, or at some point you’re going to want to take that off and you’re going to want to look like something. We see everyone talking about “Oh my God my edges are gone!” All the celebrities from lace fronts to lace wigs to this and that saying, “Oh my God my edges are horrible.” “Oh my God my this.”
SR: You’re right, I have experienced that.
NR: Exactly, Healthy hair is my number one tip. I would tell people. All that stuff is just used for enhancements. It’s just like makeup. Makeup is to enhance a persons natural beauty but that doesn’t mean don’t wash your face. It doesn’t mean don’t use a moisturizer, because makeup can only cover up so much. When it comes to hair I would say take care of your hair treat your hair the way you treat your body. If you nourish your body you nourish your hair. You wash your body you wash your hair. You trim the fat on your body; trim the ends on your hair. So basically make sure you hair is healthy, Make sure it’s conditioned. Make sure it’s in good shape cause at some point when you’re 80 years old or something, you don’t want to be bald headed and be like “Oh my God, I have to wear my wig just like you don’t want to have to wear makeup.
SR: This pretty much concludes our interview. Is there anything else you’d like to share off top?
NR: For me honestly hair is an enhancement. I think that everyone should just you know…When you look good you feel good. It’s always important to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. So I don’t want people to get caught up in the long hair, short hair, nappy hair, and curly hair. All hair is good. Sometimes nappy hair is better than straight hair. Sometimes curly hair is better than straight hair. Sometimes straight hair is better than curly hair. Just use hair as an enhancement it’s supposed to bring out the natural beauty in you. It’s suppose to make you feel ten times better about yourself than you felt when you woke up so don’t get so caught up in this and this and that. We all have bad hair days. None of these celebrities are waking up as fabulous as you think they are trust me, I’m behind the scenes, I know. It takes a team. A lot of times when I deal with regular women they get so caught up in well they always looks good. They always look this. There are 10 people behind them that make them look this good. You know, make sure you wrap your hair up. When you see Gabriel Union on Being Mary Jane and she’s just waking up and her hair is just like that, -that’s not real life. So make sure you take care of yourself. Make sure you take care of your hair, and make sure you just use hair for what it is. It’s an enhancement. It’s supposed to make you feel better. So that’s basically my biggest thing that I want women to know.
SR: Thank you for talking with me today.
NR: No problem
Oden is the owner of Red Carpet Hair Studio in Moreno Valley, CA.
Whether you need a glamorous red carpet polish and shine or you’re looking for a day-to-day cut or color services, makeover event, or perhaps you need help with production services or product launches – Nicole Rae Oden has something for everyone.