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So the other day we had the pleasure of interviewing a certified star stylist for our Breaking into Fashion series.
Today we have another fun treat: an interview with Nicki Minaj’s hairstylist, Terrence Davidson.
The Georgia native (woot!) is the creative architect behind Nicki’s inventive, multicolored, tall, and fantastic wigs and hairdos.
He took a few minutes out of his super exhausting schedule to tell you up and coming salon czars how you, too, can get your foot in the door.
Terrence started at his craft in high school. He said, “I used to always draw hairstyles for girls when they were going to the prom or going to any other special occasion. I would just sit in my study hour and draw. I’m from Atlanta, so was used to seeing creative hairstyles. I would just draw my designs, and my friends would take the drawings with them when they got their hair done.”
Not yet convinced hairstyling was for him, he enrolled at Devry to pursue a degree in business. But he wasn’t happy, and knew something was missing. He remembers, “I had two cousins who were in beauty school. I saw all the money they were making and they obviously loved what they did. They made me want to do hair. I eventually enrolled in beauty school in Atlanta.”
Upon completion of his studies, he started working at a salon called Truly Outrageous. The head stylist, Tina, took Terrence under her wing and made him truly learn the basics of hair care. He said, “At the time I only wanted to do creative styles. Tina always made me do hair I didn’t want to do. I had to learn how to do natural hair, press, and straighten hair. She had me crying one day, but she said, ‘You’re still in school, you have to learn how to do these things.’ So I learned.”
He ultimately caught his lucky break by sharing his dreams with those around him. He said,“I was working at the salon for a while. I was always watching videos on BET and admiring the hairstyles. And I felt that was what I wanted to get into. A few people I knew, knew Left Eye. So I got a gig doing Left Eye’s hair for the cover of Honey Magazine.”
“…That meant a lot to me; after that I wanted everybody to see the work I did.” His professionalism and talent with Left Eye led to other jobs with Lil Mo, Trina, Patti Labelle, Jennifer Hudson, and eventually, Nicki Minaj.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Terrence moved to New York after working with Left Eye and Trina, but hadn’t yet found his footing. He said, “I lived in a basement eating peanut butter and jelly for a long time. Half the world didn’t know, my mother didn’t know. But I didn’t give up.” At the time he wasn’t yet Trina’s main hairstylist, but he knew she’d be attending MTV’s Video Music Awards. He reached out to her to let her know he was in town if she needed anything. She took him up on his offer, and allowed him to assist her main stylist. He eventually became her main hairstylist and styled her hair for seven years.
His advice for those wanting to break in? “Always stay focused. Always humble yourself. People are going to tell you no, keep knocking until they say yes. And when you get that yes, show out. Keep pushing. Don’t give up.”
Terrence is open to people contacting him and asking for advice! So hit him up on Facebook at www.facebook.com/terrence-davidson and on Twitter at @Hairsonly1me.
What did you think of our latest Breaking into Fashion interview?