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What it's Really Like Styling and Coloring Celebrities' Hair: Nick Stenson Tells All

by Alison Alhamed | January 29, 2018

During Matrix Destination 2018 in Orlando, Florida, MODERN's Editor in Chief Alison Alhamed sat down with Nick Stenson, Matrix Celebrity Stylist and the Chief Artistic Director of Ulta Beauty, for some one-on-one time dishing about all of the top moments Stenson has had in recent years.

His biggest buzz-worthy highlights (outside of being a finalist in the Hairstylist of the Year category at the North American Hairstyling Awards, magazine covers, exclusive stages and TV appearances, to name a few) have been surrounded by the celebrity world and his knack for nailing the glam on some of Hollywood's most elite.

Here's some excerpts from the interview, check it out in it's entirety here, and to learn Stenson's favorite Matrix styling products he brings everywhere, his celebrity horror stories, and his advice for becoming a celebrity stylist.

MODERN: Is it okay to have a "fangirl" moment and get excited about the celebrity you're about to style?
NICK STENSON: Throughout their lives there are so many people who want to do that, so celebrities really want their team to be real people who are down to earth, treat them normal. There are so many people that lift them up and put them on pedestals, nagging at them for every little thing, that, as a hairstylist, if you come at them with a very chill approach they put their guard down.

MS: What have you learned along the way as far as prepping your stylist kit?
STENSON: I'm obsessed with Matrix StyleLink. It's so great for building styles that will last all day long. One thing you have to be as a celebrity stylist is flexible. There are so many people who have a hand in the overall look, so many emails get exchanged, and storyboards and concepts, you walk in knowing exactly what you're going to do. Then you talk with the celebrity and they're like, "Oh, I don't want that." So you need to have the products, tools, extra hair extensions, and references to create something on the spot--even though we just sent like 4,000 emails about what we had planned to do.

MS: So is it important to have other celebrity looks on hand so you can say reference their look they wore at a premier or an awards show?
STENSON: You have to be really careful with showing celebrities pictures of another celebrity because it may be a celebrity they don't really care for. It's most like, "I want to do an S-curl," and then pulling up a photo online that doesn't show a face. 

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