Nick Chavez is a world renowned hairstylist and salon owner, based in Beverly Hills, California. With a special knack for the science of what exactly hair needs, Nick has succeeded in all areas of the hair industry. His commitment to “Putting the Care back into HairCare,” led him to launch his own haircare line, “Nick Chavez Beverly Hills.” Nick’s list of clientele includes the names of the world’s favorite celebrities. Having had his emergence initiated with modeling, he is able to see his clientele as normal people, just like any other. Beginning his life with a passion for beauty, Nick’s passion for hair began with his love for horses. Appearing on QVC for the past 33 years, Nick has truly become a symbol of not only the world’s, but Beverly Hills’ realm of hair. While he has accomplished more than is fathomable, Nick has much more to come.
Happy: So when you were around ten years old, your interest and love for horses became bigger than before, and this made you start grooming and styling your horses, which led to cutting and styling human hair. So what is it about your experience with horses that kind of made the idea of styling human hair appealing?
Nick: Well, one of the great things is that horses don’t talk back. So I really actually liked doing the horses’ manes and tails, and that’s the way I was able to make money so I could show my horses. But as I went on cutting the manes and tails… My cousins, my brothers and sisters would go, ‘well, can you come a little bit off my hair?’ Before you knew it, I had taught myself how to cut hair. So, the horse business actually took me to the hair business. I’m ever so grateful to those animals because I was able to learn to trim hair. I didn’t have any style, but I’ll tell you that my manes and tails looked really good. They had a lot of shine to them. I don’t know if you know about horse hair, but it’s very coarse. It was very soft, and I would braid them up and make them look really wavy and beautiful. Then when I started doing people, I started remembering, and that’s how I got my confidence. So it was really easy for me to transition to people. My cousins and my brothers and sisters, they all had great haircuts.
Happy: That’s so amazing. I’m sure they were so grateful for you and your talent.
Nick: Oh, absolutely. You know, it’s like families that play together, stay together. You know how that goes.
Happy: So, after graduating high school at 19 years old, you moved to California and scored a job at a Beverly Hills hair salon. You started out as a sweeper and quickly rose to being the client’s favorite hairstylist.
Nick: That was so much fun.
Happy: Was it?
Nick: I started out working at the salon. I actually was always the one there, who would get there at 8 o’clock in the morning. So I’d start sweeping the floors and everything. I remember one day they were really busy and they were turning people away. I said to the owner, ‘I can do the hair.’ It happened to be this woman by the name of Elizabeth. I actually did her hair, and she came back and everybody saw what I did, and they said, ‘oh, you can do hair before you know it.’ There I was. I built my business, and I have to give her a shout out because Elizabeth was a street walker, basically a hooker on Sunset. She came there and she wanted to get a blowdry. So, I mean, this is what I love. She wanted her hair big, really sexy and pretty. I gave it to her, she loved it, and she came back bringing all of her girlfriends. So I created a little business there.
Happy: It definitely sounds like it was meant to be.
Nick: Yes, it was definitely meant to be.
Happy: Do you have advice to young people that are just starting out as beginners in the same way that you did?
Nick: I think one of the most important things is, if hair is your passion… Go after it. Because I’ll tell you something, it’s long hours. You really have to have very, very good people skills, and you also have to know how to do hair. You really have to be an expert at what you’re doing. But there are a lot of young people out there who are amazing. They are amazing. They know how to braid hair really well. They know how to trim it. They know how to use chemicals. It’s like working in the kitchen. I’ll tell you something… Go for it, because it is so much fun. I felt that I was educated through all my clients, and that was the biggest blessing for me because I work with models to stars. I work with a lot of movie stars. I work with a lot of people from every genre. They’ve taught me so much… Just about life. So it was a great experience in that way. I’ll also say that the hours are long and you can’t say no.
Nick: You just go for it and do it and become the best at what you can. I think that anybody who wants to do something like this, and has it in their blood to be a hairdresser, go for it. And it’s a great way to make a great living.
Happy: That’s definitely great advice. You are the second oldest of seven siblings, what was it like growing up with such an amazingly huge family?
Nick: You know what? It was really great because we came from a very poor family, and we played together, we ate together, we did everything together. So it was a blessing. It really, truly was a blessing. I mean, when I think about it, when we were growing up, we were helping each other. We had to help my mom because, you know, a mother with seven kids, I mean, somebody had to comb the hair. I was designated hairdresser. So in the morning, I’d help my mom get my sisters’ hair ready. I’d put braids in their hair. One of my brothers was really good at cooking, so he would cook the eggs and get them ready for the kids. We had all helped my mother, and we all put our best effort forward. So I’ve learned that when you have a family like that, you really have a really good understanding, a good core about living and life and loving each other. It was just another great teacher.
Happy: You can tell by your personality that you’re very well rounded and that you have been around a lot of people throughout your life.
Happy: Your third cousin is a human rights activist named Cesar Chavez, who was the founder of the labor union for farm workers…
Nick: Yeah, the United Farm Workers. And my aunt was Dolores Huerta. She married Cesar’s brother, Richard Chavez. So they’re all part of the family. We’re really blessed to be able to have a background like that, on top of being blessed to have a family in which we all love each other. So it’s just been great.
Happy: Definitely. Family is one of the biggest blessings in life. What is the most memorable thing that you learned from your cousin?
Nick: I think one of the most memorable things that I’ve learned… he had such a great way, a Gandhi way. How to treat people, how to honor people, how to have a great work ethic, not to be a victim, but to get out there and be the best that you can be. He stood for so much of that. As you know, the Kennedy’s were very good friends with him, and he just was amazing. He was for the people. I really think that that’s what it’s all about, being for the people.
Nick: When you’re for the people, you really are taken care of because if you need anything, they’re there and you’re there for them.
Happy: That is an amazing way to live life.
Nick: Yes, it is. I believe it definitely is. That is a blessing. When you’re brought up that way, you really realize that what else is there other than the Lord? The Lord is our number one, and you pray every day, and you have a great family and respect people and honor people… You’re blessed.
Happy: You have a such a unique perspective. It’s so inspiring.
Nick: Well, thanks. I think it’s just that I’ve been around some wonderful people, and I’ve always been very confident. I just have been confident. As a little boy, I remember I was at a horse show, showing my horse, and I was talking to this horse trainer, who was a very old man. He must have been about 70 years old, then. He said, ‘Nick, you are a real precocious young man.’ He said, ‘you ask a lot of questions. You keep asking those questions. That’s how you will learn.’ So I was always that little boy who would ask anything and everything.
Happy: That is so great. You can definitely tell that you’re someone who has learned a lot in life. So that makes sense.
Happy: So after your catapult to fame and success as a celebrity hairstylist and as a salon owner, you went to your hometown and built a home for your parents. What did it feel like to give back to your parents in that way?
Nick: It felt amazing. When I was a little boy and I watched TV, I would say, ‘I’m going to be a big star. Mom and Dad, I’m going to build you a big, beautiful home.’ Of course, they all thought I was crazy. But when I created the company, the “Nick Chavez Beverly Hills,” hair care company… And I’m on QVC and I’m one of the longest running vendors on there. I’ve been on there about 33 years selling my hair care. So with the money that I made from there and doing hair, I built them a beautiful home. I also built myself an indoor horse arena. Then, I had air conditioning from my horses because it’s very hot there. And I built this beautiful Ranch for them. That was my gift. I was one of those kids that was just out there in the clouds… So, any of you young ones that are out there dreaming… Just keep dreaming and let those dreams come true because it can happen and it will happen.
Happy: I am getting emotional hearing this! I am sure they are so proud of you.
Happy: You have worked on the tresses of celebs like Bella Hadid, Maria Shiver, George Lopez, Gigi Hadid, Paris Jackson and so many more. What have you learned about the relationship that people have with their hair from working with so many people?
Nick: Well, you learn that their hair pretty much tells you a lot about who they are. It’s like Maria [Shriver], for instance, she used to do MSNBC. I would have to blow her hair out and get her ready for that show. I learned from her that most of these people and all the other people, it’s their glory, their hair. It’s their mane of glory, I guess I should say. A lot of people really know that they have to take care of themselves. They know they have to look good for when they have to look good, but when they’re not, they just stick it in the ponytail. They’re just normal people. I mean, Bella [Hadid] is funny. I love Bella. She just puts her hair back in a ponytail. The same with Gigi [Hadid] and her mom, Yolanda [Hadid]. I’ve been doing Yolanda’s hair forever. Then, the girls [Bella and Gigi Hadid] came. And Paris Jackson, I started with all the short haircuts on her. When she had short hair and all the crazy colors, she just was colorful. That is one of the most amazing little girls ever. I call her a little girl because I’m older and she’s just a wonderful, wonderful person. And Macy [Gray] has this great, beautiful head of hair, and we do highlights on it. That’s her crown of glory. But I love the fact that she could put a little skull cap on, be very happy with that and she’s fine. Maria [Shriver] can put her hair back in a ponytail, and she’s fine. So what I basically have learned from them is that they’re not about their hair. That’s what I’m trying to say. They’re not about their hair. These are really wonderful, loving, caring people.
Happy: I think you’re so right. It’s definitely a “mane of glory”.
Nick: For example, I went through cancer. I had pancreatic cancer, and I’d been going through it for like two and a half years. I had hair really long, and now it’s growing about this long. So I’m excited. But everybody says, ‘oh, my God, your hair.’ And I say, ‘you know what? It’s all okay. I’m alive.’
Happy: I’m so sorry you went through that. It’s very admirable that you’re able to stay so positive.
Nick: Another thing that has made it easier for me to work with all of these celebrities and doing their hair is I used to be a big model in Europe. I lived in Paris, Italy and Germany. I would do the runways… You could see me in GQ and Vogue and all the magazines.
Happy: I love that!
Nick: Back in the day, when I was working as a model, you were either a print model or runway model. But I could take a good photo, so I was blessed, and I got to do both. So that really helped me with building even more confidence is knowing that we’re all just people.
Happy: That’s a very important thing to realize. That’s so incredible that you have had such a diverse career.
Happy: I know people that swear by your hair care line, “Nick Chavez Beverly Hills.” What was your thought process in creating your own hair products? How did you decide to create the products and what was your goal in creating them?
Nick: There were so many different lines of products, and I would use a hairspray from this brand, I would use a conditioner from this brand, and then I would go to this brand because they had a great shampoo. So I was all over the place with brands, and I would say, ‘why hasn’t everybody just found the best hairspray, the best conditioner, the best shampoo, the best cream rinse, the best of the best of the best, and put it together and make a line?’ Well, that’s what I did. I went to a company that did that for me. And I created the Nick Chavez brand. I knew what hair needed. I could feel what it needed. As time has gone on, everybody’s gone to the sulfate free, paraben free shampoo and conditioner. I love those, but they have to lather up for me because I believe that you have to have some lather in there to clean that scalp.
Happy: I agree with that. I am very specific about my wash days.
Nick: Exactly. You do have to have a lather going on. Otherwise, you’re just putting more condition on the hair and it’s just sticky. Then, the hair gets gummy and you can’t get any shine to it. By using good products, you really can keep your hair looking good, your scalp clean, your hair will grow and it will look great.
Happy: I am very impressed. You have definitely gathered the science of hair.
Nick: I always tell everybody that when they wash their hair… Wash it with warm water and rinse with cool, because what you’re doing is opening and closing the pores on your scalp.
Happy: Thank you so much for these tips!
Nick: Yes. Also, when you’re using your hairspray, make sure you’re using it ten inches away from the head, because you can get too close. And I always tell them, ‘you’re not killing cockroaches.’
Happy: That’s hilarious.
Happy: So you have accomplished unimaginable accolades in the hair industry and continue to do so. Do you feel like you’ve made all of your dreams come true or that there’s more that you want to accomplish?
Nick: Oh, no, honey. There’s a lot more that I want to do. So I’m really grateful in life. I think that as we get older, we just take another chapter. There’s chapters in your life: growing up as a small kid, and each five years or seven years, things change. But then that’s another chapter, and you move on, and on and on. It’s really important to keep yourself in a good place and to keep an open mind. Coming from love, coming from gratitude… You can be open to doing other things in life and really having fun. I love to travel, and I love my horses, so I love showing my horses. So I will go back to doing that again.
Happy: That’s so inspirational, that you’ve done so much and you still want to do more. It’s very cool.
Nick: Oh, yeah. I mean, we could go on for hours. I could tell you the funniest, craziest stories, but you know how time is. Time is of the essence.
Happy: Completely. I’m sure they’re great stories, though.
Happy: So you have truly been around and have inspired so many people with your tenacity. What is it that you hope people will remember about you?
Nick: That I lived good. That I lived with truth. I lived with honesty. That I have charisma. That I am kind to people. That I have the Lord in my heart. And if you can take a little bit from everybody, it creates so much love in you that you are able to give out so much more love. So, I think that I’ve lived with love.