Workin' It

Edris Nicholls
Owner, Edris Salon

She has created looks for Halle Berry, Diana Ross, Lenny Kravitz and Martina Navratilova. Edris Nicholls is hot. After moving to the U.S. from St Vincent, West Indies at age 15, Nicholls was inspired by her grandmother to learn cosmetology, and earned her license at an after-school program. Armed with a trade, Nicholls put herself through Baruch College's computer information systems program by styling hair at fashion shows. She worked as a computer systems analyst for two years before deciding to make hair her full-time gig. "I realized I'm a free spirit," she says. "I like to work where my style won't be judged because I'm wearing green panty hose and an Afro."

Her rise to fashion-circle fame came after proving herself as a talented stylist under the tutelage of Edward Tricomi, then as a freelancer where she attracted the likes of Iman and Naomi Campbell. Not to be deterred by the difficulties she faced being a black woman in a white male dominated industry, she raised the funds, found a supportive landlord, opened her salon and has since evolved into one of the hottest names in New York fashion circles. She runs the full service Edris Salon with the help of her Aussie GF Toni and a well-trained staff of 11. Nicholls isn't through yet; she'll soon launch what she calls a long overdue styling product for varied types of hair that will most certainly fill a gap in the market. In addition, she’ll begin teaching exclusive professional stylist workshops, and is working on closing deals for an advice column as well as her place as a behind-the-scenes host on a fashion TV network. —DP

Free Life Campaign 10/27