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Evanie Frausto is the reason why you want bubblegum-blue ringlets piled into towering proportions. Think of those extravagant pyramids of colorful confection—the sort you’d imagine Marie Antoinette dining on—but in wig form, and you have just one of the opulent looks Frausto created for Lil Nas X in his video for his hit single, Montero (Call Me by Your Name).
A master of the surreal, Frausto has turned Bella Hadid into Poison Ivy, and made artist and photographer Petra Collins brunette; styled model Aweng Ade-Chuol’s hair into peroxide blonde finger waves and locs, and gave Kendall Jenner such long hair extensions that they trailed on the ground behind her. “I push my work to be a little bit offbeat,” the Mexican-American hairstylist tells me over Zoom. “I hope that people will feel inspired by it.”
Growing up in Orange County, California, Frausto moved to New York where he was taken under the wing of legendary hairstylist Jimmy Paul. Since embarking on a solo career, Frausto has worked for everyone from Fenty to Helmut Lang. Here, the rising star shares some of his proudest moments.
What was your earliest beauty memory?
I grew up with my mum and my grandmother and my mum’s four sisters, who are all glamorous. My mum never left the house without her makeup or her hair done. Just being surrounded by such powerful feminine energy made me see how transformative makeup and hair was.
Did you experiment with your own look?
When I was a teenager, I was influenced by the MySpace scene. It had such a specific look: it was so punk, but also I thought it was pretty—making your hair different bold colors and having piercings and wearing eyeliner. I was constantly changing my hair color and putting new piercings in my face, and just playing around with self-expression.
Were you confident in your pursuit of self-expression?
I grew up in a traditional Mexican household and everything that I was exploring was against that tradition. I was the first in my family to be born in the U.S., so it was confusing to still be in this household and yet be queer, different, and feel “other.” But once I found my community and my group of friends, I felt confident as that weirdo kid with the piercings and hair extensions.
What drew you to hair specifically?
Hair was always the crown, the cherry on the cake—it’s a way of finishing off how I felt, it was a mood, a way of expression. I always gravitated towards it. Working with hair now, I love and appreciate the sculptural element of it, getting my hands in there and manipulating it.
How did you go from experimenting with hair to pursuing it as a career?
I owe it to my mentors. They introduced me to a world I never knew existed, especially Jimmy Paul. I fell into it accidentally; the only reason I went to hair school is that I was a crazy teenager and university in the U.S. is so expensive. One thing led to another, I moved to New York and was pulled into the fashion industry.
Do you approach hair as its own entity or do you view it as part of the whole look?
I see it both ways, especially working in fashion. Sometimes I get those shoots where I can just create the piece or make the sculpture. I’m fortunate to work with teams that trust me to do my thing, bring it to set and they work around it. But there's definitely a part of it where I’m helping to bring out a specific look or mood. I'm very much into both.
How would you describe your creative process?
I’ll talk to the stylist or the photographer, and they’ll give me the initial idea or mood. I work off feelings, so I’ll start doing something that's in my head but if it starts to go another way, I just follow it. I go with the flow versus trying to mimic something exactly. I look for inspiration in everything and it changes.
There was a moment where I was looking through Instagram, but lately I’ve gotten into books and I've been going to thrift stores and vintage shops, hunting for old magazines. I just found this amazing Armani book—it's so inspiring and a lot of it is stuff I haven't seen on the internet. I also get inspired when I go back home to Orange County and visit the Mexican-American community. The hair looks are so specific to that community—like chunky highlights or warmer tones.
What’s been your proudest moment so far?
Honestly, it's such a hard question because I come from so little so every opportunity I get I’m excited about. I'm proud to be working with people I've looked up to and who inspire me like [Vogue Italia editor-at-large] Patti Wilson and Bella Hadid, and that I have such good relationships with.
When working with someone like Bella, how much of her personality plays into how you conceive a look?
Oh, a lot. She really works hard and she studies. Whenever I do something with her, I'll have my references and then she'll have her references, and we work it out together. I'm so open to being collaborative. I want the models to feel good so I always love hearing what they think.
What do you want your work to say about beauty?
I can find beauty in everything. It’s more about a feeling or emotion versus trying to achieve something that's beautiful. But at the end of the day, I find it beautiful. Beauty is embracing individuality and uniqueness, and not being afraid of things that make a person a little different.
What are your hopes for the future in terms of your own career, and what are your hopes for the industry at large?
In terms of my own work, I hope to continue to grow and learn. One of my favorite parts of the job is meeting all the other creatives, so I want to continue to grow my relationships with people, and collaborate with people who inspire me. In terms of the industry, it's been a crazy couple of years. The industry has been pushing for diversity and inclusivity, and I hope that it continues to evolve and grow.
Originally Appeared on Vogue