Michelle Obama's Portrait Got Shaved Onto Someone's Head & It Might Be The First In A Series
When it comes to famous people you admire, there are many ways to express your devotion and appreciation for what they represent. Some would opt for tattoos, others for posters, or maybe even commemorative dinnerware. Cleveland-based visual designer and creative director Nolan Beck went out on a limb, though, and decided to use his hair. Last week he had Michelle Obama's portrait shaved into his head, and he told Marie Claire that the shave might be the first in a series.
Beck made it clear to Marie Claire that he's always loved the Obamas, and that he picked Michelle because "she is one of the most elegant and sophisticated people in the public eye."
"With this haircut it kinda looks like she’s whispering in my ear, so I joked she can just constantly remind me what’s wrong with the patriarchy and tell me how to fix systemic racism," Beck said.
The shave was done by LeBron James' hairstylist, Nick Castellanos, and according to Beck, the whole process took about three hours to complete. He said he didn't see the area Castellanos was shaving until it was done, and described the experience as similar to getting surgery. That feeling, he noted, was particularly exacerbated by all the tools needed to get the job done.
Beck told Marie Claire that he hopes Michelle sees what he's had done, and suggested that she might decide to reciprocate the expression of affection. "Ideally, Michelle Obama will see this and get my face shaved into her head," he said. "I’ll send her a photo if she’s interested."
Indeed, a quick peek at Beck's Instagram indicates that he is definitely an Obama fan. On March 9, he posted a photo of himself sitting in front of the White House fence, for example. The geotag location was set to "The Obama White House" and the caption read, simply, "I miss you so much."
According to Beck, the idea started out as a joke. Castellanos had done his hair before, reportedly etching in a geometric design, and Beck said he joked that he wanted to get the whole Obama family shaved in, "with Barack on one side, Michelle on the other, and Sasha and Malia in the back." Beck told Marie Claire that Castellanos then told him to pick one, because a single face would take quite a while to complete. So he did.
"A few months later, I decided I actually wanted to do it," Beck said. "I reached out to Nick and he was game."
Castellanos also shared his work on his own Instagram page. "About 3 years have gone by since I’ve done a hair portrait and [I] had a good time rockin' this #michelleobama portrait," he wrote. While he may not have done a portrait recently, per se, his Instagram page is full of clients with unique shaves. It features images of people with shaved geometric designs, words, and even emojis.
After the success of the Michelle portrait, Beck said that he might consider making a series out of having inspiring women shaved into his hair. His main concern, he said, is that the people he chooses are "positive role models." "I think up next I want to do Sigourney Weaver, Sheryl Sandberg, or Cecile Richards. Or Tracee Ellis Ross!" he said, according to Marie Claire.
The responses on both men's Instagram accounts were extremely positive. Many said that they, too, wanted to have portraits done on their own heads. Notably, some people commented that they initially thought the portrait was of Prince, which Beck said doesn't bother him at all. (He described the misconception as "amazing.")
"It’s so beautiful," commented one Instagram user. "I see Michelle. But I will say the cheekbone is exquisite, but too pronounced for likeness. But that said, it means a head nod to Prince, which makes the whole thing this amazing crazy awesomeness."