the strand

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debunking product myths +
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spotlight on: Naeemah LaFond, amika Global Artistic Director

Though amika’s Global Artistic Director, Naeemah LaFond, may have started undergrad studying biomedical pharmacology, hair was never far from her world. From a childhood love of all things beauty to her exploration of hair styling, self-expression was always at the core of this Brooklynite’s identity.

Naeemah joined amika over 6 years ago and is now the Global Artistic Director of the brand. The role combines her love of styling as well as her commitment to education. She is not only responsible for the artistic direction of the brand, but she also oversees a global team of stylist and educators. 

Discover Naeemah’s favorite amika product, Brooklyn haunts, and so much more below:

What did you want to be when you were growing up? 
I don’t remember honestly. I remember saying that I wanted to be a doctor, but I don’t recall ever actually enjoying anything related to medicine. My entire childhood was about hair, makeup, and wardrobe. I think I just always said ‘doctor’ to make my Mom happy! She’s from the Caribbean - everyone wants his or her child to be a doctor.

How did you get your start in hair?  
My best friend was an aspiring model at the time and asked me to do her hair for a test shoot. I was hooked from that moment on.

Was there a specific moment when you knew you loved working with hair? If so, tell us about it! 
From the time I was a little girl I was always doing everyone’s hair. My mom said that when I was a toddler, she would hand me a comb and let me play in her hair so that she could get a few moments of rest and still keep her eye on me.

What advice do you have for people just breaking into the industry? 
I think it’s important to do your research and really understand the industry and how it works so that you don’t waste precious years figuring it all out. There will of course be lessons that you will have to learn on your own but finding a mentor or taking a class like the ‘Packaging Your Portfolio’ workshop can help you get to your end game much more efficiently.

Where do you turn for inspiration? 
Women are my biggest source of inspiration. I think that a woman’s aura tells so much about her and about who she is capable of being. I feed off of that when creating looks for the models I work with. I love when I give a woman a persona through hair that she never knew she even had in her.

Describe a typical workday for you. 
There is no typical workday for me. My role is so multifaceted. I can be teaching a class one day, then in a studio shooting, on stage at a hair show, or on a flight to another country for a brand event. That’s the perfect lifestyle for the Gemini in me who gets easily bored.

What do you love about working in Brooklyn? 
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, so this is home for me, and I love that I get to work my dream job in my hometown. That’s pretty rare.

As a Brooklyn native, what are your favorite Brooklyn spots? Whether it is an area or a restaurant, we want to know! 
My favorite restaurant in Brooklyn is La Caye. It’s a Haitian restaurant with great vibes and it’s right across the street from BAM. You can have a great dinner date then head across the street for an indie movie. Perfect Brooklyn night.

What do you love most about amika? 
What I love most about the brand are the people I work for and with. I’m surrounded by some of the most smart, progressive, and fun human beings. That’s hard to come by...What’s not to love?!

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What is the one amika product you bring with you? Why? 
The wizard! I’ll need something to help me detangle this mane! 

What is the mantra or motto do you live by? 
‘Feel the fear, do it anyway.’

I think I’m going to get that tattooed on my wrist. That mantra has literally carried me throughout my career.

@naeemahlafond

the wizard detangling primer | amika

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