Fesa Nu Wants You to See Hair as a Form of Poetry


Nu didn’t consider a career in hair until later in life. “I feel like it was more so a survival mechanism for me,” she says. Growing up in Texas, her hair was less about expressing herself and more about appealing to the respectability politics of her environment. “I felt I had to do it in order to get through school, and to attract the right type of friends and not feel embarrassed,” she says. Eventually, she found joy in doing her own hair. “Me and my friends would try to match each others’ looks by coming up with the same hairstyles to wear to school,” Nu remembers. “And later, I started realizing that I actually have a gift. It became a creative art for me.”

Throughout her time in school, people were always asking Nu to braid their hair. “I started charging people like $10, nothing crazy,” she says with a laugh. “My friends were always supportive.” After eight years of honing her craft with private clients, she started working at the beauty counter in Macy’s, then enrolled in cosmetology school. Later, she began creating and producing her own editorial shoots for the Instagram series, The Art of Hair: African Woman Edition. “My goal with this series was to pay homage to the divinity of African culture. I take pride in knowing who I am and where I come from.”

Photos: Courtesy of Nicholas Caiazza / @nicholascaiazza

She finds additional inspiration from music, especially afrobeats and Portuguese music. “Rhythms, colors, beats, nature all really get my brain flowing. I feel like I draw the most inspiration for my work when I’m in my car and I’m driving to set or to work,” she says. “I try to find beauty in those details and bring them to life.” As for her favorite products to use? She recently fell in love with the Moroccanoil brand, especially their curl cream and hairspray. For edges, she swears by R&Co and Style Factory.


Up next, Nu is working on a coffee table book that will be a compilation of her work and inspirations. “I’ve been working on it for quite a while now,” she says. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.” Consider it a book of poetry.

Photo: Courtesy of Tayo Kuku / @tayojr

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