How I Went From A Destiny's Child Super-Fan to Braiding Beyoncé's Hair in Vogue

Photo by Jazzmin Golden
Nakia Collins
When Nakia Collins was still in beauty school, she created a vision board with clippings of Beyoncé and Destiny's Child. Less than eight years later, the pro hairstylist is working with all of those women — plus Beyoncé's mother, Tina Knowles, and sister, Solange. Just recently, the 29-year-old styled Beyoncé's braids for her iconic September Vogue cover. The following story was told to Rachel Lubitz and edited for length and clarity.
Growing up, I was a really big Destiny’s Child fan because I used to want to be a dancer. In elementary and junior high school, I thought I was going to be a celebrity background dancer.
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Then I started braiding in a Jamaican salon in Sacramento when I was 12 years old. Because it was open 24 hours a day in the summer, I would go braid half the day — like 12 hours at a time. In elementary school, I was doing hair at lunch. At church, I was braiding or styling my friends all the time.
In college, I was thinking I was on the road to becoming a doctor, and doing hair and working as a shampoo girl on the side. Then when I was 19, I took my sister on a tour of the nearby Paul Mitchell school because she was interested in becoming a hairstylist. They told me a story of a client who had come in to get her hair done; she had sent the salon a card thanking them afterwards because she had wanted to commit suicide that day, and that appointment changed her mood. I thought, If you can help people and make them feel good by doing their hair and talking to them, then that's what I want to do with my life. So I dropped out of college and started going to school there.
On one of my mood boards that I created while at Paul Mitchell, I had Kim Kimble, Beyoncé, and an old picture of Destiny’s Child. A few years later, I started speaking with Kim Kimble on Instagram. We had gone back and forth for a year and eventually she told me, "You know, I'm opening up a new salon in Los Angeles and you can come in for an interview."
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You couldn’t have told me this would be my life growing up.

Nakia Collins
I packed up that day, drove down to L.A. for an audition, and then my husband and I decided to move to L.A. to follow our dreams. I started volunteering at her salon and then eventually became one of her assistants. She was my introduction to celebrity clients. I was doing Kelly Rowland’s hair with Kim and [Kelly] would say, "I want you to work on my sisters." Then I got introduced to Miss Tina [Knowles]; I would work with her and Solange when Kim wasn't available.
I went to Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter concert [in 2013] and, for the first time, really understood how much work goes into hair for a performer like that. Miss Tina connected me with Miss B and I started doing her hair in late 2015. The first official gig was for her Parkwood [Entertainment] holiday party in Los Angeles. It was a dream coming to reality.
Tyler Mitchell/Vogue
Beyoncé on the September 2018 cover of 'Vogue'
Her Vogue shoot was really my first major magazine shoot. The direction was natural hair and I recently went natural myself. Her goal was to touch people struggling with their natural selves and feeling like they have to glam up all the time. Miss B always knows what she wants to do; she’s very visual and really hands-on with everything. The styles we did were something that an everyday person could recreate.
I did all the braided looks, and we didn’t have that much time. For one of the braids, I actually had to do it on the set between shots. At one point, [Beyoncé] was even helping braid the ends so we could hurry up.
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You couldn’t have told me this would be my life growing up. At one time I had been told, "You could maybe do wedding hair," because I got pregnant in beauty school. I could have easily taken that idea and settled, but I've surpassed that. Now I'm one of those girls that came from almost nothing. I think people who come from where I did don't realize we have the power to change our outcome. I'm proof of that. I'm proof of what happens when you follow your dreams and never settle.
Presented by Olay —
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