You might remember seeing a bleach-blond hair genius on Season 14 of America's Next Top Model and wondering who in hell he was. For starters, he calls himself Weaven Steven. Think of him as the "baddest white boy in the hair business," and that's not because he sports a sophisticated gold grill.
Steven Noss is the Beyoncé of fantasy hair. The Pittsburg native journeyed from local beauty school to the world of whimsical hair design. For nearly 30 years, he has done everything from compete in Hair Wars, design for celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Lil' Wayne's ex-wife Antonia Wright, serve as the vendor on Logo TV's RuPaul’s Drag Race, and publish a 158-page eccentric coffee-table book filled with outrageous hairstyles in fairy-tale-like settings.
Weaven's World: A Journey Through Fantasy Hair features 30 unique hair designs, with clothing, makeup, and accessories to match, designed by Noss. Four of his weave pieces were photographed in the Florida Everglades. The Alice in Wonderland-esque theme used old-fashioned airboats, a restaurant that sells edible alligator tails, and a cameo by a National Park ranger.
"The day was absolutely perfect," Noss says. "We rented a green-and-beige vintage airboat and ended up on this little island in the middle of the Everglades. It was just so crazy and so awesome."
Anyone who has ridden an airboat through the hot and muggy slough knows that keeping one's hair unscathed is close to impossible. Noss had a quick fix: paper bags. "It was so funny," he recalls with a laugh. "We had to put paper bags over the models' heads to get them to the island. It worked, though."
Every model in the designer's book, including those who were photographed in the Everglades, were friends or relatives. He describes the process of creating Weaven's World as long and tedious, saying each weave design needed a vision, a sketch, color and texture selections, a preliminary base, and then a final shape and touchup. "Most weaves take me about a solid week," he says. You can't just sit down and make one. But once it's done, the results are beautiful."
Noss spent nearly four years creating the book. Most nights he'd stay up until 3 a.m. and wake up a few hours later to get more work done. He says he wanted his book to be a legendary comeback into the hair world.
"Right in the midst of it all, after winning countless awards, I fell and broke my hand," he says. "I was down for almost four months. I knew I really had to come back big."
Before his accident, the stylist did a fantasy-hair photo shoot that later inspired him to travel the country on an adventure through hair. "I tried to pick locations [for a photo shoot] relevant to each city I went to," he says. "In Florida, I didn't want to go to the beach — everyone does that. So I thought about the Everglades... that's real South Florida."
Noss says he loved the mystery of shooting in the Glades, where most of the area is wild and unknown. "My family is from South Florida," he says. "I've been coming here since the '70s."
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Weaven's World: A Journey Through Fantasy Hair was nominated for three Independent Book Publishers awards and will be honored in May at South Florida's People's Choice Awards for hair and style.
"Every person who has gotten their hands on it has loved it," he says of the book. "I just want people to understand what goes into the craft so they appreciate it more. It's really an art."
Weaven's World: A Journey Through Fantasy Hair
For more information or to purchase Steven Noss' book, visit weavensteven.pointbsolutions.com.