Ellin La Var is one of the “OG” celebrity hairstylist in the game ‘Original Gangsta’s” lol, laying out the tresses of VIP’s like Oprah Winfrey, Superstar songbird’s, Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige, Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Iman, Athletes Venus & Serena Williams, Socialites and a host of other male and female stars.
Ellin’s foray into hair began like most hair stylist, she started braiding
hair her sisters hair, than friends and neighbors and the next thing you know; all of Mount Vernon New York was at her doorstep. Little did she know those braids she was doing at age 9 would culminate in Susan Taylor’s signature cornrows adorning the crown of Essence magazines beauty and style editor. This 20 year relationship gave LaVars career lift off, as she’s featured in that very same publication showcasing her ‘Invisible Braids” , a new technique created to make weaves NOT look like weave.
Hollywood beckoned and Ms. LaVar’s creativity and stealth professionalism answered the call, landing her on the set of films like ‘Out of Time” with Sanaa Lathan, Julia Roberts in “Knotting Hill” (1999) , “Step mom”, ‘Runaway Bride” and Kevin Bacon in “Sleepers”. Ellin was also the key hairstylist for a few of my throw back favorites; “The Best Man” (1999), “Waiting to Exhale” (1995) and “The Bodyguard” featuring Whitney Houston.
LaVar’s work won her a coveted Emmy nomination for Outstanding Stylist in a (miniseries) category after beating Whitney Houston’s wig in “Cinderella”. Ellin, incidentally attended the funeral services of the ‘late’ and ‘great’ songstress, as she was her personal stylist and friend following her stint on set of “The Bodyguard’ in 1992. Following the four-hour going-home celebration that kept me riveted to my couch and crying like a baby, Ellin states “The church fell into each other’s arms…..It was like one last big hug from her.” I concur.
My fellow hairstylist, this IS what success looks like in our wonderful profession; to live your purpose, love what you do and be recognized and handsomely compensated for doing it. Any other hairstylist would hang their hat and kick up their feet with such accomplishments, but NOT Ms. LaVar; the camera is now on her as she stars in her own reality show on WE TV called “Hair Trauma. Not only is Ellin talented, driven and uber-professional, lets face it, to achieve success on this level YOU MUST BE talented, driven and professional and above all PASSIONATE about what you do.
Although her career began due to a bad relaxer at age nine that left her nearly bald; Ellin turned those lemons into lemonade. Apart from her hollywood credentials, celebrity clients, and high-end salon, Ellin launched a new product line called ‘TEXTURES’ which is sold at CVS and used exclusively in her Manhattan hair salon. The line is aptly named ‘TEXTURES’ because in her opinion, hair shouldn’t be defined by race, color or nationality….but by texture.
Going forward, Ellin looks to franchise her very successful salon as well as opening a chain of (much-needed) beauty schools. But until then, you can find her behind-the-chair at Ellin LaVar Designs…oh, bring your Amex, a weave can set you back $800…