We are thrilled to partner with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) to promote all the talented artists who are finalists for the 2015 NAHAs (North American Hairstyling Awards), the most prestigious hair and beauty award in the country. Bangstyle had the honor of interviewing amazing hair artist and, one of this year’s finalists in the “Editorial” category Franco Della Grazia. Check out our exclusive interview with Franco and get the scoop on what fuels his passion for hair artistry!

Tell us a bit about your nominated collection this year. What was the inspiration behind the looks? How did the creative process unfold?
The inspiration behind our collection was the iconic images of Grace Jones. She was such an integral part of my growing up and going out. It was the 80s. We based the shoot around a famous shoot she did back then. Kim Kardashian recently copied the shoot, where she has a bottle of Champagne atop of her booty. Well Graces booty was not that big, she only balanced a Champagne glass. Less is always more.

Were there collections in other categories that you found inspiring or particularly appealing?
The creative process is always a very personal path. Competitions are always difficult. It’s like choosing wine for a group dinner. Some people will love it and others will not.

Congrats on being nominated for Editorial again this year, how did you approach your collection differently this time around?
Thanks. I approached the shoot the same way every time, you have to believe in what you are doing or it’s not worth doing. Integrity is important. You have a team of people that you work with, its never one persons decision, it’s a group collective decision. I don’t claim to be a photographer or a make up artist or a stylist. My talent and expertise is hair and creative composition. The team helps bring the vision together.

Tell us about your experience working with the Matrix family. How did you know they were the perfect fit for you?
I have been with Matrix for 20 years in 4 different countries. I helped launch Matrix in the UK, all those years ago. I was opening my first salon in Soho and I was looking for a manufacturer to partner with. Martin Dale, who was the head of UK education at the time, was introduced to me and made me believe we were the right fit and we were going to do great things. And we did! What a whirlwind it’s been! Martin went onto be the VP of Education in the US, I went on to open salons in the UK, Australia, and Canada and be a Global artistic director. When I’m not traveling for work or doing show season, I work alongside my good friend Rodney Cutler, out of Cutler Soho NYC.

If you hadn't found Hairdressing, what do you imagine you'd be doing instead?
Quite a few things. I always thought I had a pretty good voice. I was always singing in my room when I was a kid, and I would have loved to have been in a band. Racing cars, playing pro-soccer, since I loved my sports. I think whatever I chose, would have involved the stage in some way.

What is the most valuable thing you take away from the artists you look up to? What do you hope to pass on to the artists looking up to you?
Be humble, be grounded, and don’t believe the hype. Break some rules. Lead by example. Keep striving to do work you are proud of and most of all, give back. Help to keep this wonderful profession strong, and pass it on.

What is your recipe for a successful shoot?
Teamwork. A shoot does not work without it. Your shoot should read like a story, each shot should tell a story.

What do you find most valuable, for yourself and the industry as a whole, in an opportunity like NAHA?
The exposure is great for all the finalists and the winners. It’s the Oscars for the beauty industry.

What is the one thing you could totally eat every day for the rest of your life?

What trend are you loving right now? Is there one you wish would quietly and quickly go away?
Everything has its moment. Trends come and go so fast now, we live in the age of Zara, and H&M. Fashion changes so fast. What’s hot is hot for a moment. I love a great short haircut, which has structure and interior texture. Anything that has the hallmark of classic but with a contemporary feel. I don’t like fads.

Be sure to STALK Franco Della Grazia to see the rest of his amazing work, and wish him luck at the upcoming awards!