One of the most rewarding aspects of this work is when you notice something special in a girl, the potential she doesn’t necessarily see in herself. When you’re allowed the opportunity to help her transform, she opens up and becomes that amazing woman you imagined she could be; it’s a great privilege and a great responsibility. First scouted on the street by our former filmmaker, Paul Physioc, Kelly Otterness was exactly this girl. Shy and soft-spoken, she didn’t seem to see herself as beautiful, and it took an entire year following her interaction with Paul for her to feel ready to make a change. From that initial visit on, Kelly has earned the title of Hairstory Muse, and has frequently returned for increasingly bold cut and color changes. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have witnessed her confidence grow, so we asked her for her take on who she is, and why she felt ready to take a chance on us.
Where are you from?
I grew up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
What do you do?
I just got a job at the Sunshine Theater. I also work as an assistant producing a new website for a film producers’ organization. I make films and take classes part-time at the New School. In my free time I like to draw, meditate and skate around the city.
What inspires you?
Italian directors like Fellini and Antonioni; experimental filmmakers like Kenneth Anger; Jennifer Lawrence’s lack of a verbal filter; having privacy and being alone; riding the Staten Island Ferry to stay with my boyfriend.
What made you want to be a Hairstory Model?
I liked the concept of talking to women in-depth about their hair and seeing the personal history and identity we carry around and maintain, before trying to change that. I also have grown tired of trying to have “magazine” hair and want to experiment and have fun with it, which is what the women on your website do well.
Tell us about your Hairstory experience.
I love the cut and the color and feel very lucky. Everybody involved made it a satisfying experience. I even got approached about a modeling gig while working at the Sunshine.