Taylor Black, 20

North 7th St between Bedford and Driggs Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


Photograph: Jay Muhlin

What are you up to? I'm rushing to work. I'm a hairstyling assistant at Beehive Salon—I just graduated from cosmetology school. I basically spend all day shampooing people's hair.

Oooh, touching greasy scalps. [Laughs] I don't mind it, actually. You're cleaning them!

True. Somehow the idea of beauty school seems so 1950s to me. Yeah, I always thought so too. When I was going, it was kinda hard to take myself seriously. But I like to think that if you're working with extremely sharp instruments, it couldn't be too girly.

Good call. Did they teach you chairside manner? They give you a little lesson in being professional. You wanna look like you know what you're doing.

And not say "Oh Shit!" when you mess up. Exactly [laughs] When I was in school, I definitely turned a lady's hair green and then had to pretend that I was giving her a special treatment while trying to fix it. [Laughs] She never knew.

Where are you from? Upstate.

Is that New York City speak for Westchester? Ha. I'm from Poughkeepsie, which New Yorkers definitely consider upstate.

Are you from the 'hood? Not really. I grew up partially in a wooded area, and then I lived with my mother in a trailer park.

What was that like? My mom's trailer was pretty nice, I have to say. She had, like, central air in that trailer. I was called Trailer Taylor. [Laughs]

More from Taylor

"My hair has been white blond for years. It's naturally dark blond. I always joke that I can't wait to be old and actually white-haired so I won't have to maintain it."

"You're required to learn nails, human anatomy... I learned every single part of the human skull. I was like, Whoa, I didn't expect this going into beauty school."

"I like to paint when I have free time. A lot of my artwork comes from my dreams. I'd call them nightmares. There's always a really dark, scary forest involved. Always. There's this one of my cousin—she was wandering through tall grass, and everything was sepia-toned. I pretty much turned exactly that into a painting."