Kat Graham is an actress, dancer, singer, performer, and fashionista. With a unique style that ranges from 90’s hip hop to edgy glam, we’re always curious to see what look the multi-talented beauty is wearing. A bold change from her character Bonnie in Vampire Diaries, Kat is fun and daring with both her sartorial choices as well as her ever evolving mane. With a new album about to drop and the release of her new single Secrets, Kat is easily one of our favorite stars to watch. So we enlisted her hair guru Bryson Conley to show us just how easily Kat can rock any mane.
Bryson and Kat have worked together for years. “Too long!” jokes Kat as Bryson brushes out a wig behind her. “My first job with Kat was this little music video for a boy band and she was a dancer and just a teenager at the time,” says Bryson. “We didn’t reconnect until years later when she was working on Vampire Diaries.”
“He came and did my hair for Vampire Diaries,” finished Kat. “Since then I’ve taken him around the world!”
Because Bryson and Kat both were dancers, they relate when it comes to how a performer should be presented and how a head of hair needs to move.
Self described as “fun, fearless, and fashion[able],” Kat showed off her glamorous side in the first wig she wore of the day. “This blonde wig is the most recent one that we’ve done,” Bryson tells us. “We built it in pieces because we had a deadline. It you want a lot of detail for a wig its usually good to have about a month to work on it, but my turnover ended up being about 5 days [for this one].”
Yes you heard that right Bryson is not only a talented hairdresser for both TV and film, having previously worked on The Hunger Games Catching Fire, he is also a talented wigmaker. “I have done the fashion side and editorial styling when I first started, but I love doing character work… I’ve been studying with Victoria, a wigmaker here in LA. She’s probably one of the best in the world for TV and film. I’ve also traveled to England with Peter Owen. It’s something that in my future I would really like to do [more of].”
The next look all about braids and cornrows with a decadent display of gallant jewelry. Stylistically, it’s the look both Kat and Bryson related to the most. “It just brings me back home,” says Bryson, who grew up in the 90’s. “[Kat and I] are both 90’s kids. I’m 10 years older than her, but we love the same music; Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, etc. I’m not in the 90’s as much with my style and fashion the way Kat is, but I relate to it a lot.” It’s no secret that Kat is heavily influenced by the 90’s, both in music and in fashion, especially as her hit single is titled, ‘1991’.
“It’s modern, it’s urban. I literally remember watching my aunts braid up their hair when I was a kid in the salon. It just takes me back to my youth and training, and falling in love with hair,” says Bryson.
With Linda Evangelista as her biggest 90’s muse, we aimed to channel the same sultry and piercing qualities in our shoot with Kat. A quick departure from the long, embellished braids was incorporating fresh flowers into a sleek chignon. Bryson reminiscences on his first experiences working accessories into the hair. ”Long ago I worked with Macy Gray when she had her fashion line in Bloomingdales and Macy’s. We went to a house of silks and they had these beautiful silk flowers. That was the first time I played with accessories in the hair. Today I just used floral wire and bobby pins to attach the fresh flowers to her hair.”
For the final look of the day, Bryson wet an ultra long brown wig for a sexy and seductive shot. “The very first wig that I’ve ever made on my own is the long brown wig that you see Kat in. I just put together bits and pieces.”
At the end of the day, the mutual admiration between Kat and Bryson was contagious. “She’s like my sister,” says Bryson, “literally. My little sister lives with me in Atlanta. Kat will come over and curl up on the couch to watch movies with her.”
If you’re itching for more Kat, be on the lookout for her new album that drops this Friday September 25 or catch her on the season premiere of Vampire Diaries October 8.
Muse: Kat Graham @katgraham
Hair: Bryson Conley @bdconley
Photography: Mike Rosenthal @mrmikerosenthal
Makeup: Kelsey Deenihan @kdeenihan
Stylist: Caley Rinker @caleyrinker
Video: Alex Cole @hollywood.coles
Nails: Karen Gutierrez @karengnails
Produced by: Andrea Berk @aaahndrea
Art Direction: Desirae Cherie @desiraecherie
Editorial Story: Justine Marjan @justinemarjan