Posted by Kerry Martin
on 6 July 2021
Rhys Nicolaou (2016) is reputedly one of Melbourne's, if not Australia's most noted barbers.Often featured in the media and with thousands of followers on Instagram, Nicolaou's client list includes some of the world's biggest sports and music stars, including American rappers, Lloyd Banks and Juice WRLD.
Nicolaou started his career at Culture Kings in Melbourne where he soon won the trust of visiting celebrities.
Now based at Mayhem in Camberwell, Nicolaou's clients follow him wherever he goes.
"I've worked with artists such as Desiigner, Lloyd Banks, Juice WRLD's Crew, Skepta's Crew, BDotADot and the UFC when they came to Melbourne."
"I have also worked closely with Eminem's personal tour barbers on the Rapture Tour."
Nicolaou specialises in cutting Afro American hair and is often sought out by the media for comment about hair and personal grooming. He was recently featured in The Herald Sun and Geelong Advertiser in an article about beards and self-grooming during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Nicolaou started barbering back in 2015 when he was in Year 11.
"I enjoyed the art of cutting hair, which then lead me into becoming a qualified barber. I started small and slowly built up a clientele. I enjoyed the idea of cutting hair and making other people look fresh."
He says that becoming a celebrity barber was a lot about networking. "The real secret behind it is networking and talking to everyone. Getting my name out there was the hardest, but with a mindset to achieve something big, you can. Celebrities talk, if you please one, they will talk
to another then recommend you. Eventually, everyone knows you! Or in my case, everyone knows Big Rhys."
Nicolaou was also passionate about music and while he was a student at De La Salle Malvern, he was heavily involved in the College music program and was a member of the College band.
"My passion at De La Salle was music. I loved the diverse music range at the school which included my favourite extra-curricular activity, band camp. Having the opportunity to travel and play music was a major highlight."
Alongside his work as a barber and his music, Nicolaou is a committed 'sneakerhead'. "One of my biggest and favourite hobbies outside of work is collecting and wearing sneakers. Now I have over 100 pairs and counting in my collection. Some people say I'm crazy, but I say it's a passion."
"De La Salle has left me with many amazing legacies but the one that stands out the most is brotherhood. Having that tight community of friends and family was the best. Being a Lasallian taught me to have the most respect for people and gave me real lessons about life in the real world