Born in Brooklyn, NY, Nadege August lived in Haiti from the ages of four to fourteen. She is fluent in French and Creole. Nadege is often asked: “Are you the ‘French Ho’ girl?” She is neither but that line and her recognition for it is a testament of how memorable her role as the French speaking Ursula in Sony Pictures 2001 feature film “The Brothers” is. She’s since been in two award winning independent films; “Runt” and “Solus”. The latter she produced and starred in. Other movie credits include, “Princess Diaries 2″, “Shot” and “Break a Leg”. She was a Series Regular on an Aaron Spelling pilot “Silverlake”. Other television credits include “The Unit”, “ER”, “First Years”, “Malcolm & Eddie”, “City Guys”, “18 Wheels of Justice” and “The Chris Rock Show”.
I caught up with Nadege and now have so many beauty secrets to share…
Mz Mahogany: How did you get your start as an actress?
Nadege: I always knew that I wanted to express and communicate, “being human” – with all of its foibles, complexities, joys, losses, sadness, and happiness. My empathetic nature gives me permission to be another. But I digress…I went the safe traditional route. After getting a BA in Communications, I got a MFA in Theatre Arts at The Actors Studio New School program in NYC. Moved to LA soon after and the rest is… ongoing.
Mz Mahogany: Which project did you like working on the most?
Nadege: Every project is my favorite if you can believe it. I so love what I do, from stage, voice-over and screen. But of every one of them, the smallest role in the movie “The Brothers” remains my favorite.
Mz Mahogany: I loved “The Brothers”
Nadege: I had no idea that over 10 years later, people still recognize me from it! Amazing!
Mz Mahogany: Yes, I remember that scene with Clifton Powel and Jenifer Lewis. Your part was hilarious! What are you working on now?
Nadege: I just wrapped a feature “The Last Letter” directed by Paul Hannah and starring the lovely Sharon Leal. Did a narrative voice over for Lady Gaga’s biopic, which will be available on iTunes and a cable station, Fuse. I also have a few guest spots on TV shows airing TBD dates. So, the best way to keep up with me and follow my shenanigans, is on Facebook.
Mz Mahogany: Tell me about your hair! It looks really healthy.
Nadege: I am a hair product junkie. I am seriously obsessed with deep penetrating conditioners, oils, masks, anything that promises to hydrate my hair. My secret weapon before every hair salon appointment is the cheapest.
Mz Mahogany: What’s the secret?
Nadege: Ready for this? Mayonnaise and Olive oil. I saturate my scalp with the oil then coat my hair with the mayo, put it in a bun and march into the hair salon for a wash. Depending on my mood or occasion, I get a press and curl or double stranded twists.
Mz Mahogany: I must try that! Do you do anything different at night or when you’re on the road working?
Nadege: By the time you get to a bed when you’re done for the day but have to stay up to prep for the next day’s shoot, there is hardly any time to fuss with the “do”. I simply sleep with a satin cap on. Sometimes, the hair person on set requests that I come in with it washed. When that happens I sleep with a deep conditioner in and rinse it out in the morning before I get to set.
Mz Mahogany: For the record, is your hair natural or chemically straightened?
Nadege: Natural baby! Living in Southern California, the air is so dry that a chemical relaxer was way too damaging for my fine texture. When I lived in NYC, I had a chemical relaxer and went for a weekly Dominican blowout. I miss those days. I must say, those folks are FIERCE with the “blow-out”. My hair despite being chemically relaxed at the time never broke. It was the longest and healthiest it ever was.
Mz Mahogany: How long have you been natural?
Nadege: I went natural in 2002. I went through my first heartbreak, I was 22 at the time and like any normal “mad” woman, I walked into a random salon without an appointment somewhere in North Hollywood and said: “CHOP it all”!
Mz Mahogany: Whoa!
Nadege: The woman looked at me and said: “Are you sure?” I said: “Is the Pope Catholic?” It was incredibly liberating, at first. I could no longer hide behind my hair. I had to become visible and real. Nothing to fuss and fiddle with. However, I soon had to take to the “hot comb” and flat iron because of the nature of the industry.
Mz Mahogany: Would you consider getting a chemical relaxer?
Nadege: I am not sure, albeit tempting. I love individual sports, I run, hike practice hot yoga and when I find myself skipping a good sweat because I just had my hair “pressed out”…mmh. Speaking of which, I am so upset at the negative buzz over Gabby Douglas’s hair. For all of her amazing talent, athleticism, we the people, the humans are concerned/fascinated/disappointed with her…Hair? Really??? I would like Gabby to do Gabby, just be herself, sweet talented child of Mother-Father-God! Amazing experiences happens when you express the incredible diversity that is our “hair”. When I went natural, even the “breed/quality/type” of men who hit on me changed. When I am pressed out Brothaz flock to me like bees to honey. I am going into a different interview aren’t I?
Mz Mahogany: Hahaha! But we know it’s the truth.
Nadege: Please, can we just celebrate sweet Gabby Douglas and her mother for the sacrifices they’ve made. That’s the conversation that needs to happen not her hair. Period!
Mz Mahogany: Agreed! What’s your ultimate beauty secret?
Nadege: Mayo, one over ripened avocado and olive oil. Mash it all up and coat the hair with it. If you can leave it on for more than an hour before a wash, even better. I use an oil blend called Deji’s Secret. I believe if the scalp is well nourished then it’s all good. I also take a multivitamin daily.
Mz Mahogany: And your skin?
Nadege: For my skin, I drink eight ounces of aloe vera juice daily.
Mz Mahogany: This is all great information and I have many new things to try. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any charities that you are currently sponsoring?
Nadege: I use to volunteer at the Braille Institute on Vermont recording anything needed for the ocularly challenged. Now, I am in the process of leading an after-school mentoring in the arts program for low-income youth through an organization I am investigating called the Bresee Foundation in the Rampart division of Los Angeles. And, once a year, before I head to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I ask friends to drop off anything children between the ages of 0-14 might need. From new school supplies to socks, to toys. I have a charity I support there. I hand deliver the goods to this grass-roots charity when I am there. I’d love to do more for them, but for now, that is all I can do.
Mz Mahogany: You are a breath of fresh air, thanks for the interview!
For more information on Nadege August, visit her website at http://www.nadegeaugust.com