Nathalie Boyer arrived in Vancouver in 1995 after following her heart to the city. Nathalie had spent the previous decade living and working in Paris and Tokyo as a model, dancer and make up artist. Nathalie's prior career has given her a unique sense of style and fashion. As an ardent student of the arts and with her background in fashion and dance, working as a hair stylist seemed like a natural progression.
Returning to the real world of Vancouver after the spectacle of Cabaret life in Tokyo was not always an easy transition. Her English was a 'work in progress', but she had fallen in love with the city and was keen to make a go of it. Nathalie got married in Vancouver on her thirtieth birthday. Shortly thereafter, she started working for Dale Seeman at Pompadour on Fourth Avenue.
After a year Nathalie moved to SUKI’S, where she ultimately finished her apprenticeship. Following that, Nathalie did three months at SUKI’S Academy for advanced training. Once her training was complete, Nathalie worked as a Hair Stylist for Suki.
In the meantime, Nathlie’s friend Dale opened a new salon, ZOOTZ HAIR STUDIO on 4th Avenue in the heart of Kitsilano. The hair studio was located on the corner of 4th Avenue and Arbutus, where it remains to this day. Nathalie’s love for colors made her decision to move back with Dale at ZOOTZ an easy one. Since then she has continued to flourish as a great stylist and colourist.
Nathalie Boyer was born in the Southwest region of France on October 13, 1965 in Rodez, Aveyron. Nathalie spent her early childhood in Decazeville, a small mining town where her father worked. After many strikes during the turbulent late ‘60’s - culminating in the upheaval that gripped France in May, 1968 - Nathalie’s Father, Gilbert, who was a longtime activist and something of a Union firebrand, decided that perhaps it was time to take his family away from the blue-collar paradise of Decazeville to something a little more glamorous. In 1971 the Boyer family pulled up their roots and moved thirty-five kilometers to the Medieval city of Figeac in "le Lot". The Boyers bought a Dry-Cleaning business. Their shop was a storefront in a three-storey house. Nathalie grow up in a very French environment - “La baguette et le vin rouge" (French bread and red wine).
Nathalie’s parents worked long, hard hours together in the family business, but Nathalie remembers that her Mother, who was an excellent cook in the classic French tradition, always found the time to prepare a wonderful meal.
Gilbert Boyer spent many hours restoring their house, until it was one of the most beautiful twelve-century houses in the city. The fire place in the living room was built in the 17th century, with a carved-stone eagle emblazoned over the mantel. The stone walls of the house were three feet (one meter) thick.
After Nathalie’s parents sold the house in 1990 it was converted into a Hotel, the "Relais et Chateau", and if you are an extremely lucky individual you will be able to travel to the South of France and sleep in Nathalie’s old living room.
As a teenager Nathalie adored bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and her first love affair was with the King himself, Elvis Presley. By the time she was fourteen Nathalie developed more radical tastes in music and she was drawn to bands like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and Nina Hagen - anything punk. And Nathalie did not hesitate to dress the part of the true punk fan, dog collars, safety pins - the classics of punk fashion - she wore it all, to the amusement of rest of the town and to the despair of her mother. Only Nathalie’s hair was spared her rebellion. Her Grandmother was greatly entertained by Nathalie’s ever changing appearance. If only her Mother could have shared her enthusiasm!
Although enamored with the beauty of the south of France, Nathalie decided at an early age that her dreams and aspirations lay elsewhere. Long fascinated by Paris, she moved to “the city of lights” at the age of eighteen, despite the disapproval of her family who wanted her to pursue her studies. But the magic and appeal of the big city were stronger. And so to Paris she went.
From the age of eighteen to twenty Nathalie worked for the newspaper, Le journal de l"Hotellerie”. The paper was dedicated to the restaurant and hotel business. The paper was located on the Champs Elysees, and Nathalie was captivated by the cavalcade of beautiful women who sauntered past her office every day in the latest Parisian fashions. Nathalie enjoyed her job, but watching the parade of fashion that passed her every day on the Champs Elysees, she decided that she was too young to be stuck in an office. She was confident that her future lay in modeling. Nathalie modeled in Paris from 1983 to 1985, doing runway work, prÍt a porter and photo shoots.
While working as a model, Nathalie was fascinated by the transformation that hair and make-up could achieve. It reminded her in part of her childhood passion of playing dress-up with her Mother’s make-up and hair-pieces.
In her early twenties, Nathalie returned home for a vacation and found herself spending time with a group of young musicians. Eager for a change of scenery and ready to try a new adventure, Nathalie joined a band. She played in the band for a year, fronting “Tequila” as the lead singer. The band even toured the south of Spain and Portugal for a month before returning to France.
Although great fun, playing in the band did not pay much money. Nathalie went south to Montpellier, close to the Mediterranean where she used to spend her summer holidays with her family. Nathalie has always loved the Mediterranean since she was a small child. Playing in the sea and picking up seashells were her favorite past times.
Nathalie returned to modeling again and was presented with an opportunity to reinvent herself. She successfully auditioned as a Cabaret dancer for a dance revue named the "Paris Sexy Show". The show was in the true French Cabaret style. Nathalie fell in love with the Cabaret night life and its mystery, and especially the cabaret 'spectacle'. Nathalie worked with many other performers; Singers, Magicians, Transvestites, Clowns and other intriguing characters – many whose acts were of the 'naughty' genre for which Cabaret is famous around the world! Nathalie performed with the Revue all over the south of France and in the Alps in the winter time.
Soon after Nathalie met a new boy friend, a Catalan from Spain, who introduced her to Spanish culture - and the bullfight. Thus began Nathalie’s lifelong fascination with Latin culture, music, and cooking and the Latin passion for life. In the Spring and Summer Nathalie used to go to all the ferias - from Nimes to Beziers to Arles - where she discovered the aficianados of bullfighting and the fashion surrounding the spectacle. She was entranced by the bright colourful dresses, elaborate chignons, and sweeping elegant shawls.
Life in the south of France was fabulous, but after two years Nathalie decided to return to Paris, where Nathalie felt that more exciting things were waiting to happen. She still worked for the Cabaret revue, but modeling was now her full time job. Despite her workload, Nathalie never missed an opportunity to travel with the Cabaret show to Africa, touring in Tunisia and in Senegal for the Casino of Dakar.
It was in Senegal that Nathalie heard of an opportunity to work in Tokyo. Her modeling career was running smoothly, but she was now twenty-five, (meaning ancient in modeling time!). Nathalie auditioned twice for Japan, and eventually got the contract – despite what she confesses is her poor dancing ability. Beauty and charm really will carry you a long way. Shortly after her initial audition, she got a three month contract for Tokyo, one which ended up lasting four years. The best years of her life as far as Nathalie is concerned!
Tokyo was a world apart – a complete culture shock, or more accurately, a cultural earthquake for a Mediterranean girl like Nathalie. In the weeks preceding her departure she had done as much research as she could, but none of it came close to even approximating what awaited her. Her imagination could hardly grasp the complexity of Japan, a country that she eventually came to consider her second home.
On leaving Paris, Nathalie felt more than a little jaded – as if everything had been done and nothing new was really left to do. Tokyo took Nathalie by surprise on many different levels. Tokyo in ‘91 was at its best, the Japanese economy was at its peak, everyone was making money - in fact everybody was making a lot of money, with financiers arriving in Japan every week it seemed from all over the world - Australia, England, the United States and Canada. The nightlife was extraordinary and it seemed as if there was a party twenty-four a day, seven days a week. People flocked to Japan from all over the world, working as Bartenders, English teachers, Hostess’, DJs, and dancers.
Nathalie worked at J.FOXX, considered by most to be the best Cabaret show in the entire city of Tokyo. Celebrities from all over the world stopped by the Club; Madonna, Sylvester Stallone, Christian Slater, Ricco Suave and many others. Nathalie also enjoyed dancing with women from all over the world, Americans, Australians, Scots and English girls. It was a real eye opener. Embracing the nightlife of Tokyo, Nathalie discovered Techno music and the rave scene – which influenced her taste in music and fashion. Girls were wearing bright and funky clothing - and even the boys were looking more attractive!
During her four years in Japan Nathalie traveled extensively all over Southeast Asia, visiting Hong Kong, Macao, Seoul, and forging a deep and abiding affection for Thailand, and the Thai people. Nathalie has many fond memories of the time she spent there, “What’s not to love about Thailand!?!” she will exclaim if prodded.
Nathalie for the first time felt that she was at the right place at the right time. Every weekend she bicycled to a different party. In what she today laughingly refers to as her “Golden Years”, Nathalie met and made many of her best friends, most of whom she has stayed in touch with over the years.
Nathalie also met her future husband, a Canadian from Vancouver. Having fallen in love, they eventually moved together to Canada in ’95, which is how she arrived in our fair city.
Here in Vancouver, Nathalie spends as much time as she can outdoors, running, spending time at the beach and sailing whenever she can. She enjoys traveling and her next great adventure is to return home to the south of France and run her first Marathon in Medoc in the heart of Bordeaux's wine region.
An avid artist, Nathalie paints and writes and vows to one day soon put pen to paper and chronicle her many adventures with a Memoir.