Bjorn Nasett wasn’t exactly born and raised in a thriving cultural metropolis swarming with artists, designers, musicians or performers, yet from an early age (and well before the internet), he was fascinated and inspired by fashion, interior design and art. He credits his mom for cluing him into design–design born out of necessity. “My mom was a wizard at making something out of nothing.” But Rockdale, Wisconsin, a tiny unincorporated farm town where Bjorn was raised, may have inspired his most important lesson in style and fashion: “I don’t aspire for luxury, I aspire for how things make me feel.”
At the young age of sixteen, Bjorn left home for a bigger life in Madison, where he met some amazing people, like the late Holly Brown, a transgender performer from Australia who inspired Bjorn to delve deeper into the art scene. So he began–first by modeling then performing at clubs and in theaters; he soon made a name for himself. In 1982, Bjorn was invited to perform at the infamous Club 219 (also frequented by Jeffrey Dahmer). He was twenty-two, living in Milwaukee, performing in drag to packed houses (which he continued to do for thirteen years) and enjoying the “mini-Warhol scene” taking place in Madison. Wanting to be remembered at the height of his youth and fame, he decided to bow out gracefully.
I wondered what kept him from moving to New York City, a place where I imagine his success would have been that much greater. But family, friends and an already burgeoning career kept him from relocating. Milwaukee is that much luckier for having him. He’s a forefather, a visionary and punk well before it was accepted or understood.
His life since then has been filled with incredible experiences and an even broader wealth of talent. Years performing taught him a few things about hair, wardrobe and makeup. Bjorn now works as a self-taught makeup artist, hair stylist for Beauty salon, fashion stylist, fashion writer for Milwaukee Magazine (read him online here) and a style expert and weekly columnist for Amazing Goodwill (for fashion updates, follow him on Twitter).
Bjorn has lived in his Riverwest home for the past ten years, sharing it with his three Italian Greyhounds, Pharaoh, Devo and Sinclair, ages 9, 11 and 17 respectively. Bjorn’s perspectives on life and beauty shine through in his home that’s abundant in art or what he calls a “collection of my moments.” The spaces he’s created and colors chosen allow the vibrancy of his collection to come through, while simultaneously creating a wistful and comforting atmosphere that feels just like home.