This Alum Is in the Running for Best Mullet in the Nation

October 7, 2022
Darius Nabors leans on a Colorado State Fair sign, and poses for a portrait with a man in a helmet

Can you figure out which guy is Darius Nabors? (All photos contributed)

Darius Nabors graduated from the University of Virginia in 2007 with a degree in political philosophy, policy and law.

It has taken him far. So far in fact, that he has ascended to one of the great national competitions: the U.S. Mullet Championships.

(Astute readers may remember Nabors from this fabulous 2015 telling of his epic 59 Weeks, 59 national parks, “Thelma and Louise”-like cross-country adventure.)

Now is your chance to get reacquainted with him and even help catapult him to mullet fame by casting your vote in the competition. Voting for the 2022 Mane Event closes Tuesday.

Q. Why are you doing this?

A. In June of this past summer it was my 15th UVA reunion. Everyone dresses up for Reunions [Weekend] and pretends like life is wonderful. Coming out of two years of pandemic-ridden craziness, I wanted to outwardly represent what I felt like we were internally feeling.

I attended Reunions with jorts, a T-shirt that said “I ❤️ peeing outside” and my glorious mullet. It was a great weekend. My friends loved it, and we had some great laughs. 

Q. How did you learn about the national competition?

A. After Reunions, in July, I attended an all-company meeting and met many of my colleagues in person for the first time. I keep my hair back on all of my video calls so they were unaware of my mullet and were a touch surprised.

The plan was to cut the mullet. Then my fellow 2007 UVA friend, Tyler Walk, texted me to ask if I was going to take my mullet to the Colorado State Championship at the State Fair. Needless to say, I kept the mullet and entered the competition. I used my public speaking skills gained from a 2007 J-Term class at UVA and was crowned the Colorado State Mullet Champion. Luckily, I earned an automatic bid to the national championship.

Q. Did you get a perm or is your hair naturally curly?

A. My hair is naturally curly, but only once it grows past my shoulders. Funny story – I didn’t learn that my hair was naturally curly until I got my first mullet for senior prom in high school.

Q. Can you describe the various mullet styles and if you went all-in on one?

A. Well, there is the Mississippi Mudflap, the Tennessee Tailgate, the Kentucky Waterfall, the Joe Dirt and so many more. I went all-in on the Joe Dirt. I cut my facial hair to match the David Spade character and messaged/tagged him on Instagram asking him if he would be my mullet coach. He never responded.

Q. Are there people in pop culture with mullets that you have looked up to over the years and why?

A. Oh, I love this question! For Halloween this year I am going to do the week of the mullet and dress up like seven of the following. Who should I pick? Andre Agassi, Billy Ray Cyrus, Patrick Swayze, Mario Lopez, Brad Pitt, Seinfeld, Ellen, David Bowie, Zendaya, Wayne Gretzky, David Beckham, John Stamos, Mel Gibson, Chuck Norris, Charlie Sheen and Neil Patrick Harris. Any other suggestions?

I don’t know that I look up to any one person, as much as I love the fact that the mullet is appreciated by people in so many walks of life and industries. It is truly an internationally loved and supported haircut.

Q. Can you trace your mullet devotion to a time at UVA?

A. Absolutely. My second year at UVA I was a resident assistant in Dobie dorm. I encouraged all of my first-year residents to not be nervous about being in a new place with new people, so I let them cut my hair into a mullet and spent the first couple of weeks around Grounds sporting it. We even made “Tom Pick the Mullet” signs and I was chosen to be hypnotized on stage by Tom DeLuca. 

Q. Is this the first time you’ve done something boneheaded?

A. Definitely not. 

1. For prom my senior year of high school I had a mullet and a “Dumb and Dumber” tux complete with ruffle shirt, top hat and cane. The girl I asked decided not to go with me.

2. In college, I won the “Most Likely to Wear a Wolf Shirt” superlative in my fraternity as a joke. I embraced the joke so hard that I started buying wolf shirts, giving them to others, and gave a TedX talk about wolf shirts. I think I got the last laugh on that one.

3. In 2015, I quit my job at UVA as a fundraiser for the School of Nursing and did a trip to visit all 59 U.S. National Parks. I created a calendar for friends which I called “Get Your Ass Out in a National Park.” I sent about 50 out to friends. My dad wasn’t happy about the full moon photos in that one.

4. I created an Instagram called “outdoorfabio.” It’s not super well-known, but it probably falls in the boneheaded category.

Q. What does your family think?

A. My older and younger brother think it is awesome. My older brothers’ three kids were just at Comicon fully covered with green paint as orcs from “Lord of the Rings”; one of my nephews has rocked a mohawk and I’m trying to convince him to do a mullet for next year’s competition.

My three little sisters are a little less enthused. Two of them are currently at Ole Miss. I unfurled the mullet at a football game recently and they laughed. They know that I run to the beat of my own saxophone, as the saying goes.

But in all seriousness, one of my sisters did tell me that I should probably consider trimming it if I didn’t want to lose another “prom date.” She might be right.

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Q. Can you share some mullet-growing tips?

A. Condition. Condition. Condition. I’m not saying I haven’t watched a curly girl YouTube or two, but I find that washing my hair about every other day does the trick. Again, condition every time. That’s what gives you the full-bodied hair.

Q. What would it mean to you if you won?

A. Well, first and most important, it would mean that a UVA alum, and not a Virginia Tech alum, would hold the National Championship Mullet title, so that would be cool.

For me, it’s about giving other people laughter and joy and reminding them that it is OK to be themselves. There are always people ready to tear you down and make fun of you. I hope that my mullet can be a reminder that you can be and do whatever you want. 

Q. What will you do if you lose?

A. Honestly, I’ll probably cut it. I have had some especially rough personal things the past couple years, and I think it’s time to give my hair a fresh start. I’m sure there is a good Harry Potter quote about a phoenix needing to be reborn from its ashes. We all need a little bit of a rebirth after the last couple of years, and hopefully cutting my hair will do the trick.

Q. Do you have any parting thoughts?

A. Thomas Jefferson once said, “I cannot live without my mullet.” Or maybe it was books, who knows? I never knew I was so interested in mullets before this.

Voting for the 2022 Mane Event closes Tuesday and you can vote once a day.

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Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications