The Cut Life Podcast
The Cut Life Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

Ep. 1 - Ursula Stephen


Tahira Joy talks to Ursula Stephen about her journey as a celebrity stylist, salon owner, and brand ambassador. Ursula breaks down the difference between styling in salons and styling for editorial shoots/red carpet, and details why the term "work-life balance" isn't her approach when it comes to her hectic life.

Happy New Year everyone. This is our first podcast back for two thousand and eighteen and big man, how are you doing this New Year? He's yelling because he's not marked up right now. But we are excited because we have an amazing stylist. Were her super fans and she's actually the first person we ever featured as a stylist on the cut life blog and you all are very familiar with her. She really needs no introduction. Miss Ursula Steven how are you? I I'm well, how are you? I am amazing. Let's start by talking about grammys. That just happened and you styled be be rex to her Bob. Was Amazing. Thank you. So give us a little insight and background about how that style came about for the show and how you guys went about selecting how she was going to look for the grammys. been wanted to kind of give be a little cuts for a while now, but we just haven't had the right opportunity to do it. And you know what I felt the dress that she was wearing. We kind of had like a little goop message, you know, going about and when she did the dress of box it would don't like. I got it record in front of the color, everything about it. I thought she needed something strong, you know, kind of get bring herself a little bit, you know, and just do something different. Absolutely I kind of went in with the he's been stuffing wearing long here for the last couple of months now. But I definitely went into work like this is what we're going to do. Had to see you don't have my little strategy or high or her know that this is what we're doing today. But the great thing is that the makeup artist, Mario, everyone knows him as make up my Brio. He was supportive of it, and so was made her her silence. So we all kind of like this what you should do, like come on, come on. First she was a little not sure, but she got on boarder and she loved it. No, the look was phenomenal. Definitely stood out on camera. I was watching the e news red carpet and I saw her interview with Juliana and I was like, yeah, that's the look right there. And I think you know people, a lot of people are familiar with her, but some people may not be. But that look definitely made her stand out. And you are the Queen of Transformations. Obviously you know this. Is the cut life. So we know you're the queen of taking that short hair look and giving people a whole new, fresh image. Obviously, Rihanna and you posted a throwback of one of her grammy looks, that blond short hair that we love. So that is soper cool. So we're talking about Grammy's, but let's take it back and tell us about your earning as a hair stylers and how you even got into the industry in the first place. As I as I grow, you don't go deferense to my career at day. That answer kind of change because it's so many when I look back and so many things that I remember, you know, opportunities and you know. I just feel like it was pretty much a combination of making just the right decisions and also making decisions that were right for me and no one else. You know, like I I'm good at acting, you know, all those people opinions and things like that, but like this, looking back, I think the biggest part of it was really knowing what I wanted, you know, and making decision that was best for me. So what I think back on beginning it pretty much was just me kind of positioning myself right where I needed to be, I would say, you know, I wanted to do here. So I went to I went to beauty school. My big school was a high school, so I did that and then after, you know, while I was there, I worked at, you know, after school and on the weekend,...

...that frowns, and just kept myself surrounded because that's what I really love to do. So I just was very hungry for me and just wanted to always be around it and just gather all information from all areas of it. So even when I'm in school yet, I was fine, but I needed to kind of be hands on it. You know, a lot of my teachers really believe in me and pushing in. I really followed their advice and kind of, you know, really listened and I think making those decisions early and making very strong decisions only like you decided to drop out of, you know, collegue and go and tour decisions like that. You know, I only you could. You can only make them yourself and can really you know, actually what to do. You got to really figure out what's going to be for you and don't book. Those were all like turning points of my career, you know, like first steps going to do the school while I was in high school for the vocation high school. You know, second steps, you know, working on after school on the weekend, you know, third steps, taking the chance to going for it and, you know, seeing what that was about. So I think all those things kind of put me in it. But ultimately I ended up working at a salon and a lot of the clients that work there were in the industry someway somehow. And at the same time, one of the girls that work there, she could make up it. She kind of like just kind of took me under her wing and, you know, taught me a lot of things about testing and photo shields and, you know, a party with her like crazy, because I met everybody. I did her hair. So you don't everybody wanted to get their head about. Whoever get that kind of Shit, you know what I mean? Right, right, it was just it was just up a compilation of all those things. It sounds like the common denominator is that you followed your passion throughout everything and you trusted your instincts and all of the decisions that you made, because it's hard for us to particut predict the outcome, but when you start with that passion and something that you truly love and you're doing it because you love to do it, not because someone else is telling you to do it. It's like you just trust that and it continues to drive you forward, even even now, obviously, with your career, and the takeaway that I want the audience to get from that is that you paid your dues, like you worked every angle of this to be prepared for the opportunities that you have. You know, absolutely, absolutely so. Obviously everyone follows you and they're familiar with your celebrity clientele and you know they love to see you do your thing. But tell us about how you started even working with celebrities and a bit about that process, because we do have a lot of stylists that, you know, are in the salon and they're like wanting to work in editorial or work with celebrities and do red carpet and all these different things, but they're just like how do I even get started or put myself in position to even Garner that type of clientele? I think you know, everyone has their own story. You know, how to get a business, you know, for me, I just really surrounded myself with people that way into business and it's not. I didn't necessarily target that, but I think my saying yes, the opportunities like, you know, can you do this shut not knowing anything about it, but yeah, I can, I can pack all my stuff up and come to you here, and just figuring it out as I would also went along. You know, I think the main way that I did get into working with everything sink, because a lot of my client is work in the business. So what my name tryed to travel around. It was it was no stop of it. It was a little difficult at first because, you know, working to trying to juggle that the lawn, you with a freelance. You say, you hell, you know, it's very hard because you never know what. You're going to get called out to do something, and that kind of how I end up really doing it full time, because I kept getting cold and having a chance for my claims and move things around, you know, because if at first is like okay, you this one artist, sure, it was cool. I would be in a Falan and, you know, like normal, and then it was like okay, well, she really wants you to come into this.

So it kept being that and then it just so that just kind of push me into being a freelance of full time right, and just kind of it's like what do you do if someone wants you to go on tour for three months? Right, you have to take those opportunities because you never know where they will lead. And I'm sure you probably still have a couple of salty clients from that time that were like men. Sure, for sure, a lot of them. A lot of them say that to me. It is so funny if you think you said that, because I've wrote itself few them and they would definitely say you said, Oh my God, I'm happy for you, but I cannot believe that. You ask me. All right, they're like, Hey, when you clone yourself for me, please just I can have someone. Yeah, but I struggled out for a very long time because I was so afraid. I was very afraid because you know when you were going to sit on. You you deal with quick money, cash money. You don't have to wait on nothing, and where you become a freelancer, you're waiting for Myne that just not easy. Guys, hello, just so you don't need to could put a little PAS onto. Yes, we all the side, the scientist. We got all, you know, the ladist and all that, but it's a real hustlel you know. I mean once you really getting through it and you have that kind tell and it's revolving, then things start being a little swiftly. But it's not an easy it's not an easy startup. Do It, you know, doing freelancing, actually living offer and really be able to, you know, be independent, offer it. So I really try to hold on to the salon thing for a long time and I think I came to like a breaking point where I was like Sirup curting out my aid it back then and like saying like I can't do this shit, like I can't like I mean money. I got said my client, pist I can't know this old out all the attitude right very call up with me. I'm like, Oh, I like her, and then I kind of what I do. A lot of sure, a lot of people do. I'm full. You do it. We had to have a real finis conversation with myself, like will you want? Like at this point I had been working behind this here for double digits. So it was like okay, CIS, like what do you want? Like you want to continue doing that because not really, I'm not really feel how that, you know what else, tact superside being here. Like you know, I want to out. Still want that, but I want to add something to it right. Builds your repertoire and be able to expand. And I love a few of the points that you mentioned, especially the part about being being a freelancer and how they don't understand how these checks work and there may be some amazing moments that you see, but there's a lot that goes behind it and being able to consistently maintain a lifestyle. And I have a PR background and worked with, you know, entertainers as their publicist. So I totally understand whether you're waiting for a label to cut the check or don't. Let it be a corporate project and you have thirty, two, sixty days that you have to wait to get paid. They don't want to talk about that and the project is done, the work is done, but you're still like, okay, where is my money? Like I need to get paid. So I totally understand that and I'm sure there had to be a bit of fear to make that transition, because you're like, okay, I have this consistent money over here with these style its, with these clients. But then I have these opportunities and I can't really predict what's going to happen, but it's a promising opportunity that could lead me in any direction. So yeah, but you got to fight, or is they fight through the fear and do it anyway. That's what you think to do. Yeah, you have to be brave to tell myself like this. You just get a small all this all okay, in order you want to see results, you got to put some time into this right here, and that's after that. I just never been back in just so I decide just pretty much surrender. So on your journey and working with talent and even working with brands. I won't necessarily trap you in to having to name names, but what type of clients are your favorite type of client to work with? I mean, I'm love to work with any girl that loves to look and feel beautiful. Like, if you want...

...that, you don't mean it, and if you understand that and you let me do my things, I love to work with you and I have a lot of clients like that. You know, I feel like dbs like that, like really's like that. You know who my chiefs like that like. You just love to have her here done and you known blown down. You know what I mean. So I just I just like you. I feel like that's that's where you connect, you know, on the clients, what I love about your work and what you do is that to me, you're not just a hair stylist, but you really build brands with your skill and with your expertise, because you completely transform people and give them a look that they can carry out into their lifestyle. So it's not just a one time red carpet situation or a onetime TV appearance, but you're actually crafting looks that they can take into their everyday life. And especially when you're dealing with recording artists, we know that their stock as soon as they leave the house. So they're trying to keep up with an image and I think you set the tone for a lot of them with certain being able to, you know, create an image and for them to be able to carry out carry out in their everyday life as well. Absolutely, I'm a true believer. Is a lifestyle like that's just what it is. Not like you don't mean to lifestyle. Absolutely, you feel beautiful, you just feel, you know, you just beautiful when it comes to you of your hair and you need to make up your wardage. You feel comfortable, you know, and I love I love women like like that. Love to feel like that cause I love to be around that up to do it. I love to look good and feel good, because once you look good, you feel good, and what you feel good, you Gott you're gonna produce, you know, whatever, you're going to excel whatever you're doing, and I love that you also represent your brand, because we're not going to catch Ursela without a fly cut, without a fly look, whether it's a little longer or a short Pixie, even down to your style and how you carry yourself, like everything is on point, and I've noticed on your ig over the past couple of years how you've been really getting into the fitness as well. So I'm like the overall brand of Ursula Stephen is like next level and I'm loving it. Thank you so much. I appreciate that. Yeah, you have to. You got a postice that you creatures true, and it really feel good. It feels good to get up. I never thought I would be the girl to get up and go to the gym before get all that was unheard of. Hoy. Now I'm like get it and, you know, I feel better and it probably, yeah, probably helps with your energy throughout the day and you know, and that actually leads to my next question about balance and taking care of yourself. You know, you own your salon and Brooklyn and then you're a stylist as well and you travel and then you also partner with beauty brands as an ambassador and influencer. So what are some of the things that you do to balance it all? And you have to have a personal life as well, so we have to, you know, as women entrepreneurs, sometimes we're so career focused, so we have to also insert personal life here and spend time on that as well. So what are some of the things that you do to try to balance everything that you have going on? Well, first of all, I learned a long time ago that trying to balance this whole balance thing is not realistic. I think it's really more about making space, and that's just what I do. I just make space. You know, I just know how to cry, guys, I'm very good at that. fireside everything and I kind of just let the chips for where they may and you know, I can't. Can't fight you're going to happen. So and I just really take it week to week. You know, it's just we just full with with a lot of outside work. Then I build my soul on being around that, you know, and that's just how it is. I love that. I love that you said making space, because people stress out over balancing and it's not supposed to be stressful. No, I'm like...

Trob, just make space for it, exactly. You know. You know what I mean, that you just have to do it because it make any sense. So for me, I I just do it. I take a day by day and I understand my job. So I know what's expect from this. I'm not. I'm not doing what I do and having this amazing career and, I think, a pretty great life and looking at the person that works, you know, whatever sched do have have to be that work, not a finsble. That was, you know, the night shift from tolf or whatever. I'm not compare myself to them. I'm working with the schedule I have, you know, right. So, just like you know, whoever have been set goother than they know, they off everywhere day. They figure out there everyone's Day. Absolutely. You know, I look at my my week ahead and I figure out what I have this day off and I can go to the father, that's a facial that date. Go have, you know, my girlfriend, I could go out, you know, I could have a date. You know, like I live my life and I plan my life and I think that's that's that's says a lot about me or any person in my position. You have to you have to know how to handle your life. That's just what it is. I Love Them. You have to prioritize and make space for yourself, because I think that's the key. And whether it's something small, like in the morning I'm like reading my devotional because I just need that time, you know, just to meditate and relax and block everything else out. And you do find those times throughout your day and throughout your schedule to create that balance that you need for yourself. So I love that and I love that you are not telling people to stress, because some people are really like, okay, from eight to ten, I got to do this, from noon to two, I got to do this, and we know in this world is not going to happen. You can get called at new to be somewhere by two and it's just your day is completely different than what you planned. That, I feel like, kind of balance just you go kind of shuts off your your how far you can go, because I feel like when you try to ban it or I can't be back, I'm doing it on this no, you know, got me push this aside, but put it head this you folded down to to you know you could, you could figure it out. When you try to make sap exactly balancing that, you like, you know what, I'm only I can't do no more. And you know, this is hard for me to hear a little bit because I'm a libra and our symbol is all about the scales and balance. So that is like our life's work to focus on balances. So you know, I've had to learn over time to let go and to not have that type a personality with everything. So and it serves me well. I'm like, okay, God, I'm let me let go and let you handle this right now. Yes, you want to block the back. Why you do it? Because you know he would say, well, she said she's well balance on the show. No more. Well, we don't give this for this on perfecause you know, you know no this. Let it smoltness and let everything happen. To wait so fast. That's just it. Know that I love it. So the cut life is obviously all about short hair, from Bob length to bald, and we see a lot of different trends that pop up, whether it is bold, like bright colors, like purples and Greens and pinks and different things like that. What are some of the trends that you see, you know, happening in the future, or what are some things that you think that you would want to see happening within short hair? I think it's kind of in that direction already were which is pretty much having healthy short hair. I think for a long time a lot of people were kind of going into short hair because they had to. They have breakings and, you know, or whatever the case maybe, or they just they had here was quite hard to grow buy. So like now a lot of girls are, you know, we're for them because they want to, because it's a great look, and I think that now with moving it to having healthy short hair, the movement and body and shine then or I love that. Yes, hair care is key. Yes, they hear, kid, they really, they're really applying haircare. Now. A lot more with short hair. A lot of people felt before that you don't, well, I'll show you. So whatever you know. But now they're they're paying attention to their hair, no matter what length is. I think that's great and it's I've been shortre shortly is not going anywhere. I...

...think a lot of you know we did a really good job in the last couple of years making short hair mainstream because before, because for a long time it wasn't. It was like, you know, short hair was but you know, it wasn't looking as sexy. Know How he helped it out a little bit, you know, to me, but in general, like you know, short hair wasn't a mainstream thing. And now we see not lay thing with the big choping she did, if you o a film, but it still looks fierce on her and that's inspiring a lot of people right now. But she still did it and that that said, I'm not that she was willing to do it. You know what I mean? Absolutely understand that. You know, if you have to have go here to be beautiful, you know, you don't have to have no may beautiful song. I love that and I love the fact that I'm like I have to tell people look. Just I wear my hair short because personally, I like the way I look with short hair. Like I've worn, you know, sewn in Bob's and different styles, and I'll continue to play throughout my life, but the look that I feel suits me best is short hair. So I tend to stay in that lane. Because people ask me all the time, well, since you have the cut life, do you feel like you have to rock your hair short forever? I'm like, I don't feel like I have to do anything, but I like my hair short, so I'm just rocketing it that way because it's my preference. And I'm like it's not because, you know, I broke up with somebody and I'm going through something and stressed out, and there are those, you know, instances where people have that going on. But I'm like no, I rock it like this because I want to right. Okay. So we have a lot of aspiring stylists that want to, we talked about earlier, get into the editorial space, work with celebrities, work with brands. What are some specific items or advice that you would give to these stylists, because some of them don't even know like what should be in their kit, and you don't have to like list everything, because I feel like that could be something we do later where we have a paid webinar and you can give them right the nitty gray of all of that. But it just maybe some surface level general things that you feel stylis should be just prepared for, even if it's not physical items, but just mentally how they should be prepared to enter those spaces, coming from the salon and into those spaces. One of the first things I want to really face to that silence is learned the difference between the long here and editorial here, and then when you get to editorial here, then you got to know the distance in editorial here, right part is here. You know, I mean things like that, lifestyle here, things like that. What you have to learn the different because there is a big difference. So at the time a lot it's long sidically wanted. They want it so bad as you just want. We can want to work with a selebrity, but the type of here, you going to do fourth Ley or, let's fake for it, cobally, two different types of the self hair styles. When you are working with someone in a salon, you are creating a look for real life. When you are working or a magazine and we're doing editorial shoot. You are there to create an illusion, right, right, so what happens is a lot of stylus that starts to editorial way. They can't survive the solon because all they have to do in the created here for lusion and they're not thinking about the everyday woman and how she's maintaining her hair in between visits to the Salon. Right, yeah, you don't know. And then you have to style this look some long side of this is never going Editcora anything out Flan and get on the set and then you got back on it on the cover of Glamor. You don't right. And also not even just being able to execute the illusion, but to be able to execute it in a time emily manner, because time is money on set, and that's the whole other thing, like, can you execute within the time that's set for you by that person, the client that's hiring you for the job? Right. So thought there, and then everything else comes into attecting the WEBINARF. Right. Yes, everything, and that's what and we're speaking it now and everyone listening. We did...

...not talk about this and advanced but I think it's necessary so we're going to have a webinar coming soon where you can pay and get the real nitty gritty, because we are not doing free consultations today. You get you see, I'm just make faith for a webb. We even know we're going to do that. Listen, now, we got to figure it out and make it happen because it's needed and you know these questions, I'm sure you get flooded with in your DM's and your email and when you see people, when you're out and you know you worked hard and built your reputation and it's valuable information that is worth something. So people that are serious, that want to know the INS and outs and to be prepared, prepared as much as they can be. What you can't do is teach them how to do good hair. They have to practice that on their own, but you can provide them the tools that's needed to at least be professional and ready for those opportunities as good as possible. So, Hey, I like I like this. We need to get just on the email. Everyone just is. Are Sol's assistant. We got to get here on the email and start planning this Webinar, because this is good stuff right here. So my next last question was actually what projects are you currently working on that you want to talk about and things that you have coming up? It looks like one of the things maybe a Webinar for the cut life coming up. So I love that. Recently added. Yes, recently added. Well, it's funny because that we even brought it up, because this is the year that I really want to really start teaching my classes. So I love it for it or how to see how that you're kind of happen. So yeah, so that's one of the things on my agendas. Please, friends and followers and fam don't pressure me. Let me get it together the right way. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it so right now. That's the that's one of the things that on the top all the little things I can't really speak about. But things are happened and play with a few scenes in two thousand and seventy and I'm hoping that this is the time for them to really flourish and grow. So I'm excited about about my new challenge. I don't know what they are yet, but I did it. I had a you know, a long, long, long work. Yeah, last year. I'm kind of now not posting myself to be more right that you and new met me. So I'm good. I'm good. I probably most of my goals last year. You know, too little lingering ones that you know. You can't beat yourself up. You know I'm with you. Sometimes you have to quiet your mind and you know, not be so gung home. Yeah, I'm so. I'm definite Raman that quiet your mind. Seeing just right now and you know you're starting to slowly. So I don't bring myself out, but I'm still being busy. Well, I love it, and you know, it's two thousand and eighteen, and a is the number of new beginnings. So I feel like there is an emergence of new amazing things that are going to start happening for so many great people that I either know or just knowing passing or have seen. You know, the growth and I'm excited. So firstless Stephen and the cut life spring two thousand and eighteen and I'm thinking, you know, I got some things coming for you, guys. So you can pay to get this this knowledge. I have a lot more to say, trust me, absolutely. I know. I mean, I can, I can hear it in your voice now, and but that's why? I'm like, you know what, we're going to put the pause button on it because this info is not for free. Okay, right, well, no, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and talking to us. I know everyone can find you on Instagram at Urslas Stephen. You are Sula Ste Phe in. Obviously we're following her from the cut life and we are posting her. She's on a recent postal. Just go up there and show some love and we look forward to seeing all of the great things that you're going to continue to do this year and we hope to be a part of it for sure. Thank you. Appreciate that. Thank you for having you.

No, yes, yes, thank you. Thank you. Sure, hair don't care.

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