The Cut Life Podcast
The Cut Life Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

Ep. 2 - Kiyah Wright


Tahira Joy chats with Emmy Award Winning Celebrity Stylist, Kiyah Wright, about her career journey as a stylist, including the iconic look she created for Faith Evans, snagging an Emmy with Tyra Banks, launching her Muze hair line & more!

What's up the cut life. We are back with our podcast and I am so excited about the new direction of our podcast. We are talking to the best of the best when it comes to hair stylist in this industry, and today is no different. I have the amazing two time Emmy Award winning Kay right on the line. Hi, Kaya, Hey, that a man. I am amazing and I am so excited to talk to you because our audience, you know, they see the Glitz and the glamor but they don't really know the stories behind you and the amazing work that you do. So I just wanted to kick it off with you giving me a bit about your journey getting into the hair industry. I started all just you aspire hair styles back in our set and like're out of high school, where I really took her hair as a trait. In High School, I'm like seventeen, sixteen, seventeen years old. I graduated and I was literally done with her school, but then I kind of messed up. I think I would be here my mom had passed away, but I was like one thus four hundred and fifteen and I just really got sidetrack and so I didn't complete class. I had to end up going back to the school and getting maybe like a hundred or two hours and getting my license later. So I took it up as a trade. I felt like two hundred us and that's how I like literally got my license, I would say. I may have you know, like I said, I went back for check it just that, you know, just to get the license. But I took it up as a trade in high school. Wow, that's how I started. Then I was really young. I correctulated to seventeen years old. By summer I was I had already graduated and I was like okay, I wanted to work and I went to work at this really over the top, like crazy creative salon. I mean these guys get to work around, for Guys, David, you were with like a mentor of mine. He's to do like Falk and peppers there. Back in the day. He was like super over the topics. So we're like SPANDEX neon color. I love it. I mean they were like super over the top for the cakes to like is firing inspiration fold colorful people. I mean they were and I was just like, Oh my God, I want to work with them. So they we worked right at a spring right along the line to the CC silver spring. It was like white there are so long and fright. There was called and imagine this, and I was like, I just want to work, I want to work. I seventeen years old, super eager, and I literally started my career at that point. I didn't even go through work. I wasn't ever an assistance. I literally started on the floor at seventeen years wow. That unheard of. Almost wow. It was like that. I was pretty much made for and I learned from them and they used to tell me about being really slow, and I mean it was, oh my God, three thousand years, like falling on the floor. Just a lot of crazy would just pick on me and I before you knew it, like I'm like no, put they are really fast and working really well under pressure, and I think you had a lot to do with them, just being only of our feed and be a fast and that sort of thing. And that really was the beginning of the like jump start of my career, working with those guys, learning everything I could learn. Two years I was really good and I was like, you know what, I want to get on the floor, you know, and they were just like Oh, and I was like, well, you know can I get? I was a commission and I think, you know what, if you know I can't get a better situation than I'm going to leave. And they were like so and I think they just didn't think that I was going to do it and I left and I went right down the alley and I started doing here. From that moment all my career really just sort of spiraled up. You know, they were great jump start. I would probably I really over the beginning my career to them from just learning so much about just marketing and that sort of thing. But you know, we weren't able... go on any further and from there I would you, hair shows because the see was really big and hairs in the hairshil world. So I started doing like these little hairshields and DC because it was about the proner brothers here, so they were huge, and I would do these like hair shows and I'm like seventeen and eighteen thinked to me like putting on full production, like full onlike theater. You know, stecond these feels like theater there. We have costumes that whoeverhearsals. It was like super serious and you know, I kind of got my feet weet a little bit in that world, you know, doing the hair shows, the thing like that, and then before you know it I had met a guy friend of mine who was lifted up in New York and he had a girlfriend, a friend of his who owned the Falon and I took one of my, let my last instances of being a DC was I took one of my hair shows on the road. He was like hey, we're doing a hair show in New York, you should come. Took I'm like eighteen years old. I packed up that car, got some models, we drove up there. Running up us, took all our prop, clothes, everything, and from that moment on that is really how I got some here. Just once I pulled into that city and I saw like the city, the heart beat of this city. Really was like, Oh my God, it was like lights, camera action, right, this is where I want to be. And you know, if and I probably like I was probably there for that summer. By like winter I was out. I was like, I'm leaving. I told my grandm on the yellow moving to New York and they were like, Oh, you'll never make it up there were here. It is hard, you know, country folks do ay this Kryo three, that dream killer and like I'm leaving, you know, and I left and I've always sort of really put with my instincts as far as you know, just what I should do next, you know. And just losing my mom at a really early age, being really independent so young, not really having anybody, I really, you know, just follow my instincts and where my heart took me, you know. And I went to New York and I just, you know, I have grew a huge client telling DC. So what I left was devastating. Like I probably have over four hundred clients. I accrued as huge clientele. Remember, I moved right down to Alec from them. So I didn't really loose much. I was really always good about keeping my, you know, clients in my data bank. I was really, you know, young, just making sure that I was always trying to handle my business at our very early age and I was big into Tony Robbins books and yeah, I want to be I want to be successful, I want to be a billionaire. Like one thousand eight hundred and nineteen. I was obsessed. Would like Tony Robins and like listening to the forty acds and I was just like obset with me you know, it comes with, you know, a lot of sacrifice, you know, like not having a family, children and husband, you know what I mean. But that was my journey and I think it really did stem from just losing my mom so young and not really having a big family and support and that sort of thing. So your story reminds me a lot, and that's the thing about the podcast. We can just have free conversation. But it just reminds me so much about my mom, because she was born and raised in DC and her mom was actually killed when she was fourteen. So very similar, and she just turned that tragedy. I think that just motivated her hustle even more. So, yeah, she know, her route was, you know, going to Undergrad and then getting her masters, and she's working in the icy field and excelling in that. You know where she is still today, like a VP now doing her thing, and wow, your mom. Yes, this is my mom, and so it's just crazy, you know, listening to that because of the the similarities. And I think a great nugget that people can get from your story is the fact that you can determine the outcome, no matter what the circumstances are, that you're starting out...

...with. You know, it's up to you. So really direct your path, because a lot of times, you know, it's easy to make excuses based on whatever we're going through, but people have to remember that everybody has gone through something or is going through something. So everybody. What are you going to do with that? But so you're in New York and you're working in the suns and I don't want to get ahead too far, but how did you start? Aren't getting into the celebrity clientele. So when I moved to New York, where I said, I had met this guy who knew puzzy and, you know, pub was hanging out and you see a little bit at the time because he was doing a little parties and at Howard and that's sort of thing. And so I meet him along the journey. So I decide open brooms up there. You know, I brought my as, my sisters, like you want to go. It's like shows. We moved up there together and I met a girl by the name of Annette and she had all the celebrities come in her salon. She was a forty three and fifth avenue, on like the fourth floor of stairs, and I was like I want to go to the Hott and Salan. That's always sort of been my thing. I always want to go where the hot people are. I don't want to go. I don't want to go and be scared and, you know, not work with the best. I want to go with the best because I'm really I love learning and I love Solan Camaraderie. That's that's always been my my thing. Like just the Salan Environment. I love it, you know, because you can learn. It's where you can learn. Like you little Salan se are like the death I think of a stylist, mm, but you know, I feel like working with other stylists it really does help you learn and evolves and and fel on. Right. Yeah, and the first day I went, when I got there, she had just suffered a robbery. They took everybody put in the bathroom and the Salan now and when they got robbed, naturally. So I'm going to silence last and one girl who was probably a little bit more comparable to myself. She's got scared of like, Oh my God, I'm out of here. I mean, I guess it was so traumatic. She was like and boom, while I KIA comes right in and I just swept up a clientele. I swept up, you know, new clients and I was just always eager to win, to learn, to grow, to impress, like I was just that type of art and anyway, you know, I'm four years and as a stylers, three four years as a silence, and I'm just eager, like I'll do it, I'll do it, I'll do it. I was that girl and before you knew it I had met biggy little Kim's Queen, like Teefa, her Mama, and wow, like pisons when you you name it, everybody, Biggie, everybody came to this salon because of this girl. And you know, another blessing, I would say, is just timing. For me always about timing. Timing is always played a major role in my life. And so I go there, I build up this huge clientele. You know, I get an the music and I'm meet US maybe about a year and I meet him and he's like I got my record label coming out, bad boy records, and I want you to work with my art wool. Who you work with? You said, all right, I want her head look just like jewels. I was like, okay, cool, and it was faith happened. Oh, he stopped and say so, he would center me two or three times until I got it right. Yeah, I like that. I don't like that. Yeah, I like that. So we started out with the blonde. She was dark, you know, and then we then we you know, we ended up moving or into read because it was like that, that's white skin and that red hair. So you're telling me you got her to that Red Signature? Hia, I had no idea. Yeah, already legendary. But now you're like, oh, what's the what's a better word? ICONIC? Let's go there. Pioneer. Yes, definitely, I love better is. I'm getting all the Jews. I feel like I'm watching a documentary talking to you right now, like I to put this in my book when there. Yes, you have to. So...

I'm in New York. I've, you know, to mind you. I'm married here. I'm there two years. I meet him and he's starting the label and I just remember, like you know, and then he was like, well, you know, I'll end this corner. He said. All right, faith is his first artist and he sends me out on the row. What they so while. But then Mary is who he's managing. Faith is on its label, but he's managed Mary, but, you know, a marrying her hands. I've got into a high moving the road. whow now I'm like, okay, so now this is my first time tourings on the road. That's a whole new express living on the road, living out of a bag, only being ready, macause it would have, you know, just be able to drop everything, be ready from day to night, because you don't go from radio shows. You might be hanging out in the party the night. You right, he's that type of kind. Let's go, let's go, let's go, let's book. That's so I'm on the road. Back in New York. He's like like, well, this is hard. He's giving me advice like this and stay focused, do what you're going to do. And so here I mean like it's a lot. You don't because I've never done before. I'm like twenty three years old. I never even had this experience in my life. So I might have been been younger, because I got here at the La at two thousand eight hundred and twenty nine. So I might even be younger. Son who I builds up this huge crintel there, and that's what began me into like just becoming a little bit more popular like I'm now. I'm calling my name, I'm doing a little Kim, I'm going total, I'm doing faith, I'm doing marry, like over the years, but I still ended up with, I told what's married for fight year. I ended up with faith for like twelve years. Wow, back for and that's where I really I've lived out of a suitcase for probably ten years, but it's insane. I know you have stories to tell. That book is going to be so good, so pretty stories, like you know it. It just really is about perseverance and just being able to roll at the drop off a dime. You got to be able to be ready stay ready. So you got to get ready and there right kids, I won't stop be reasing. Got To get ready, like the whole thing was real and I really lived by it. And Your Dad Gym's right now because, honestly, you know, you have what they called, you know, the millennials right now and they have, you know, the access to social media and they're seeing a lot of highlight reels and they're seeing people that are successful, but not really seeing the story of the grind and how many years they put into it and they're always trying to get to the person that's already made it, like I want to be next to Diddy, I want to be next to beyonce or Jay Z, but they don't think about working with their peers that are rising in what they're doing. And that's a sentiment to what you were doing, because these were new artists, you know, and they became legendary. Artist wasn't yet imagery wasn't as like top has always been into, you know, women and their image. Always like he would be like, all right, I want you to do my girl here and I want you. I mean he I don't want like this, I like but he's always been that, like female or not, is all into your look. I could see that with the grammy's because he's like cassie. So the theme for this weekend is black renaissance. Okay, so let me get the stylist, let me get the Glam team, because this is what we're doing this weekend, and that's I mean he's a master of and I learned a lot from him in that regard as well. To we just marketing and PR you mean just he was so, you know, he really impressed upon my mind, you know, business and imaging and artistry and management, like this understanding it all, and I've had a very less lucky career that way. And right after I moved to New York, I've probably stayed in New York maybe like seven years, like I said, on an off of it, on the road and doing that sort of thing. And this September to learn happened. Well, that happened. It really changed the tone of New York City at that moment for years, like maybe two or three years. Every was like, I'm going to live here, I want to get out of here too much. It's a whole you know, you,... everybody, the three to see aree times, because something like that had never happened in the US, or enough never happened, and it was devastating and I was like where can I go down and that's when I moved to La and La for me was like I've literally decided in September and by March I was in la. So five months layer tacked up all my stuff, shipped everything here out of it, I'm out. So you had clients in DC and New York mad at you and now you're going across the country. I remember because I would tell as the Christmas cards of my hand I went on my out of two target finish. I can hundreds of people. Me and my sister were filling out Christmas cards. That's all I remember, like, Oh my God, I'm over three hundred people like this. I can't, I got to stop, you know. And and so now I'm off to La you mean? I left everything that I had there, and what it taught me was that you can start over right, you can. You can make money anywhere you go, because it just it's more than just being a good hairstyle as it's so much more. It's so much more. You know, you don't want to get in a way your talent. You don't want to try to get a lot of a lot of the artists now they want to be Tut right. You know, when you gotta you gotta stay focused. Some of them definitely trying to move like talent. It's interesting. Oh my God, Oh my God, and that's the thing that the veterans learned very on, early on, like stop trying to be the talent and just go to do the work and you will last so much longer, because to be relevant twenty five years later was is, I think, you know, pretty remarkable and I would really I'm so grateful to God for that to still be relevant and not only a lot of it, but continued growth within the business because, you know, we're definitely dive back into this. But I have to run off some of your current celebrity clientele. Tyra banks, Laverne, yeah, Jennifer Hudson, Nicole Ar Parker, we love Sibley skulls aksim vicious from E. Yeah, I love the hair that you added to her head. I was like, okay, now I'm seeing, I'm feeling this. But the thing is with videos, I'm like, I need you to get my personal emails so you can send me these videos, because I can pull the photos, but I need those videos too so we can write promo. But no, we love it. But you know, just seeing that and you know you're an Emmy Award winning stylist and then you have your muse hairline and also a Salona as well. I I'm trying to figure out how you manage all of these moving parts. You know, I think that with over time, you know, you you know back when I you know, once I came to La you know, you start getting older. You know, I'm like maybe like but I got here, I was like two thousand hundred and twenty nine. You know, I've been here for sixteen years right now. So you know, when I first guy here, it was like, Oh, I just want to work at the stars, you know, when I got some amazing story of how that even happened. And but you know, you get told place where you like, okay, how many stars can you do? You're going to mean like what you know, you just it's a journey of just running behind the next, the next and the next, and I started to think like how can I leave my own impression here right on this earth as who will I be? What would I go down as? Like, you know, I want to be legendary. I want to be the pull Michell of texture haircare, and that has really been my ultimate goal. We do not have an ambassador for hair chair, you know. I mean it's a lot of people who own product lines, but a lot of our business owners they're not that that touching and feeling and and really talking hair. Talk from experience, right, you know, and I feel like, you know, I'm a veteran and I'm you know, I have tons of with I also have a Hollywood beauty award. I'm looking at right now. I have two EMMIES, I have a golden scissor award and DC and you know, it's like all of it, but it's still not enough. You know, I have a salon and Beverly Hills. I'm you know, I my salon stylens at heart. So when the celebrities are not calling, the Salon is, you got to play Intel booming and rely on...

...yeah, and with most people always ask how do you manage all of it, because this I know as a gift. Most stylist cannot do this because it's a lot of work and it's a lot of sacrifice. So, stylen, just know that is some big sacrifice because I don't have children and I'm not married. I've had boyfriends and the whole bit. But you know, I think, you know, like I said, when my mom passed away, it really did, I'm press upon my mind that we don't come from nothing, you know, and somebody got to become something in my family, right, you know what I mean? So I think that was my driving motivation to just really become the Palmers of touchure haircart, which is ultimately become a global brand, you know, and really like I mean Kim Kemble has done an amazing job at just really just laying down some footprints for it, you know what I mean? Like she's then majors department stores and we know who she is, and giving me that whole bit and, you know, become a la. She, like you know, really laid the carpet down. So I really take my hat off to her for, you know, setting no footsteps for us and you know, and now you know, here I come and you know I'm trying to do the same. You know, and that's why you're so blessed because even within this interview that's about you, you're paying on my to other stylist, the people that you worked with from the beginning, to stylist that are in the same lane as you, and the fact that there is that camaraderie and you're able to work together, it just shows that, you know, we're so much stronger as a unit and we can teach each other things and help each other kind of skip over some of the pitfalls, because I'm sure she's been through different things with launching her products and she can say, okay, kind of girl, don't do this, but do that. You know. I mean, I wish we could do more of it. I mean, I really, you know, I'm my goal is to have a just around of foot soldiers that's out here and really roop, like really pumpet from US hair, because I created muse. That's why it's not chire right, grandmut hair brand, because everyone is your Muse, from your from the artist, is my mused, I'm their amused. My team is the musicar me. I'm their views, their my everyday women, every day women, are my music. So you know, it was, its always been about everybody else. Yes, and you definitely are a mused, because this red hair that you had on your head with this bang. You like it. Ma'am. I'm like, well, I think I'm a rock like. Ah, no, I am all the way here, for it is so spicy and Q and I love that you represent your own product. That is so important and you're always switching it up and I tried not to butt it. Things like what I post me, I get more like the stubs, but I put lever because they want to see your face. They are kind of fans. You know, I don't want to do it. I don't want hey, you got to use what works. Right works. I'm like, you know, I'm gratefully. Yeah, it's been a great run, though, you know, being a California years or this is probably the longest, and this is home for me now. I've been for sixteen years, you know, and I just you know, that really is the goal. Is Really to build the global brand. I have my hair company right now. That's doing. We did really good our first year and I you know, hope to really, really really just make way with the new hair accessory and know it's like a piece of your wardrobe. No, absolutely, I love that. And when I was looking at your bio on your instagram page and I saw wig accessory maker, I never saw it phrase like that before. And oh you like that phrase. I love that because it isn't accessory. It's like it's not your Grandmama's wig anymore. Okay, we have like looks and nowadays, if it's done correctly, I can't even tell it's a wig. I'm like hey, exactly, and that's another thing to working coming here in California ended up when I first got here, you know, I had another, another story to where when I first got here I was once again such a hot Salana. At the time, this block called Millennium and you know, God is, like I said,...

...very prominent in my life as far as my journey is concerned. You know the Salon. That's why I that I went to go work at. The two people that died in the Eliah plane crash work there. Know those two guys work there and I came right when they died. It was crazy. My timing and life has been. I just I can't even like even. I mean it's so unfortunate what happened to those guys, because I do them. I knew the makeup artist, Christmas NATO, just working in the into all those years like that was I mean that just hit me hard because I'm like wow, that could have been me, all that traveling with artists, and that's what the thing. And you know, I went in in another guy that jumps off the Bevili center like months before that. So it was like the timing was like unreal, you know, with that whole situation. And honestly, these stories show how God really had his hand, hand has his hands on you, because it's the story. There was a robbery right before you came and then what I'm trying to say on in La and it's like wait a minute. It's like he's got his angels covering you and shifting into your purpose of so many stories like this. So you know that. Just let me know that. I'm going to write pad, even when I'm feeling discourage and I feel like it take it too long, even what I'm like, where's the investors? Where's I proved it? Guys, I'm trying and I'm pullising in me is still trying and it's still hard and it's fill like. I mean, I could imagine, like even what Cam like, but I.

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