The Cut Life Podcast
The Cut Life Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

Ep. 8 - Stacey Kutz

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We talked to celebrity hairstylist & barber Stacey Kutz about how she went from cutting her brothers hair for $2 to being on the set of House Party. Stacey talks about the meticulous process of creating hair pieces for movies like "A Wrinkle in Time," and how she has had 20 + years client relationships with the Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, and Anthony Anderson.

Welcome everybody to the cut life podcast. It's your host. To here a joy and I am always and forever in the building with big MED, our producer, who who says hi in the background, and he's always staying on me about making sure this show flows as it should. Today we have I'll call this person, someone that I've stalked on Instagram for quite some time and once we rebooted the podcast, I was like we have to have her on. It's the La have to say. Legendary stacy cuts is on the line. Hi, stacy, hi, how are you? I'm well, and yourself doing good, good, good. And so every time I prepare for an interview with the Podcast, I'm always doing research, you know, stalking the Graham googling people, and I went on your I am DB and when I say I started scrolling and scroll and scrolling, it's crowing. Your resume is insane and yeah, I know, I can't even keep up with it. I just had to updated because they missed a lot of stuff, but it's hard when you have so much. I love it, I love it, I love it. That's what we call a cute little humble brag. Like there's so much stuff you know, we got to updated. But no, it's amazing. I mean just to talk about I mean obviously the current stuff, like blackish, scandal, the for which actually loved that show. I was so tuned into the flo it was crazy and I was too, and I usually don't watch half the stuff I work on, but I was kind of stuck on that show. Yeah, it was like a cool take on a competition show. I really love that. But then as I'm scrolling...

I'm like, wait a minute, she worked on all of the House party movie bad boy. Like I go. I go way back. You go way back. I mean legendary Eddie Murphy Movies and even, you know, thinking about hair and the skills that you have. It just goes beyond just being a barber, but you're really crafting looks for these characters and when I still glad you understand that, I try, you know, I respect the art of it and just looking at just thinking about when I saw Norbit, the first thing I thought of was the hair in that movie and how he looks like a completely different character in the skill that it had to take because he didn't have the mustache, he had like what we call the Twa, the TV, we the Afro going curls in it and I was like, okay, this is something. Yeah, this is crazy. So I'm excited because I'm like where do we begin? But I guess who can start from the beginning and tell us, stacy, if you can go back, how did all of this start for you? I actually did not pursue this career. So I guess, like people say, I answered my calling, but I started, I picked up clippers when I was like nine years old and it was, you know, I'm forty eight, and so that was like the birth of Hiphop, you know, the whole break dancing, you know, crazy haircut lines and all of that, and my mother used to take my brother's to get the hair cut and they never would get what they wanted and my mother would end up just cutting it off, you know, just give them, give him a low cut. And I was like I could do that, like I could play around in the head and if it's not good, just cut it all off. And so I start like messing with their heads and I was actually good, you know, at the time, and I started doing like all their friends and it kind of just snowballed into I had a little clientel going for myself. I just did an interview recently...

...and they asked me the same question. And it's funny because I always forget this. My brother, by the time, he messed up all week. His allowance was about three dollars at the end of the week and I used to charge them two dollars for Haircutt you're like, okay, all this money looks yeah, all right, I'MNA leave you with a dollar, but you're going to pay to for this haircut, you know. So it kind of took off from there and you know, by the time we were like in high school, you know, your hair was like significant. It was a significant part of our culture, which it always has been, but just the barbering in the high tops in the you know, dyeing your hair and putting lines in your hair. And so all his friends at school wanted haircut and it really started taking off when one of his friends was a their parents was a writer for Ebony and they were doing a story on haircuts from coast to coast and they said Hey, would your sister do this interview, and so I did it and they mentioned my father, who at the time was the senior vice president of Warner Brothers. He took Benny Medina's fine. Wow. Any yeah, when Benny Left Warner brothers and so they mentioned him and all of a sudden my father was getting all these phone calls to his office. They were looking for his daughter to cut hair and he was like what, you know? So it took off and that was like, you know, House party, you know guy and Teddy Riley, you know when Mike Tyson was hot, like all that error, you know what I mean. And so I like started getting all these celebrity clients and traveling and doing all this stuff, and I kind of ditched college because I was making money and when you're young you're like Oh, money, you know right, right. It started making money and I never went back to school and it just turned into this well, listen, you know what it's like when you have, like he said, a certain calling on your life and God is just leading the...

...way and things are happening the way that it's happened for you. You have to follow it, like you have to. And I you know, we never obviously, you know, Shun Education in college and all that, but half the time we major in things that we never practice in real life. Ever, pressed about the experience and you had the hands on experience. So life is like the best teacher of them all. Yeah, sefine of playing around. So it's funny how you said you played around in your brother's hair and how that playing around led into a career and even with you having that background, especially with a lot of the movies, classic movies from like the early S. and then recently I saw a picture on Instagram of Anthony Anderson and you were taking him back to the s with his Oh yeah, so they had to be the kind of reminisce in that sense. Yeah, we were doing a lot of flashbacks on the show, which hasn't been aired yet, but I'm excited to, you know, to see it. It was fun to do that's ad to build that hair because he doesn't have that hair, so I have to like recreate that hair. I have to make it from scratch, you know, and tell us make all of your secrets, but how does that process work, like with building hair and everything, or and not even building the hair? Put it like this, so when you are working on a character and you have to do something like take them back in time, but what they have currently might that reflects what that look you know, is from therough s. How do you start working on that? Is it something that you're working with the production team and they're kind of telling you or based on the scripts, like what the look is, or are you coming up at that look in your mind and working with the actor? What is your process? Well, it's all, you know, all of those things that you mentioned are involved. Of course I have my vision of what I think it should be, but there's a whole bunch of checks and balances. The actor has to be comfortable, the producer, the director,...

...they when they are doing a production, they have a vision. So my job really is not to create and just be free and do what I please. I have to make their vision come to life. So it's a really a meeting of the mind. You know what I mean? Right, collamory, I work? Yeah, absolutely. I worked on dream girls, you know, and it was a whole tedious thing of how his hair should look, you know, and this new film wrinkle in time, I worked with Kim Kimball and there was a scene with these kids would like bouncing balls and they all had these kind of like flipped up little looks and you see that look on like Caucasian little young boys with the little flip in the front. But US as African Americans, we don't usually wear that hair. She was like, I want to achieve that look but on a Blackbirson and and so I said, well, what about this? And she didn't exactly see what I saw, because it's in my mind. So I said here, let me give you a mock up and I did it on the spot and she was like, I love it. I was like it's going to look better than this. This is just, you know, really quick to show you, and then we did a test and then we presented it to Ava, who's the director on wrinkle in time, and she was like this is incredible, I love it, and so we agreed and we came up on a look, you know. So it's a collaborative a collaborative effort, and I'm glad you understand it, because a lot of people who are just and not to downplay any anybody, but just barbershop barbers, they don't understand. Sometimes they'll see my work like that. Let's go back to the Anthony Anderson thing. There was so many people on my instagram that were like this is terrible. Oh, he looks terrible in that hair cut. That haircut is dated. Why is it look like this was it? I'm creating a character, right, he's a character. He's not everyday guy on the street. You know, same thing. Would like Will Smith in his last movie bright.

He was a cop. He had a sick, ugly cop mustache with a high, ugly fade. You know, some people were like, oh, the fade is terrible. It wasn't meant to look like average Joe. Right to me, exactly. I really appreciate you understanding. Like creating a character and people don't realize when they watch a film. This is what makes everything believable and if subtle thing, you know what I'm saying, like when we watch Malcolm X, we weren't looking at Denzel Washington. You know what I mean, like you really felt like you were watching nowt. It was Malcolm and exactly the sandy brown hair, like everything. Yeah, and you don't people, normal people wouldn't notice it until it's not right. If you did a movie in the S and it was all cheap wigs and then they all look like wigs, you do. I on a hair was terrible and hair was it like that back then. You know what I mean. So it's really a job, you know, right, and they definitely have throught it into context because I'm sure that, like you said, Barber's that work in the barbershop environment every day a lot of times, well, really the majority of the time, they're working as an individual and they're only answering to their client, but they're not answering to a team of people that are creating this vision or this visual that has to not only look the part, but it's a part of the character to draw people in emotionally and make me believe that it's right. And you talked about Malcolm X or even Jamie Foxx in ray like. You couldn't tell that it wasn't Ray Charles. Yeah, but here in the haircut was something that was signature Ray Charles that had to be achieved. So it makes right, perfect and it and it and it helps the answers who create the character, you know what I mean. If he feels like the character, if he looks like the character, you know, then they can make that Eric to come to life. You know what I mean, exactly, like and Dream Girls Eddie, when he had the little like...

...pompadoor. That was a wig that I did like it it brought him to life, you know, just like everything is, hair, makeup, wardrobe. When he did nutty professor, you know, the fat suit, the makeup, the prosthetics, the hair, all of a sudden he became professor Klump, like right in front of my eyes. You know what I mean? Let's talk about that, because Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence are my two favorite comedians of all time. Like, I absolutely love them and I love the fact that they just do everything character acting, standup Comedians, and they're not afraid to push it. So you have worked with Mr Murphy on countless films are do you have any like funniest moments with him on set? I'm sure he probably kept you laughing most of the time, but yeah, we stay laughing. Do you have any moments that stood out or anything like as far as because I'm sure, like you said, with the hair with dream girls, Jimmy early, that was a character right there and yeah, right, feel like that transformation as soon as that hair was completely like yeah, I look like Jimmy early right now. I mean it's it's like almost amazing and like Improv you know, Eddie is like the Improv king and I swear once the makeup, you know, the wardrobe, and we put that hair on him. It's like he instantly in the chair turns into that character and he's like talking to you in that character, but you know it's Eddie. Is just it's weird, you know what I mean, and it'll be pulling around and making jokes. Me Like, wait a minute, this is Eddie. You know, it's crazy. EEN, even Mr Church, I don't know if you saw him, the church, but and every time it's a challenge because with black hair and this industry, there's not many people to look up to or to show you the way. So a lot of times I'm envisioning this stuff in my mind and going home and figuring it, figuring out how to do it. Like I had to recreate it's on my instagram. Is Way down the line, but I had to recreate the character from root.

Root said had came out and the guy had shaved his hair off. They needed his hair back on his head and naughty and it had to match what they already shot. Wow. So I had to I had to figure out how to make these knots and how to make it realistic, and I literally spent hours hand rolling these not and for the job, placing them strategically on his head and building his hairline every day. And it started off as an eighthour process and then I got an assistant. We turned it into four hours and by the end of the shoot it was taken us three hours a day just to do his hair. Wow, you know what I mean. So it's all the process, Mr Church, I had to age him. His hair had to look like it was receding, it had to be gray, it had to be thinned, you know. So he went through all these stages in the movie, you know, and I'm just grateful that, like these directors and producers, my name now is oh, go to stacy, she can get it done. And sometimes it's something I've never done before and I'm like yeah, you like I probably I'm got to figure out. What were some of those moments where someone contacted you and you were like, okay, I need to call on all the powers that be on this one to figure it out. That roots project. Yeah, that was that was challenging. It was really challenging, but I figured it out and a lot of it was happy accident. I did a test on my own, you know. I got a client. I said do you mind doing this? I put the knots on his head. I said, okay, this looks pretty good. Now I know at least what method I'm going to use, but now I have to make it look real. And when I wash it out of his head, I had clogged my sink up because I didn't want, you know, the knots to go down the sink and flog up the drain. So when I was done, I scoop them out to sink and I just put them on a paper towel to the side and the next day they looked real because the water had made them kind of fray and spread and...

I said this is my method. I make the not I spread them out. I went him down with us, you know, spray bottles, let them pray to wear our hair. Would you know, even for women, if we go out in the rain, it's going to up up exactly. And they puffed up perfectly and I said all I need to do now is make different sizes because when you roll your hair up is not, you know, it's not all the same in exact size or pattern. And so I did it in my friend comrade, who does here. He Does Fox a lot. I said, Hey, I'm going to need you to help me with this job. And I said and in preparation I need not I need ziplock bags full of not but I know I had to do this every day and it was no time to do it. And so we literally spread out on my living room floor and we're rolling up, not so our fingers will roll. My kids, who are helping me roll up, not see. And this is what I love about just these conversations, because people don't understand the work that goes behind it. A lot of times, especially with social media, they see the highlight reel, they see looks, celebrity client sitting in the chair and they're thinking, oh, say so out here, you know, just being glamorous all day, and they don't know that you were sitting there, you know, Indian style, rolling, you know, right, see, you know what I mean, and then in fact, that you had to come up with this technique. Yeah, and a lot of times it's not just hair like. I don't just do hair like. I'm right now I'm reading two scripts. They're not the final script. So I'll be reading the final scripts again and there's a way that we have to break them down because everything has to match and it has to be continuity and, you know, we have to make sure our department heads know what direction we're going and it's surprised. We need and you know, it's a lot of paperwork and other stuff outside of actually performing, you know, the look right. So it's more than just hair. This business is like it takes a minute to like understand how everything works and how everything revolves. You know,...

...a lot of times I might get to work and they've only a lot of me thirty minutes to do Anthony cut color style, which anybody knows, that's a limited amount of time. Yeah, liked color and style thirty minutes, so that's provided. That's provided that he comes to work on time. You know what I'm saying? That it was just last week. We just shot our last episode. They scheduled, for example, anthony was six thirty, marcus and I had to color him that day as well. Marcus was at seven, miles was at seven fifteen and I had another one at thirty. So I had to do fifteen minute haircuts, and this is not like I had just cut them two days ago. We're coming off of a hiatus, you know, and that's it. And if I'm not on time, it's a trickle effect. They're not in the makeup chair on time, they're not in their wardrobe going time, they're not at rehearsal on time and they haven't started shooting on time. So at the end of the day, all that, you know, pushback ends up piling up on the end could turn into an hour. Two hours behind, sounds like nothing. Well, it is when you're paying five hundred P two hours over time, you know what I mean. And it always falls on hair and makeup, no matter what. And let it not be in situation in where you're shooting outside and you have to worry about daylight and they yeah, I mean you know they're running out a time. Hurry up, yeah, exactly. Know, it gets it gets intense. But being that, something you said earlier really struck accord with me. You said that because you are at the forefront of this, there aren't a lot of people for you to look to that have done, you know, certain things or certain techniques before, and you're having to create these. What are some what some advice that you would give to hair stylists or barber's or just creatives in general who want to get into this side of the...

...business that you're currently in, because you are not just surviving, you are thriving in this business and working on, you know, top Tier Project. So what advice would you give for those listening that are like you know what I want to I want to be stacy cuts, and they're looking at you as the inspiration. My advice is never limit yourself. You know what I mean, because if I limited myself to what was available to me as far as learning and experience, I would be just there. You know what I mean. But I step I stepped out of my comfort zone. So that's the other piece of advice. Leave Your Comfort Zone. That's the only way that you're going to, you know, the explore and find your creativity. You can't be creative if you're just doing the same thing that you're comfortable with. So, and I always do it, I step out of my comfort zone and I realize I can do something else. You know what I mean. Like I mean, I'm an artist all the way around. I never knew I could paint until one day I said, you know what, I'm gonna try to do a painting and I'm paid. I painted something incredible, but I still I stepped out of my comfort zone. I had never painted before, so if I didn't I was like, Oh, I don't paint, I don't know anything about painting and I don't know how to do it properly, and I never tried it, I would never find that creative side of me. You know what I mean? So step out of your comfort zone and never you're never limit yourself. That's my advice. I love that. And so a lot of times, like you said, when you're working with celebrities for a particular movie or show, a lot of times the general public may or may not know they're filming something and they may have to grow out their hair or do something different that's not traditionally how they look because they are in production, for instance. They're like, oh, they fell off right for it is crazy. It is happened a few two other times recently, like I remember with Michael B Jordan. He's usually he usually has a...

...very classic low cut, but his hair started growing out and he had like the twist at this top. People are like, what is is he going through a phase? Like, what's happening? And a lot of people didn't realize he was in the midst of Black Panther. so He's having it. That was that was a Fox with the last what was the movie he did? The slave film, Jammy Dango. Oh, yes, the JANGO. Yes, oh, man, his hair and there, oh my goodness, yes, yes, it was walking around looking crazy, absolutely crazy. That's that's too funny. And and you know, a lot of times the general public they do assume that a movie is being filmed. But it's like when you mix in these gossip blogs, they like to take images and make it seem like something else just because they want those views. But that's, yeah, always, and people believe that stuff. That cracks me up. Yeah, so interesting. So do you ever have those moments where clients are like, okay, Stacy, I know I'm growing my hair out for this role, or I know I'm wearing this look at people don't really recognize me for like what are some ways that we can kind of make this work while I'm in the public or is it just, you know what, let me throw on a hat when I need to and keep it moving? Do you ever have the moments where the art, where the client is like, okay, so, what are we going to do? Because this is not how I like to look normally, but I understand this for the role. Yeah, I think it's harder for me than them. Yeah, man, I just want to, you know, clean you up and make you look right. But most actors, pretty much most of them, you know, become like method actors. So they go all the way like they're going to play a part. They go all the way in it and maybe their back character, in this soul all day long, you know, I mean right, like the hair, they like whatever, you know. But people, I think I catch more flak for us. Or Jamie, he looks crazy. Are So you know, and you're like no, he doesn't, not for real.

So my producer Big Med, he had a question. He asked about clients falling asleep in your chair. Does that ever happen, especially with these early call times, where they're just knocked out while you're trying to work? Anthony's always sleep. He's tired, he's working. Oh my gosh, so much. I feel for him. Yeah, completely sleep. I'm bobbing and weaving with his head. But you know, they trust me that much that it's like, okay, I'm going to sit down and I'm going to catch a nap because I know I'm taking care of right on them. He's not going to make me today. We're good. Yeah, that. And what is a typical day like for you when you're working, for instance, because I know you do obviously film and Television. So what are some maybe similarities, are even differences when you're working on those types of projects between like TV and film? Well, I'm pretty much like made my own little unwritten, you know, understanding in the business because I'm so all over the place. I don't really sit on set anymore, you know, watching the set, watching hair, watching paint dry. Right, I'm no good at that. I always have like so many different, you know, calls and things that I have to fill at. I'm all over the place, but people are cool, like if they get their cut and the taken care of, you know I'm gone. But there are times when I'm doing here or dealing with hair that has the necessity for me to stay, especially if it's like a wig or you know what I'm saying, the hair moves or something like that. But a typical day for me is crazy, and I'm saying all included, like kids, personal life, said, hopping, you know, private maybe celebrity clients. I need, how I have to do house calls and I'm all over the place. When I sit down finally, you know, at night, after my kids go to school, then it's I mean go to bed. Then it's like, okay, what did I miss? Like...

I told you earlier, I sit down and literally have to sift through text messages, emails. You know, sometimes I miss jobs like because I don't have time to just be looking at my phone all the time. I don't have time to post all the time. I post as much as I can, but there's so much stuff that I don't post because I just don't have time to be fumbling around with social media. You know. I mean, right, is it hard finding reliable sits assistance? Because I hear that from most industries, just like good work can be hard to find. Sometimes it or, yeah, resting people to bring them into this world, because the entertainment industry is not like a lot of other industries, and the celebrities especially, that you work with have these close relationships with you and these comfort levels with you where they can sleep in the chair. But then bringing it in a distance sometimes. I know that dynamic. You have to kind of test it out to see, yeah, and for them to be comfortable right? Yeah, I pretty much have a pretty tight team and most of my very close clients. They understand the demand and they comfortable as long as I make sure they're taken care of and they comfortable with the people that I use. Conrad Hilton, I use him all the time. Pierce Austin, he does primarily will, because will travels a lot now and I can't really leave here because I have so many, you know, obligations to shows and stuff like that. So I do will mostly on his downtime or stuff that he's doing in town, you know, so when I can, we just basically keep it keep them at home so that they don't have to go outside of us and we try to make our service seamless, you know what I mean. The bottom line is they want to look the way they want to look and as long as it gets achieved, they're okay. You know what I mean. And most of my clients their long, long relationships. You know, I've been with Anthony since he came out of college, you know, so...

...that's like a twenty year relationship. You know, I've been with will since fresh print. You know, I worked with Martin since, you know, the Martin Show I've been with Eddie since I was like twenty two, I think, or something like that, so they understand, and they have kids too, so they understand. Like you're juggling, you're making it happen, like you your presence with your family. You know, you just have to make time to make everything happen. But I make sure they comfortable with the people that I use, and I've noticed that my circle is getting a little bigger, like I've had to reach out to other people and kind of, you know, make them hone into how it works over here and teaching the rope, you know, to make sure that my client is comfortable with everything, not just the service but their for sauna and that personality in their energy and, you know, all that kind of stuff. That's a major blessing, though, the fact that you are able to now expand on your knowledge with other people and teach, you know, other people how this game goes, because, as I introduced you, you are a legend. Like you are legend. You work with legends and your passion, even through this interview, shines through and just your knowledge of the industry, your creativity and the constant pushing of yourself. That's why you're like one of my favorite instagrams to follow because when you do post, you post like a really great content and it just shows, like the the passion in your work really shows and shines through. And it's so funny because while I'm listening to you talk and you're like yeah, well, you know will, we're cool, like that's, you know, the Homie will. I'm like, for those listening, you know, it's will smith that she's talking about, like everyone's baby's instagram account. He just got on and had like ten million followers in two weeks and killing it. So she's like casually like a k you know, will, you know I've been cutting them, Martin, you know, Anthony, you know, like they're just, you know, my my peeps. No, but I love it. It really after a while. I mean you still...

...maintain the you know, client relationship, but it's really like family. Yeah, be honest with your week we watched each other. None of us had kids back in the day, you know what I mean, and now we all have kids and where we can share familiar stories. It's like extended family, you know, absolutely, and I don't think you can get more personal than someone that has their hands on your head for hours, right, you know, really intimate face. Right, exactly will stacy cuts? You know we are super fans of yours here at the cut life and we will continue following your greatness. I feel like you could have like some type of book or something, because you don't really love a book coming out. Oh yes, so you're going to come back on the podcast and talk to us about this book. Right, you give us any insight on what it's going to be? We're gonna WE'RE gonna save it because it's not what anyone would expect. They would think, oh, stacy's gonna write a book, Let's learn about her journey or let's learn some instructional thing about something or something about the industry, or maybe, you know, she'll give away some sit of a secrets or tell some you know, private stories of you know, reveal something and it's like it's has nothing to do with that. You know what I'm saying. So it'll be interesting when it comes out. I'm definitely want to talk about it because you would never guess what this book is about. I'm intrigued because when you started the interview talking about your father, replace Benny Redina at Warner brothers, I was like, wait a minute, hold on, like she just dropped the gym right there, like what's going on here? I had no clue. So yeah, I'm excited to hear what that's about. Any time you want to come back on the PODCAST, you're more than welcome and we'll continue to support in any way. We'll have to do some more collaborative things. And you're based in La Right. So yeah, yeah, I mean I'm in Atlanta, but hopefully when I get out to la...

I visit there often. We'll have to link in. Maybe I have to just bring you lunch, because I feel like saying let's meet for lunch might be in challenge, but I'll say stay. So where do you like to eat? I'll bring it to you. Thank you, I appreciate it. You're welcome. Thank you all right. We'll talk soon. Thank you for listening to the Cutlife podcast again, this is your host to hear a joy. You can follow us on ig at the cut life. You can also follow me to hear a joy at Tahira Joy. Follow my Homie, producer right hand everything, big MEDB IG MED, on instagram as well, and just go to Soundcloud, itunes live the cut lifecom, you can listen to all of the episodes. Trust me, your favorite celebrity stylists are on there. So to check US out now.

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