The Cut Life Podcast
The Cut Life Podcast

Episode 21 · 11 months ago

Where are all the Black TV and Film Stylists with Mychael Michelle


We talked to master colorist, salon owner, and tv and film stylist about the lack of black stylists in tv and film. Also her amazing story from working the salons in Baltimore to now having her own shop and are there plans for a school?

Hi, I'm to hear a joy, founder of the cut life and you are tuned into the cut life podcast, where we talk all things short hair, hair stylist, celebrities and beauty news. Are you ready to cut up? I am extremely excited to have my girl, Michael Michelle, in the building. I affectionately call her Kel so, if you hear me say that, you got her name right there. But it's Michael Michelle and to give a quick little background, she is a master colors, a salon owner, she works as a TV and film stylist and she's also the CO owner of Copellie chicks and amazing hair extensions line. Welcome, Michael. Thank you so much for having me to hear. I really appreciate it. I'm super excited to be here with you today. I don't even know you had a podcast. This is a surprise. This is dull. I love it. Yes, I forget which number episode this is, but it's definitely over twenty, so we're at we took a hi, but we are back with new episodes. I'm glad to have you on. I guess we can call it the new season. Yes, this is so amazing. I'm excited to be here with you. I love it. I love it especially because I haven't seen you or talk to you in that long. So this is I was gonna say what I first met Michael. It was, I think it were introduced by Misshaw Nika, who's a radio personality in Atlanta, and you were just opening your salon here in Atlanta, but I still have the photos from your grant opening. So crazy. But now I'm glad that you're here. And So, before we get into all the juicy stuff about your life and what you have going on, I love to kind of search the net. I'm always on the ground looking for hot topics that relate to the beauty hair industry. So I found one. I wanted to read a quote that I found and then get your opinion on it. I thought it would be very fitting for you to chime in on this topic. Okay, okay, shoe, so, shadow and act talked about the lack of diversity for hair care in Hollywood. Has Been a concern for years with black talent who often find that stylists do not have the proper knowledge or tools to care for their crowns. And even actus storm read, who's on you for you said it feels dehumanizing, and we heard this conversation a lot. There's actually a friend of mine named made Okrah who is one of the founders of black beauty roster, and they're all about championing for black talent to work with. Yeah, you know black hair stilence and makeup artist. That understand. You know what we need to look and feel comfortable on camera. So, being that you are a TV and film stylist, Talk to me about your opinion on another last topic. Yes, and your you know, a black woman, so you get it. And Right now, I don't know if we can say where you are right now, but you're working with a black owned production company. Yeah, so, yeah, talk to me a bit about what you think about that and the lack of diversity that we sometimes find on set. Well, I think this is great that you're bringing awareness to it, because it's been a thing for a while. But what's so dope is I feel like it's changing because when I first got into the business about five years ago, because, like you said before, I Salat owner first, so I've had the saloon for seven years, so I was more so focused on that. So now that I've kind of transition over to being a TV and film stylist about five years ago. It was I felt like, and I'm sure my peers who's been in longer than me, but I'm just talking only speak for me. When I first got in I didn't really see too many people that look like me, and we see that. We noticed it as consumers watching TV at first, before I even got into it, that the hair styles just...

...don't they don't line up to what a black person would look like if she was a real person, you know what I mean, like theirs I was just didn't line up. But I definitely noticed a lot that I was probably one of the only ones that look like me on set. But fast forward five years now I am starting to see a lot of us there, so that makes me excited that I'm not always the only one. But it has been an issue and it's still going on. I mean here, of course, in Atlanta, I feel like it's predominantly a lot of black people. They don't really have a choice, but in la it's way more. It's made more Caucasian people that are like dominating the film industry and I don't really know what that's about, but I can clearly see that what's happening now and US millennials and the ones that's coming after us, we're not having it. So we clearly Lett. We're definitely speaking out and making it a thing that we push our way in now. I love that. I love to hear that the talent are now feeling like they have a voice and are able to speak up because I'm sure because they like they didn't hear right. For many years it was just about booking the job and, yea, not ruffling any feathers to making sure that you continue to work. But it does become a thing when you're watching TV and you're like, now this girl has beautiful natural hair. Why I got the exactly good, exactly, and and it's the lace showing what happening? Yeah, what's happening. So I mean, we'll see. I don't know if you know, but I'm sure you do know, because although you're not in the film industry, you're still about that life, like you still in the entertainment industry and you don't realize that you can get black bought real quick. So, depending on which how you speak of, what you speak of. So I think that a lot of people was just afraid to speak about certain things because they didn't know if they was going to lose their job or if they probably wouldn't get called back. Like it's so easy to just knock get called back for and you don't even realize what happened or why not getting a call back. So, but I honestly feel like over time things are progressing where people are able to speak up just a little bit more. I mean me being new, because I'm still I'm still kind of new, me being only five years I still kind of consider new as certain stuff that I'm afraid to say or not say, because you just never know what's going to happen. But at the same time I am very vocal so that you know I feel like you know, it's certain situations if I if I don't fit or if I feel uncomfortable, I just won't place myself there right and I mean you spoke to a point earlier, that being that we both live in Atlanta or in the Atlanta Metro area, however people want to categorize it. Yeah, you know, one thing's for sure that we are blessed to have a lot more black talent and talent of color behind the scenes then you may see in Hollywood and, you know, some other spaces and it just seems like a no brainer. It's like, how do you solve the issue? You hire more black talent and even providing, you know, some of these, you know, unions and agencies, providing the education and information that people need to know, because I think there is a plethora of talent out there, but they might not know, like how do I get into the union? How do I am get in touch with production companies to even get a foray into there? Or how do a person that's already in position bring other people bul you know, in as well? Exactly, that's a part of it too, just kind of it is lacking that education and information to even know how to break in. But clearly they're still not enough of us, because we still, it's not mishaps, and we still exactly. But you know what, let me tell you something's hard. I push my way in because, girl, you wasn't keeping me out because, like, one thing about me. I moved here from Baltimore at twenty three, and when I say I'm gonna do something, when God placed it in my heart, I know for sure, especially when it's so loud,...

I go for it. Like you cannot tell me. No, no man can tell me. Know what God told me. Yes, so I push my way in and, just like you just now said, I it's a lot of African American that don't know how to get in. It's because they kind of keep it a secret. I don't know why, but I kind of have an idea why. They feel like all of the jobs are going to be taken, but we they don't realize this. Look what just now happened with covid everything was shut down right so when everything reopened, there was not enough hair stylens to even fill the jobs, because they don't want to hire you and left you're not union. Now, when I found out what the Union meant, it's more so like a brother and sisterhood. So give the jobs to the Union folks first, because they're the ones that pay their dues, they put all the work in, so of course it makes sense to give the jobs to them first. But what happens when all of the jobs, when all of the Union people are booked? Were more hair stilence to fill the position, and that's exactly what's happening now. They are have to hey, you have to hire people who are non union because there's not enough there. Everybody's booked already. All that give you. People are booked and they can't even find people to field the positions, and when they find people to fill the positions, they're not educated enough. So it's like, yes, like that gap between like the opportunity and then the training because, as you know, have being worked in all facets of hair. You know that how you manage your salon and you're scheduling there and the results that you're giving to your client, that setting the everyday woman, yeah, can be completely different for what you're expected to give for TV and film, and you're talking about things like continuity. You have to be that stuff is important. It's important and not understand why they are so they stress about what I said, like choosing their brothers and sensance that are seven hundred and ninety eight. There a in the union because, like in they're paid the dudes and they know what's happening. But my thing is I do feel like there is should be a time where I don't know when this is going to ever happen, but it needs to be something where they allow people to come in do training, people who actually be an industry for us so long. I don't know how they would do it, but figure out some kind of way where they can actually train new people to come in, because there's so many productions and not enough hair stylus right. So, but that all that stuff is important. Yes, that point is well taken and I will say you know, we may not know the immediate answers, but again I'm going to point to my homegirls company, Black Beauty Rostercom, and I think that stylists makeup artist Wardrobe stylist. You know, of colors just registered there. This is not even a sponsored thing. I'm just giving the information because what they do is awesome and they're helping to like bridge gaps and provide resources to people who do that's the want to work as creatives within the entertainment industry. So yes, check out black pe do rostercom, and I love that you bought your way in and yes, girl, continue. It's a thrive. So let's go make Caille Michelle, overall and everything that you have had going on, because obviously you know, you are a salon owner, master color is you're known for your trademark pink hair. Yes, about that. How did the trademark pink care come about because you have been loyal to it for years, and it's like how I identify you really, like I know this her, I know it's kills when I see that pink hair. Yep. Well, when I first moved here when I was twenty three, and so crazy that I've been here e loving years for it's right, I cannot believe it. So I met you eight years ago. Yeah, eight years ago was when I met you. So when I first came here, I was like a we've specialist, right, and everybody in Atlanta already did wings and everybody look the same. You know what's the Hall of the Weave? Yeah, it was... the home of the weeds. You know what? They had two girls, that like the two needles and the girl or something like that. Yeah, fifty dollar we've shop. Everybody did weaves and everybody just looked alike and I was trying to figure out how can this little girl from Baltimore come down here and make some noise and stand out? So I worked at a salon, and I'm not going to say this Alon, but I worked at a salon and honestly, that salon owner actually influenced me to change my hair color. Now everybody at the salon which changing their hair blond. I am not a person who follow trends. I've ever been a person who follow people just because I just don't. So they was like yea, you gotta Change Your Hair Blonde to and I was like no, not, no, I'm not. You gotta remember I was ratchet when I first came here because I still had that bottom more mentality. So I was literally you say something, I do you edge all your edge. So they was all changing in hair blond and she was like, you know what, you should change your hair bubble gum paint, and I was like he right, I should. But when I changed it bubble gum paint, it was not fitting for me at all. You know, being a color as the certain tone of the color has to go with your skin tone. and honestly, I was given like baby shower pink at it. It was given like wash me out, like yeah, it's just I'm too chocolate for that. Like, and I honestly believe that people don't know that you can put you can wear any hair color, any skins. One person can wear any hair color. It just depends on the tone of the color. Right share of it. So I played with that bubble gum pain I was trying to like. It wasn't for me, so I went back black. And then it was a mistake. I want to pick it up this one color, put it on my hair and I was like what, I like this, and I actually like loved it, but now it was like more lacking. Yeah, color, yeah, it was like going to future, like but it had this you know, purple tone in it and it kind of like balanced out with my skin color. So I loved it, but I still was like afraid of it. So I went back black again, but then I was like, you know what, I need to keep this because I need to stand out. And I kept it and it just grew on me and now it's like a part of my life, like I would never wear another color, and I love that. Even though you get to a signature color, you switch up your style. So I always so great. I might see you a different things of hair, but it's always going to be pink, but it's going to be like always gonna be different looks. I always been. I never change it, like literally, I swear to you, I'm not even lying. I could be anywhere in the world and somebody knows knows me, like anywhere, and I'm like, that is so. It's Chris, Super Bizarre, like literally, I could be anywhere. I have been to out of a country and it'll like you're the girl to Pek Hare and it's it's crazy. So, honestly, I feel like the pink are trying to change my life. It like maybe me who I am for Real, and it created other opportunities because exactly only are you as all one owner and master colors, but you also provide education with your color me sickening tour and these are your and I know that it's been kind of crazy due to the pandemic it we're not able to do as many in person things as you were before, but I thought that was so I thought that was just genius of you, honestly, because of like she's known for her hair color and it just makes sense to do a tour teaching hair color education. So you can talk to me about that, like is that something that's going to take up against? That's actually something that I'm actually working on, and you're the first person who I'm telling US too, but I'm actually that. So this is exclusive information. I'm working on a cosmatology school right now. Oh Yes, the hair rock cafe after seven years, and I have not spoken that either. I haven't even put it on my instagram. Wow, after seven years. I shut the hair...

...rock cafe down last year and I just felt like God was telling me, if you don't let this go, I'm not going to be able to take you to your next level. And a lot of times we don't listen to him and then we get a spank on the butt, you know. And when it's loud, you have to listen, and I felt like it was so loud. So last year so many things happened. I tore my ACO PCO am and skin. I remember that. It was crazy. It was crazy, like I'm gonna come back, Queen Man, like I crawled myself to come back Queen, I swear, like so many things always happening, but I always bounce back. But round that time I had covid, my tour everything in my leg and I was just like on the couch like what the heck is happening with my life? And then I was like literally like talking to God. He was so loud. He was like, look, I don't know if you trust me, but you need to trust me close this sal on down. I'm like that's my baby. I had, that's the ones I was twenty three years right, like what you know? Like I had that'Salong for a whole year before I even got in there. People don't know that either. Like I say, it's all of my money to get that saloon and didn't, wasn't able to open it in spot. Turn twenty four, wow, because I had no money to furnish it. So I just had a building just pan on it. So I closed it down and girl was a bank walk right here. I'm getting goosebumps going. We're real. So when I closed it down, I was just like Oh my God, like that was my main source of income, you know what I mean? I wasn't full time and film. So although I've been working in film for five years, it's more so just been dipping and dad and it wasn't like consistent. So, honestly, last year, wait, Damn, we skip. Two Thousand and twenty is when cold hit, right, Yep, okay, so we just skip the whole year. Two Thousand and twenty is when I tore everything and closed it down. Yeah, I didn't forgot about two thousand and twenty. Okay, so that's when it all happened. Last year was the first year that I was completely full time and working in TV and film, so that's where majority of my income come from. So I was like, okay, cool, like Lord, what's next? Open cousintology school. I am going to open a really big a Vada, but it's going to be mine, and then your students can join the cut life university for some more continued education. We can up and yeah, sponsor classes. Hello, I'm down for all of that because, yes, already know it's going to be amazing. I legit. went to a Veda. I graduated from Aveda and a Veda is one of the top. It's like going to Harvard for hair school and I've seen some duds and don'ts. What I want in my school and what I don't want, and what I've noticed in costology schools is they really only teach it to their minimum. You know what I'm saying, just to graduate. But when most students graduate they don't know what's next. They don't know that it's so many different avenues and cosmology. They you don't have to just work behind a chair. Right. Everybody not going to be a celebrity hair stylist right now. What I'm saying. So it's like what of an avenue. So in my school, you know how you go to a high school and they have different trades, like you can do construction, you can do all of these things. My school will be like that for cousintologists. I love it. Yeah, I love it given and it makes sense that you're going to spearhead that because you've experienced all the past. Exactly give them the guidess at they need. Bringing other educators is going to be amazing. I just want to be amazing. Thank you, and I really believe in it and I know it's going to happen. I'm not in a rush to do it, but right now it's just all about planning it out and working on my time and working on God's time. Well, listen, that's a long term brand extension, but it is, I idiot brand extension that you have popping right now that people can't support right now, is Cappelli chicks. In my saying correctly, yes, you are, sir. Pelli means cappelli means hair and Italian, so technically your hair check.

Everybody loves bundles. Everybody loves hair, so CAPELLI means hair. I love it. I love it. And Tell me how you you thought to get this together and you have a partner in this is well, right, yeah, so, you know what's so dope and everything I do is a story and it's always like intentional. Right. So my business partner, she's actually one of my old bosses since I she owned a Salon in Baltimore. So she's in Baltimore since she had the salon every since, I think by like twelve years now. So I started working with her when I was nineteen years old and I gave her hell. Okay, I gave her hell. I told you. I was so right it when I was younger and I just always want to do what I wanted to do. But she was so patient with me and she just was like so always, so sweet, and she just put up with my ball crab and we just literally had like this long history of amazingness and we're friends now. So fast forward the three years ago is when we start a Capelli chicks and this year I feel like it's our beast year, like when I say BC here. I feel like this is the year that is really gonna listen, I see the PROMOS. Okay, thank you. I'm like, okay, you're getting it going. I love this and it just makes sense because you know what hair is, good hair exactly. You're not going to stare exactly, and I know everybody has a hair company, but you know what, I honestly feel like this is an it's brought inspirational moment for anybody who's watching this right now. There's five katrillion cars right there's five quatrillion different types of shirts. There's fine for trillion different type of pants. Everybody sells everything. necess is how it's going to be. But my thing is it's all about what you put on. Your spend one in your taste. Like nobody is you and you should not not start something just because it's so many people doing it, you know what I mean? So like, whatever God has for you and your heart and he's telling you to start your own hair company or your own clothing line, do it. Listen, there's a million podcast but it is that exactly one knows exactly we're gonna put our own exactly. I love it. Well, I know that you are actually technically still at work now and you're doing your thing. I'm just so glad that you took the time to be on the PODCAST. You know I'm extremely proud of you and always man of everything that you do. Thank you. Shout out your instagram real quick so that everyone listening can't follow, and you know we'll be tagging it everywhere anyway. Thank you. What my instagram is Kels ATL STYLIST'S KLL Z ATL stylist, and you can find Capelli chicks. was that Instagram, but I really just want to say I thank you so much to her, because you do not know what you just sparked something inside of me, because I haven't really been social media much, you notice. Not Normally used to be like social media queen, always on their doing everything, but I kind of just been behind the scene. So this kind of really just like did something. So I thank you for that. You've always been that, though. You've always been that for me, like inviting me to stuff in like pushing me to do stuff. So I really I appreciate you always giving me a platform and see you on the get me emotional. I really have, and I remember that, like I just feel like you legit since all of these years, you always think about how you can include me in some kind of way, and that's not to make me cry, because you haven't forgot about me, and that, like I'm that's stuff. Thank you, man, don't do that. You know I love you down you have been like a real one, honestly, since day one. Never switched up, never change, and I know you've had like some battles that I shared with us, you know, on social media. What the heck? I know even those moments that you've shared on social media aren't even the full picture of everything that you went through. But...'re still here, you're still standing, you're still flourishing and I love that. You're still giving God the glory. And Yeah, you're touching somebody else that's listening that was on the fence about an idea or unsure if they had enough. You know, don't stop out and make it so. You're inspiring me just the same way and, you know, making me feel like, okay, if Kl's went through what she went through, when she's saying still thriving, then I can do it too, and that's what this is all about. Can it enquiring people to know that, you know, you can do whatever you want. You can and you just can't give up because you know you'll have lease you have, you'll have the devil seeking to you, or you just scrolling on instagram and you look at other people lives and trying to compare it with yours. But you can't do that. You cannot give up. You cannot allow the devil to take over you and stop you from what God is telling you, if you hear him even just a little bit, you have to keep going no matter what. Love You, I think. Love me to have a great time at work killing it and we will talk soon. You keep killing it. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for tuning into another episode of the Cutlife podcast. Make sure you check this out every Friday and for more information, visit us on the cut lifecom you can follow me on Instagram at to her joy and the cut life.

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