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Many times, the people that work behind the scenes making the scene rarely get recognized for their work. SociaLifeChicago will spotlight the amazing people that make you, your organization and your event look great.
With a resume that includes the covers of VOGUE, ELLE, GLAMOUR and many other national magazines, 2 time Emmy Award winning Hair Stylist Kiyah Wright has made a name for herself and talent behind the scene. She has worked with clients such as Gabrielle Union, Ciara, Tyra Banks, Brandy, Lydia Hearst, Kerry Washington and many more.
Kiyah Wright was recently in Chicago and SociaLifeChicago had the opportunity to speak with her on her work behind the scene.
Was Hairstyling something you started off wanting to do?
I actually began doing hair at 13 in our living room. Hair was the only thing I knew and it was my passion.What I try to focus on is finding my niche, once you find your niche you can hone in on it to become successful. Niche is finding an area/field in styling(or any other job) that you are very good at.
Once I found my niche, I am doing my part to give back and pay it forward by inspiring upcoming stylists to find their niche and what makes them passionate.
How hard was it to break in to the high profile celebrity clientele base?
Early on I met Sean “Diddy” Combs and he was my entry into the entertainment industry. I met Diddy my third year really working in the industry and he said he wanted his artists’ hairstyles to look just like mine. At the time, Mary J. Blige was the first artist he managed and Faith Evans was the first female artist on his Bad Boy label and he connected me with those two ladies and that was the start of my career. From there I toured with Bad Boy Records, toured with Lil Kim, Total, Mary J Blige and Faith, that was such a great experience for me.
What advice has someone given you that has helped your career?
Puffy told me early on to stay focused and not get wrapped up in the world of celebrity. At the end of the day, a celebrity is disposable. It’s all about who’s next and who’s hot and you can be replaced within the snap of a finger. Stay focused on your own roles and goals. Through my experience I’ve also gained numerous advice along the way. Be on time for work and ready to step up to the plate with creativity and new looks.
Stay out of the way, you should be seen and not heard.
How do you keep up with trends?
I am constantly growing as a stylist. I stay inspired and by working in entertainment, I do a lot of traveling and I am able to learn from the different parts of the world I have visited. Like China, Thailand,Japan, you learn their culture and hairstyles by paying attention and that inspires me to take that back to the States. When I visited to China the women were wearing the heavy swoop over bangs that were short in the back, like a modern Vidal Sassoon cut. I took it back to the States and re-imagined it on my clients. Traveling inspires and sets the tone for trends. I pay attention to trends in color, cutting, styling, everything.
I love to see the look on a woman’s face after a transforming makeover.
What advice can you give somone looking to follow your path?
My advice would be to find your niche! how can you be a great stylist and not know what you’re really good at? you can’t do it all so find one thing you’re good at and work hard to get better at that craft. Being passionate is really important, that’s when you do your best work. Know that you have to give 100% all the time even at times when you don’t feel like it.
Bring your A game, leave your drama at home. Always bring positive energy and light to the room, workplace, class or whatever your setting is.
Is there a goal you haven’t met yet that you want to conquer?
I have done covers for Elle, Vogue but my BIG goal now is to grow my product line. I love fashion and I love beauty and I want to bring those 2 worlds together and inspire young artists. You are paid and judged by how you look and presenting yourself is key. I want to be and build a major hair care brand.
Diddy was the catalyst for your career, how did you establish that relationship?
He was part of my inner circle during his Howard University days. He was impressed by my style at that time. But i’ve worked hard since then to build the clientele and relationships i’ve worked with over the years. I’m a big believer in always bringing positive light and surrounding yourself with positive people.
You can’t be intimidated by an artist because they are looking to you for your creative input.
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