Kenneth Darrell, stylist, “The Hair Guy” (kennethdarrell.com) and founder of Kenneth Darrell product line.
Year I obtained my license: 1986
Why I chose beauty: “In 1985, after spending several years as a Harley Davidson mechanic and motorcycle enthusiast, my girlfriend came into the shop one afternoon with a new cut and color—at very first glance, a light bulb went off. Not only was I blown away by how great she looked, I was so impressed with the positive and glowing effect it had on her, that it triggered me to want to learn more about the hair business. I sensed there was something more to the beauty industry than just a shampoo and a hair cut. So, I researched it; I read everything I could get my hands on surrounding the styling and cosmetology industry. I discovered the field was wide open; filled with women and creativity—the combination was doubly appealing.
“My initial visit to cosmetology school was a little shaky. When I pulled up on my Harley wearing leather and sporting a long ponytail, I think they thought I was set to rob the place. I felt like fish out of water and I looked like I didn’t belong, but once I found out how simple it was to get started, I jumped in.
“I’ll never forget the first time I rolled a perm. To say it was ‘bad’ is an absolute under statement. The scenario was like setting a severely agitated, wild cat loose on someone’s head!
“Thankfully, with practice, concentration and good teachings, the craft came quickly and I began to enjoy the rush that came from crafting a woman’s look! If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of making a woman feel good about the way she looks, you know there’s nothing better.
“This craft enables me to be creative, it’s therapeutic for my clients and offers instant gratification for the both of us.
“The transition from mechanic to hair stylist was easy. They’re both hands-on trades. It’s about taking something that’s broken and making it work to its full potential. The process of cutting, coloring or styling someone’s hair is to take a look under the hood—take a look at the person as a whole—to consider what makes up their character and emotions to reveal and complement their inner spirit. My slogan still remains, ‘Are you ready for a tune-up?’”