All That Blings is Crystal! - Celebrity Hairnista Crystal Oliver
I discovered Crystal Oliver (pictured below) on Twitter, after reading a tweet from La La Vasquez former MTV VJ and fiancée of pro basketball player Carmelo Anthony suggesting that we (fellow Twitters) should follow her hairstylist Crystal.
So of course I did, and was instantly smitten by her. Crystal’s obviously a very busy lady despite the demands of being a mom and tending to the tresses of her celebrity clientele, and hitting the books, she still finds the time to play resident hair expert to fellow Twitters, doling out advice on a variety of topics from hair weaves and relaxers to healthy hair care.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Crystal to find out what inspires her, what she feels has given her a competitive edge and why thinks education is paramount.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?
Crystal Oliver: I've been doing hair for almost ten years and I've been a Celebrity stylist for 5 years.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to be a hair stylist?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: I started out at a Los Angeles Performing Arts High School as a Dance major. I became a mom at 16 years old. So to me that meant it was time to stop playing around and get serious with my future plans. What started out to be a way to express my style and make a few bucks, became a passion of mine. I've been styling hair and developing my career ever since.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! Other than a cosmetology school have you had any additional training or education that you believe has helped you to stand out amongst the sea of hair stylist?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: After school I went to Sebastian seminars, Wella cutting classes, and I shadowed Kimberly Kimble for two years. Finishing cosmetology school is like completing high school. Yes, you can get an ok job after, but your options will be limited. It's important to continue education because this industry is ever changing and growing and it will pass you by if you don't update your skills.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! Are you a freelance stylist or do you work in a salon?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: I do it all, lol. I freelance by way of referrals from friends and clients. I work at a Salon in Los Angeles, and I'm in the works of joining an Agency, which manages Hair, Wardrobe, and Make-up Artist, I'm really excited about that.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! Would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: Some people tell me I'm somewhat of a perfectionist. I tend to stress myself out by being this way, but that’s what drives me to strive for excellence.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! So you're know for your perfected coifs, nice! Crystal, when was your first big break?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: I was 20 years old when I got the opportunity to braid Janet Jackson's hair. That was a dream come true for me. Who would have thought a girl from Compton would have had the chance to meet Janet Jackson, let alone to be able to braid her hair.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! Wow that’s amazing! So, what inspires your work?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: Any time I do a job, whether it’s for a photo shoot or a client looking to spice their look up, I tear out photos from magazines for inspiration. Photo tear sheets help the stylist, client, producer or photographer to finalize the look and vision for the image we are trying to accomplish. So if at any time you see a hot photo in a magazine, tear it out, save it, and recycle the rest.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about being a hairstylist, especially working with celebrities?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: One big misconception is that we are limited to doing hair of the same ethnicity. Well, to me, hair is hair. If a stylist is able to be skilled in styling one texture of hair then they can also learn to be skilled in styling every texture of hair. On a larger scale, producers and photographers need to see work that can appeal to a variety of audiences. So it’s important to show diversity in your portfolio.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! What advice do you have for the cosmetology students and the new stylists who are hoping to one day work with celebrities?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: Be patient, pay your dues, have follow through skills, be humble and keep chit-chat to minimum. Celebrity clients need to know that you can be trusted with their image as well as their personal space. It's ok to have fun and be easy going, but do as Big Mama said. " Only speak when spoken to." It sounds a little extreme, but practicing this will take you a long way. Hairstylists get a lot of perks and become popular, but never forget who the star is. If you do, then more than likely you may not get rehired. It’s best to start developing these habits with your devoted clients. Do not neglect them as they are the foundation to your of your business and they should not forgotten.
BEAUTY SCHOOLED! Lastly ,before we wrap up, Crystal do you do any type of mentoring or training classes?
CRYSTAL OLIVER: I have not given any classes or mentored anyone yet, but within the next year I will be doing seminars at cosmetology schools and salons. Also, hopefully I have helped someone with this interview.
Despite the fact that this Hairnista's destiny is as high as the farthest star her feet are planted firmly on the ground. You have to love that! Follow Crystal on her Twitter to find out when those seminars launch.
Ciao for now...Class is dismissed!