Deconstructing Tresses - Hair Architect and Celebrity Hairstylist Keith Campbell Part I
I was so delighted to have had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Keith Campbell AKA the Hair Architect, talking to Keith felt more like talking to a big brother or an old friend, than someone I’d never met personally. He’s not only incredibly talented but smart, charismatic, focused and beyond driven.
You hear these stories about people that have “made it” and sometimes you wonder if it’s true or some great story the artist’s PR team cooked up to make a great read. Though Mr. Campbell’s arrival to New York city does sound like a made for TV story, you just know that he’s really been through some things and triumphed over some adversities because despite his unquestionable talent and confidence he never comes off as cocky or self absorbed true to his Twitter bio he’s “Just a dude that loves the beauty game”
Keith proved that when he ditched his Midwestern roots after a only a weekend visit to the Big Apple. “…traveling through the Lincoln Tunnel for the first time, I don’t know what it was, but I knew I was home, I knew I had to get back there.”
Get back there is exactly what he did, within three months, Keith had settled his life back home and landed in New York City on a Friday afternoon with only $250.00 in his pocket and a job referral that would have to wait until Tuesday when the salons opened.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?
Keith Campbell: I’ve been in the industry for 16 years.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to be a hair stylist?
Keith Campbell: My daughter’s mom comes from a family of hairstylists and I used to hang out with them all the time, I was very fascinated by what they did.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! 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 other hair stylist?
Keith Campbell: I’m a visual person so if you show me something once, I’m able to pick up on it just like that, so after taking a Toni and Guy class I bought all of their hair cutting dvds and practiced and studied the technical process of hair cutting.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What was your first big break?
Keith Campbell: My first big break in the editorial world was when Sandra Martin (Essence Magazine) called me and told me to bring a model and do her hair for her.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! 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?
Keith Campbell: It would have to be hair cutting.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! I get it, hence the name “Hair Architect”, tell our readers Keith, what’s a typical working day like for you?
Keith Campbell: Depending on whether or not I’m going straight to the salon or if I have a shoot a typical day could start at 6:00 a.m., I’ll pray/meditate and spend some time with my son (14 months old) before heading to the gym, if I need to be on set the day could start as early as 5:30 a.m. We have salon meetings on Mondays sometimes I’m meeting with my production team, or agents regarding other meetings for teaching or speaking engagements or inventory or other stuff like that.
This was a really long interview and I have so much more of my conversation with Keith that I want to share with you so stay tuned for Part II to find out more about his cutting classes, television show, books and why he feels that paying your dues is a must and why you will need to be more than just a fantastic stylist to achieve career longevity in addition to what it takes to land a gig with a mega beauty brand like L'Oréal.
Ciao for now…Class is dismissed!