Outside of the office, I spend the majority of my time (and money) at the hair salon. The fact that I prefer professional styling over my own do-it-yourself skills is just one of the many reasons I have a standing bi-weekly appointment. As a black woman, the hair salon is a mecca for trends, gossip and, of course, drama.
When celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble decided to allow reality TV cameras inside her salon, the resultant show, "L.A. Hair," introduced viewers to a different and dynamic take on the world of hairstyling. "Tabatha's Salon Takeover," by comparison, unleashed Aussie stylist Tabatha Coffey's tell-it-like-it-is antics on clueless salon owners, while "Jerseylicious" seemed to be more about who had the best tan and not technique. "L.A. Hair" illustrates what really happens when you put a group of headstrong, talented and predominately African-American stylists in one salon and try to build a business and brand.
Kimble has established an impressive roster of celebrity clients, including Beyoncé, Shakira, Gabrielle Union and Mary J. Blige, thanks to her hard work and humility. But she admits that it's a constant battle to maintain the upper hand in her own salon.
"You can't control people. I talk with my stylists often and explain things because I'm not the type of person to go off the handle and get mad," Kimble told us. "I just believe in lessons."
Season 2 of "L.A. Hair" has been filled with many hard-hitting lessons. From manicurist Naja's explosive confrontations with Kimble's sister and salon manager Leah to stylist China losing her cool with Vivica A. Fox and taking it out on the actress' wig, I would think there would be plenty of openings at the West Hollywood salon. Even Kimble admitted that she was shocked by her employee's behavior.
"I think they have a false perception of what a celebrity stylist is," said Kimble. "They see the glamour, they look at me and think, 'Oh, she's worked with all these big name celebrities. She does this. She does that.' But I remain professional. I'm not a diva. I'm schlepping bags for god's sake!"
African-American salons are suffering throughout the country, especially in Los Angeles where it's more of a booth rental business, according to Kimble. "There's a lack of a corporate setting. Everybody's an independent operator. Our struggle is trying to get a sense of community back in the salons," she said.
The biggest lesson Kimble hopes to teach? "People talk and it's going to hurt your pocketbook at the end of the day. People that like your work will brag about it, too."
Watch the Season 2 finale of "L.A. Hair" tonight on WE TV at 9pm ET/PT.
Relive some of the salon drama:
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