In the world of celebrity hair, it doesn't get much bigger thanBeyoncé—probably in any world for that matter.
For many hairstylists it would be a dream to work on that talented head of hair, but for Kim Kimble, it's a reality. And her road to getting there proves that there truly is no one way to success.
From humble beginnings as a third generation hairstylist to working with Mary J. Blige, Gabrielle Union, Oprah Winfreyand Whitney Houston to having her own reality show on WEtv, L.A. Hair, and working with Queen Bey, Kim has spent the last 20 years honing her craft to become one of the hardest working women in hair—and boy does she have a lot to show for it.
In her own words, she tells her story.
I'm from Chicago, Ill.,—Chitown. I was creative as a kid. I started making my own paper dolls and cutting magazines. I was into fashion and beauty and showing my creative side from the age of 2 or 3. Because my mom worked all the time, I was alone a lot but I want to say that I'm so glad for that because I knew at a young age what I wanted to do.
To be honest with you, though, I went to beauty college becuase I said that I was going to eventually work my way through fashion school by doing hair. I wanted to be a fashion designer, the next Patrick Kelly or Willi Smith. They were the hot designers at that time.
But after starting beauty college—well, let's just say that I never even made it to fashion school. I fell so in love with hair because of all of those hair shows. I realized that there's so much more that you can do besides just standing behind a chair.
When I was at my mom's salon, it wasn't as glamorous to me. I mean it was cool to see some of the hairstylists do their thing, but when I went to a hair show and I saw the platform artists up there flipping their scissors, cutting hair and doing all of this fantastic, creative hair stuff; I was just like, "I'm in."
It was also the response I would get from my clients when I'd do their hair and how happy they would be once they'd come bubbling out of the chair. It was such a great feeling, so I said, "You know what? This hair thing is probably going to work out for me, so I'm going to stick with that."
After I finished beauty college I was actually rejected a lot in the beginning as far as trying to assist in certain salons that I wanted to try and work in on 3rd Street in Los Angeles. They said, "We just don't see the potential," or "We don't want you." It was heartbreaking at the time being turned down. I just wanted to go work at a salon and learn their techniques.
It just made me more determined and hungrier though. But it was actually perfect because it really made me work harder to create my own niche instead of working up under someone else. I think that it really prepared me for what I'm doing now. Every time I'd go out and learn something, it would inspire me to go out and learn something else. "Let me go take more hair cutting classes; let me go out and take more coloring classes," I thought. Then I started creating my own extensions and I eventually built my clientele out of a barber shop.
I was afraid to cut men's hair, but that was the only clientele coming in there, and the owner would just throw men in my chair like. And they would be like, "No way. She doesn't look like she can cut hair." And he would say, "She could do it!" He believed in me.
I ended up building my clientele off of all the men who saw that I could do women's hair, and they started sending me their wives, moms, girlfriends or aunts. In about two years I had this large clientele. Those poor men...I kept trying to give them conditioning treatments and trying to relax their beards.
It was at that the barber shop, though, that I got the opportunity that changed my whole career.
A lot of the clientele that went to that barber shop were from West Angeles Church. That's how I found out about a play that was being headed by director Robert Townsend. They were doing a version of his film The Five Heartbeats, and I volunteered to do the hair. I never would have heard about the play if I wasn't at that barber shop. Robert's assistant made the mistake of giving me her phone number, and I would bug her about me doing hair for any of their future projects.
Eventually, I opened up my own salon, and one day Robert came into the salon with Halle Berry to ask me if I could do more fantasy types of hair. I told him how I had done a lot of fantasy hair competitions and that was it. He asked me to work on B*A*P*S. I didn't know that he was going to be bringing Halle Berry in with him though! My clients were freaking out!
That led me to working again with him on the TV movie Carmen: A Hip Hopera starring Beyoncé. This was back when Beyoncé's mom, Tina, was still doing her hair and making all of the clothes for Destiny's Child. But one day she asked me to look after the hair. More and more throughout the film I got to work with the singer. This eventually led me to getting to work with her on Austin Powers: Goldmember for her character, Foxxy Cleopatra.
It was around this time that Beyoncé was working on a lot of her own music and when the time came, she asked me to do the hair on her "Crazy in Love" music video.
And the rest is history.