Celebrity hairstylist, entrepreneur, mother and fitness guru, Hadiiya Barbel shows us that women can in fact do it all! Styling clients such as Ashanti and Eva Pigford, Hadiiya styles are the perfect accessory to make head turns and jaws drop with envy.
Clutch: What inspired you to become a hairstylist and how did you break into the business?
Styling is something that I’ve done since I was little and started playing with dolls. I would always try to find new hairstyles. When I was older, I went to school for fashion design and focused my studies on fashion art. My teachers would notice that in my sketches there was more emphasis on the hair than the clothes. That was a definite sign!
Breaking in to the celebrity styling business, I was able to work with some amazing hairstylists who continued to inspire me. I started doing photo shoots, which we call testings, and I started to build a portfolio. I always had an edge and people noticed that and I started to get booked for small jobs. Then someone referred me to an agency which helped me to get more work. I also had to do a lot of networking and self marketing. So I called up magazines asking for them to give me a chance and one of my first opportunities was working for Essence magazine.
Clutch: Who are some of the celebrities you’ve styled?
Iman, Star Jones, Angela Bassett, Ashanti, Fantasia, Mya, and Eva Pigford.
Clutch: What has been your most challenging project to date?
I was rushed in to work with a celebrity whose hairstylist never showed up. So the celebrity was frantic, not in a great mood, and because of the time constraint I wasn’t able to do what I really wanted to do. I got the job done but it was disappointing that I didn’t have the time to really style her the way I would like.
Clutch: Adding ‘entrepreneur’ along side your name, you currently own a salon called The Glamour Suite in New York—tell us about it.
Yes, I call it The Glamour Suite: Beauty Lounge. It’s not like your typical salon! It’s located in a loft suite, so it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. The mood is intimate, as if you were in your girlfriend’s living room hanging out. That’s what makes it special!
Clutch: You also carry the ultimate and most respected title of: Mother. How do you balance between styling personal clients, running a salon, and being Mommy?
This is a question that I get asked often. Not only am I mother and celebrity stylist, but I am also very much into fitness. The key to managing all of these things is 1) having a great support system and 2) time management. Everything is prioritized and set up by appointment, there is no such thing as “free time.” I start my morning at 5:00 a.m., if I wake up at 6:00 a.m. then I’m late. I have go for my run in the morning, come back home, get the kids ready for school, meet up with my trainer, and then I’m off to style hair. It’s very hectic, but if you have a great support system and time management then anything is possible. Something I also do is every week I do something for me, which gives me something to look forward to!
Clutch: I also hear that you’re coming out with your own line of wigs . . . fill us in!
I am coming out with a fashion collection of couture and ready-to-wear wigs. This also incorporates falls and pieces. The collection will be signature styles that I currently create for my clients, but with mass production everyone will be able to wear one of my signature pieces. I believe that hair is a fashion accessory!
Clutch: What are some common mistakes you see with African American women and hair care?
One of the biggest mistakes I see is women who get relaxers and weaves at the same time. In order for the weave to be supported, it’s best to keep the hair in its natural state. Too much tension will only damage the hair further. Another common problem that I see visually for African American women is that our hairstyles are often weighed down and stuck to the head. Hair should be soft and flowing. We need to be more open to styles that have texture which can be achieved through haircuts, shape, and styles.
Clutch: What are some of your favorite hair care products?
Phyto Specifics for conditioning and treatment. Also Aveda Salon products and Bed Head products.
Clutch: For fall trends, are we leaning towards short and blunt cuts or long luscious locks?
Hair is not flat anymore. It’s about body, movement, and texture. It’s more becoming to the face when hair flows. This look is not just for fall, this look is timeless!
Clutch: You have been so successful in your career, what advice can you give to aspiring hairstylists?
Believe in yourself! Never be star struck. Improve your craft, always look to do more. When working with celebrities, nine out of ten times it’s about adding pieces, extensions or weaves. Know how to do it all! Keep abreast of the trends. Always photo test. Keep your name out there as much as you can through self-marketing and networking. If you work in a salon, treat it as if it’s your business. And lastly, I can’t stress this enough . . . if you see yourself there, you’ll be there! You have to believe!