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HAIR BY JAY | CELEBRITY HAIR STYLIST IS SHARING HIS SECRETS VIA A MASTERCLASS

October 4, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Hair By Jay is way more than a celebrity hairstylist, he’s an entire vibe. Priding himself in providing an unforgettable experience, the Los Angeles native is a walking testimony of someone who came from the bottom and worked his ass off to get to where he is now. To date, his all-star roster of clientele include A-list celebrities and millionaires such as Nicki Minaj, Kylie Jenner, Cardi B, Chrissy Teigen, Jeffree Star, Blac Chyna, Iggy Azalea, Kendall Jenner, Saweetie, Lil Kim, Yung Miami, Ashanti, Nikita Dragun, Bhad Bhabie, and many more.

Boasting a mix of Honduran and Puerto Rican backgrounds, Jay is an inspiration to audiences all around the world to chase their dreams and never take no for an answer. As a kid, he fondly remembers braiding napkins at McDonald’s, which comes full circle one decade later — now inserting himself as one of the most sought-after, coveted hair braiders and wig installers to grace the city of Los Angeles.

His recent looks includes doing Nicki Minaj’s bright pink hair for Bia’s “Whole Lotta Money” Remix video, Cardi B’s standout red bangs, and Chrissy Teigen’s beautiful lavender locks. When he’s not working on clients, he’s focused on his entrepreneurship, including his new website where he sells customized wigs. Additionally, he’s excited as ever to be doing another wig installation master class which he livestreams on social media.

Flaunt caught up with Jay in downtown Los Angeles to discuss his upbringing in Los Angeles, ditching his Criminal Justice degree to do hair, how he learned, his first big client, relationship with Blac Chyna, doing Nicki’s hair for the “Whole Lotta Money” shoot, doing Kylie Jenner’s hair for the V Magazine cover, struggles in the industry, his price going up, launching his own website for people to purchase custom wigs, social media presence, his upcoming masterclass on October 17th, and more!

Photo Credit: Michelangelo Reyes

You’ve been doing hair for a decade now, what are you best known for?

Creating all different types of hair styles and doing different looks involving hair extensions, wigs, becoming a specialist in coloring, styling, and making hair longer. Working big events like VMA’s, BET, or any red carpet events. TV shows, I came out in a couple of TV shows as well.

You’re from the trenches of South Central Los Angeles, what was a young Jay like growing up there?

I grew up with a single mother who was extremely, extremely strict. Growing up with my single mother in LA, not knowing exactly what I wanted to do when I got older was very hard. Because as a Latino, we follow what our parents say. They’re so traditional and have such strict beliefs because they’re locked in a box where they’ve never seen anything else other than what they know. It was very hard growing up in South Central LA. Going to school being someone who was new to doing hair and trying to get involved, it was very hard because it’s not common to see a Hispanic boy braiding hair at such a young age. A lot of people had a lot of opinions, it’s hard to stay on track while trying to ignore others and their opinions.

When did you fall in love with hair?

I always liked doing hair because I liked the outcome of it. I love when people are looking at themselves and they can’t get over themselves. Once I went to school and got a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, they told me you’re going to get paid $55K a year in the career that you spent 3.5 years working on. I was very disappointed in that.

What did you want to be?

A correction officer. When they told me that, I said “yo no, this is not what I want to do.” I like what I do and I was blessed, not many people could do that. I figured let me stick to that.  At the age of 20 or 21, that’s when I became a full-time hairstylist.

How did you learn? Did you go to school?

I went to school for the basics, which teaches you about developers, colors, stuff like that, but I think it’s something I grew up knowing. My mom was a hairstylist in her country, I just picked it up. Learning the basics when I was in school and braiding hair, that was the foundation to opening up many doors for me. What I learned to do with hair at the very beginning is what’s needed to do everything I do now.

Who was your first big client?

My very first big client that’s known worldwide would be Kylie Jenner and Blac Chyna, or Jeffree Star.

How did the Blac Chyna opportunity come out?

Blac Chyna, I’ve known her for years. Outside of her being one of my clients, she’s someone that allows me to create beautiful looks on her. She’s also somebody that I’ve known. She happened to hit me up one day like “Yo, can you come do my hair?” It was 12 at night, she had to fly out the next day. I literally did her hair while she was sleeping. Ever since then, it became amazing. I became her personal hairstylist. Here and there she’ll try new hairstylists when I’m not available of course, but other than that I’m pretty consistent with her. I was just on the phone with her today.

Talk about the experience you create.

You know what, I’m worth every penny. I create such an amazing experience. Working with people, I stand out. I’m memorable, I’m unforgettable because I’m a whole vibe. When they book me, I’m bringing energy. I can’t recall a client that’s been in a depressed mood or woke up feeling sad, I show up and they stay sad or in a bad mood throughout the whole time I’m doing their hair. I create a vibe, I create energy. When I work with them, I’m introducing them to something new, I’m bringing ideas.

Not only that, I’m a person that shares my lifestyle and experiences. Since I work with a lot of A-list clients that are restricted to do certain things due to the media and people judging them, they live through me, through my experiences or the stories I tell them. I make them laugh, I’m a jokester. I have a very strong personality, I say whatever comes to mind. I say the things that other people think about saying, but are too afraid to say. They love that. I don’t treat them as if I was a fan, I treat them as friends or any regular person.

How long does an install usually take?

If I have the wig prepared and the client literally sits through it, it’ll take me about an hour or less. Sometimes, we do 8-hour shoots, 4-hour shoots.

How was it doing Nicki Minaj’s hair for Bia “Whole Lotta Money” shoot?

I didn’t know it was for Bia. They hit me up like “Hey, can you do Nicki Minaj‘s hair?” She tends to be very last minute with me. She hit me up, I said “Yeah, I’m available.” She gave me a couple of hours to show up. She said she wanted a cute wig that I’ve done on her previously. I showed up and didn’t know it was going to be for that, she was doing a photoshoot. I don’t ask questions. I showed up, did it and boom. A week later it’s viral.

How was that experience?

It was great. Working with Nicki Minaj is putting yourself out there. It’s a great name to have on your resume, it’s a name that’s known. The fact that people are interested in your work is already amazing. Anyone that first of all hits you up for you to provide a service is already amazing, so I take my job seriously.

How was it working with Kylie Jenner for the cover of V Magazine? 

I’ve worked with Kylie Jenner multiple times, my favorite look was the Marilyn Monroe look. She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever worked with. She makes you feel like you’re a part of her squad. She welcomes you into her home, makes you feel welcome.

Working in the industry, what struggles do you face?

A lot of people are in this industry doing hair, makeup, photography, a lot of people have confused fame and celebrity with being rich. Rich and famous are not the same thing, it’s two separate words with two different meanings. A lot of people nowadays are so involved with getting followers or so interested in being famous, they’re forgetting the point. While your client is driving a Rolls Royce, do you want to be driving a bucket?

My biggest struggle is giving a client my price, and someone else coming to give them a cheaper price. Sometimes they’re not used to my price so they like to go back and forth. Staying relevant in the industry too. There’s always someone that’s younger, someone that’s coming with a new style. You have to be able to stay on your toes and catch up. [snaps]

How much did your price go up? 

My prices went up insanely a lot. I’m not trying to say I’m the most expensive hairstylist out here in the U.S. or in California, but I’m definitely far from the cheapest. It does cost you a good penny if you want to book me to do a good wig installment.

Fashion or hair trends this fall?

Everyone’s still in love with the colors, with the lengths. It depends on the season. Right now, a lot of girls are following the wigs. Wigs are very common and trendy. You can never go wrong with a wig. It goes with whatever outfit you’re trying to wear for the day. If your outfit requires a blonde wig, you throw on a wig and it changes the whole look. It brings the look together. Wigs are very trendy, it’s always been like that. It’s never going out of style. Even the girls who have never tried a wig or they don’t need one like they say, because they have long hair or whatever, they’re trying to purchase a wig because they want a different color or they want to follow the trend.

Talk about your own website that sells customized wigs.

Right before Covid, I started working on a website called www.hairbyjay.com. It’s for anybody that wants to purchase a wig. Whether you’re having health issues or you want to try it out for fun, or you have to do a photoshoot, I made this website for anyone to be able to purchase my wigs. A lot of people ask me because I do tend to only post celebrities. Not because I only work with celebrities, but they think I won’t sell them a wig. I want them to know that through my website, I’m the one working on them and shipping them out. Anybody has access to them. Wigs you see me install on clients is what you’ll see on the website. You can order the same wig if you’re interested. It’s multiple options: natural looks, colors, pinks, reds, curly, yellows, orange. Wigs that I’ve done on Nicki Minaj, Nikita Dragun, Blac Chyna.

How is it working with Nikita Dragun? 

Amazing. She’s one person that allows me to be creative most of the time, 60% or 70% of the time. It works really well, she’s really dope.

How did you guys tap in?

She found me on Instagram. Instagram is a great way to find people nowadays.

How important is social media presence?

It’s definitely getting harder on Instagram to gain followers and stay relevant. With a lot of other social media apps and sources where people are gaining these followers through there so much, people are paying attention to the wrong things or different things. It’s really hard. For example right now, I’m doing a wig installment master class on October 17th where anybody could purchase a ticket if they want to learn how to install a wig. If they want to expand their knowledge in hairstyling or whether they want to learn how to install wigs on themselves. October 17th I decided to have an in-person and also online class. I’m using my social media, my Instagram, my online sources to promote the class. It’s going pretty good.

Are you excited?

Yes, definitely excited. I’m always been excited to teach. I’ve never been a person who’s stingy when It comes to teaching something to somebody.

How does your family feel now? You’ve accomplished a lot! 

I really don’t know how my family feels because it’s only my two younger brothers and my mom. We’ve never been the type to express feelings, I think it’d be weird if I did and hear from them. I know that my brothers love to show me off, they love to see the stuff I’m able to purchase from my hard work. They take pictures of my stuff, my Bentleys or my chains. Seeing me come out on TV makes them happy. My mom’s still very reserved and still tries to give me advice. “Watch your money. Save up. Don’t get comfortable with people.” But I’m pretty sure they’re happy, I’m able to give them stuff they’ve never had.

Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?

I do have goals. I want to purchase another house. I have a house out here in LA, but I want to get another house and make it my own where I’m by myself taking care of my family. I also want to create a business where it continues to make money, not be so much hands-on but still be involved with what I do now.

Anything else you want to let the people know?

Just the masterclass on October 17th. Anyone who wants to join can, that’s about it.

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