Watching stylist Ken Paves style hair is a mesmerizing spectacle of artistic precision.
In a whirlwind of constant motion, his hands tease every lock of hair into place. The tools of his trade include irons, rollers, clips, combs, and brushes -- and above all Ken Paves, You Are Beautiful™ - Ken's new line of salon quality shampoos, gels, whips and sprays. More than anything. Ken says, he enjoys the reaction to his transformations:
"What I love most about my job is making people feel great. There's nothing else that makes me feel more than that moment when I allow a woman to realize how beautiful she is and how much she loves herself.
It's all really about honoring her..."
With that philosophy, it is not surprising that Ken Paves has become one of the most sought-after hairstylists in the world. Oprah Winfrey anointed him "the big Kahuna of Hollywood hair." Over the last 22 years, his work has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Allure, Glamour, O Magazine, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, GQ, In Style and many other publications.
Ken has created award-winning styles on the tresses of Victoria Beckham, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Eva Longoria, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dione, Fergie, Eve and Megan Fox, and Heather Locklear, to name a few
Ken's celebrity life is a world away from his humble beginnings in a small town, near Detroit, Michigan. His father worked in the auto industry - ten to twelve hours a day - seven days a week -- for 32 years. One of three boys, Ken was always close to his mother. "My mom worked in three different manufacturing plants while I was growing up. She planted flowers at a nursery. My parents cleaned houses, part-time. And I went to work with them. So, I grew up in a family that worked: a working class family." When not working, his mother coaches Ken's little league team.
Not only did his mother's commitment to hard work rub off on Ken, he was fascinated by how she transformed herself into an elegant lady for family occasions: "I would stand outside her bathroom, champion her and clap for her. I noticed how her posture changed and she looked at herself in the mirror when I responded in a certain way. When I realized how much she enjoyed that, I wanted that for every single day. So my desire to get into the beauty industry and do hair, in the end, has been about celebrating my mom. Each time that I have helped a woman find herself and her beauty in the mirror, it has reminded me that it all began with my mom.
Ken chose his father's retirement party to announce his interest in hairstyling, as a career. His parents completely supported Ken's choice... soon thereafter, they cashed a portion of their retirement savings and took out a loan so that Ken could attend beauty school and follow his dream.
"I started doing my sister-in-law's hair, my nieces' hair, my friends' hair." Ken had found his calling but admits that "I did some pretty bad haircuts." Thereafter, Ken headed to Miami to work for $75 a week as an assistant to celebrity stylist Oribe. To make ends meet, Ken would moonlight, styling strippers hair until 4 AM. "I got better. Doing the hair for strippers was an amazing training experience."
When these clients showed up in Oribe's salon during regular business hours, Oribe realized that Paves could do 'big, beautiful hair.' That led to a big, beautiful break. "So, ironically enough, I was one week at a strip club in Miami and the next week in Paris, for a fashion show."
Then came the phone calls -- celebrity bookings in Los Angeles. "I did seven women for one red carpet. They were all nominated or their shows were nominated. I started working at 7 AM and worked until about four. "I was hooked" says Ken, who became known as the chameleon of the red carpet.
That led to 'The Oprah Winfrey Show', where Ken performed makeovers for ten years, followed by 'America's Next Top Model','The Biggest Loser' and 'The Queen Latifah Show.' During the reality show, 'The Price of Beauty', Ken and his long-time friend, Jessica Simpson, traveled around the world searching for true beauty.
In spite of the experiences and success, Ken still feels he still has much to accomplish. "My mom and I always joke around. She says 'Baby you did it! You did it! You're there!' But I still don't feel like I have made it in Hollywood - I've still got more things to do."
At the top of that list is Ken Paves' new line of salon quality hair care products – Ken Paves, You Are Beautiful™
Ken's Favorite Things
You Are Beautiful: A Beauty Guide for Real Women
Ken Paves You Are Beautiful Nourish & Hydrate Shampoo
Ken Paves You Are Beautiful Nourish & Hydrate Conditioner