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Just A Hair Different

Jan. 2, 2013
 
Amile Wilson
Syd Curry / Amile Wilson
Leah Vincent / Amile Wilson
Crystal Williams / Amile Wilson

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The stars aligned themselves with Syd Curry - stars like Lady Gaga, Meg Ryan, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Mariah Carey and Tilda Swinton. “Do you need me to tell you any others?” he asked in his soft, modest tone. It was he who helped these stars shine.

He created the hairstyles of actresses, singers and other Hollywood notables for most of his career, but Curry is now styling the hair of ordinary women in Jackson, Mississippi. “I’m loving it!” Family brought the hairdresser-to-the-stars to Mississippi, but it’s the people who are keeping him here. “My mother was originally from the Delta, and my father was from Batesville. They moved to California in 1951, and I was born and raised there. But I always had relatives in Mississippi, so I came here often to visit as a child and on into adulthood. I am so glad to be in Jackson.” His wings are not completely clipped, though, as he recently took a trip to Greece with Ms. Swinton.

On one of his trips to Jackson, Curry went into SMoak Salon, in Fondren, to get a haircut and met Suzanne Moak, the salon’s owner. The two hit it off and kept in touch. “Suzanne asked me several times to come work in her salon, and one day, I just made up my mind to do it. I loaded up a truck and moved to Mississippi!”

Although Curry has been at the salon only since the end of October, he’s already a big hit. “I’m a firm believer in pretty,” he said. “I have seen trends come and go, but pretty is always in style. I believe all women should feel pretty.”

Styling hair is all Curry has ever done. “I went to hair school at 16, and when I was 17, I moved from Simi Valley to Hollywood.” For years, Curry was a working hairdresser, on location around the world for photo shoots. “I was rarely ever at home.” Being in a salon with other stylists has been exciting for Curry. “I learn something new from each of them every day. It’s inspiring.”

His signature is old glam Hollywood, but with a modern twist. “Going into a salon shouldn’t be about just coming out with a good haircut. I believe women are coming in for style, and the salon experience should be fun and comfortable. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting a new client and making them laugh, or seeing them relax and close their eyes while I cut their hair, because they trust that I’m going to make them look good.”

Great hair isn’t limited to women. “Men need to realize that one of the least expensive things they can do to make themselves look and feel better is to simply get a haircut,” Curry said. “They might go out and buy a new suit or shirt, but they’ll still look the same. A good haircut can make a huge difference.”

Color is the specialty of Leah Vincent, owner of Colorize Hair Salon, who has been in business in Ridgeland for only three years. A Redken color educator, Vincent brightens (or darkens) the hair of her customers in her small “modern-meets-vintage” studio. “It’s got all the most modern amenities,” Vincent explained, “but I’ve filled it with antique and vintage things that give a warm, cozy feel to the space.”

Unlike most other salons, there is no waiting area in Vincent’s studio. “Mine is a one-on-one appointment-based salon. For me, it’s more about creating a personal setting and spending time with the client.” That time includes a full consultation each and every time a client visits. “I don’t care if it’s their 20th time to come to me. I talk to them about their lifestyle, so they can maintain the cut I give. I also take time to teach my clients how to style their hair so they can achieve the same look they have when they leave the salon.”

Vincent specializes in a very natural look with hair color. “I may put in several colors, but the end result will look very natural, enhancing the person’s overall look. But then again, I have some clients who like to step out and do something more dramatic, and that’s lots of fun for me, as well.” She is certified in both color and design, and Vincent specializes in techniques like painted-in highlights, block coloring and the illuminating technique. She has also styled hair in New York City for Vogue Magazine’s Fashion Night Out show.

Another difference in Vincent’s salon is that she sets customers up on a monthly bank auto-draft. “It’s different for each person, and my clients love it. They come in and get a cut and color and even the products they need, and they don’t pay a dime. It’s all drawn from their bank account each month, so budgeting is easy for everyone.”

Crystal Williams loves fantasy, and she plays out her wildest dreams during the hair shows for which she’s become famous. For instance, from her chair, Williams has created fantastic hair into the different districts from the movie “Hunger Games,” putting her own twist on it and calling it “Hunger Queens.” Hair coiffed using shells and fiber optic lights represented an ocean theme. A modified Mohawk with sides painted gold was her take on the diamond district. “It’s not a look anyone would want to wear, except for my shows!”

Williams is an observer, always looking at things to see how she can fix them or make them better. “I do the same with hair. It’s my passion; I wake up every day excited about going to work. Honestly, if I won the lottery, I’d do hair for free. I just enjoy it that much.”

Short cuts are what Williams is most recognized for. “I like a little retro look, and more free-style.” Her hair shows allow Williams to do the finger waves, pin curls and other techniques, putting a modern spin on them. That inspires her in her “real” styles on her customers at HeadGames Salon, in Ridgeland. “I also go to hair shows to stay current, plus I try to keep up with trends in makeup and even music and current events, because that all translates into style. I try to keep it fresh for my clients.”

Pampering her clients is something Williams enjoys, as well. “I give a great shampoo, with a full scalp massage. Honestly, I think I could give an 80-year-old woman a Mohawk, and she would be putty in my hands because she’d be so relaxed after getting one of my shampoos!”

Williams also enjoys styling hair for special events, including traveling to Hawaii with a client who was speaking at an international conference there. “She wanted to look her best, so she asked me to go with her to do her hair. I was happy to oblige!”