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Conversations with Raymond Barbosa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raymond Barbosa.

Hi Raymond, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My passion for becoming a hairstylist all started back when I was a kid growing up in Oakland, CA. I used to always watch movies and walk around my neighborhood admiring the different hairstyles the girls had on. I would always take notes from what I have seen and go back home to try to recreate these hairstyles on my own. Not only was I fascinated by the different hairstyles on TVs and the females in the neighborhood, my mother and grandmother were also huge inspirations for me. Growing up, she always told me that I could make anything look beautiful. My grandmother was such a glamorous woman and she loved the essence of beauty. My mother is very hardworking and she held an upmost standard on looking amazing every day. Her dedication is what I have been striving to constantly achieve either while doing hair or being a musician. When my father passed away, I then realized life was too short and decided to move to LA to pursue my dream. I told myself I would give it two weeks in LA to see if this is something I want to do or I would leave. 15 years later, I’m standing stronger and better than ever doing what I love the most. However, it was a struggle when I first got to LA. So I had to work multiples jobs to support my dream, family and lifestyle. My first job in LA was a server trainer where I would go to multiple restaurants and train new servers. In addition to being a server, I worked on a number of TV shows, photoshoots, various modeling gigs and community plays. One day celebrity hairstylist Chad Andre was doing my hair for the photoshoot. While he was doing my hair, I mentioned my passion for doing hair and started joking with him about helping him out with doing hair for any of his projects he might have coming up. The next day after the photoshoot, I got a phone call from a member of Chad’s team to come in to assist with a project he was working on.

After that moment my career begun and it was history from that point. My first day working with Chad brought me back to my child days when I used to be home trying to recreate the different hairstyles. At that moment, I realized I was in my element because I felt the same passion as I did as a child and that I made the right decision on coming to LA. While working with Chad, I learned the importance of always maintaining healthy beautiful hair. While working for Chad, I was introduced to many people and had the opportunity to work on several celebrity clients. After five years of working with him, I decided to go back to college at the age of 30 so I could enhance my career. My first professor in college Ms. Chen gravitated towards me and pushed me to be more structured in my craft. She taught the importance of detail and pushed me to do the best. While in school, I entered several hairstylist competitions, received awards, scholarships and had the opportunity to work with many different hairstylists across the world. During this time, while entering several competitions and meeting different people, I then realized and pinned pointed who I wanted to work with. So I took any opportunity I could by finding ways to work with this particular person. Once I finished with school, I had the opportunity to work with Kyah Wright celebrity hairstylist. I worked with her for one year and I learned about working in a fast pace environment and I was able to expand my network with more celebrity clients and business professionals.

During my first day working with Kyah my first client was MC Lyte and at the time, my only form of transportation I had was taking the bus. The job was located in Beverly Hills and I was so excited about having the opportunity to work for Kyah Wright. However, I didn’t realize I got on the wrong bus to Beverly Hills. So I had to get off the bus and run down the street to the closest gas station in my dress clothes. Once I got to the gas station, I asked a random stranger for a ride to the location. I eventually arrived to the location on time and the first thing Kyah told me is that the person I would be working with was MC Lyte. This was a realization moment for me. I was now doing the things I’ve not only prayed for but practiced and I was ready to move into my own identity as a stylist. While working with Kyah, I started to build relationships with several producers, artists, and clients. After a year, I decided it was my time to expand my wings and begin my journey on entrepreneurship. However, that year was a very vulnerable time for me because I was a father of two and didn’t know if I would have constant clients and have money to support my family. However, through this journey I was able to really see my element and was able to build a network from this to doing commercials, music videos, award shows, music tours and working with different artists. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with people like Halle Berry, Gabriel Union, Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, Miss Universe and many more. All thought I had the opportunity to work with many celebrities. I choose to not call myself a celebrity stylist because we all deserve to be celebrated and be treated with love and care.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it hasn’t been a smooth road. Like any aspiring hairstylist, the road they are trying to pave isn’t as smooth as envisioned. I have been through many obstacles on the road. A few of my obstacles I have encountered range from losing friendship to making personal sacrifices. Another obstacle I faced is sometimes mentors get used to having you around and fear of one day letting you go. That can be a difficult process when you have built a respectable and professional relationship because these relationships become personal. When I was a kid, I used to always watch music videos and commercials, so I could try to re-create the different hairstyles. As I got older, I was failing and I started to doubt myself. My mind started to question if I should be doing something else because I was a man. As time has change and social media became the mainstream of focus in the industry. I made sure to remember to keep my element with classic hairstyling and not always move with what’s the trend but create styles that speak to me. The last obstacle I had on my path was that I had to leave my kids. So I could be able to pursue dream and create my career. However, now that they are older, I’m able to expand my career in this industry.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a Hairstylist and specialize in healthy hair care, natural flawless extensions and customized hairstyles that fit each client personally. I’m known for creating works from different time periods (example: 1970s hairstyles, timeless hairstyles, classic recreations and memorable moments, etc.). I’m most proud of my growth within this industry and being able to stay humble within this growth. I’m also most proud of the aesthetics of my hairstyles. I take pride in building relationships with my clients and no matter if I’m putting on a wig or extensions or braids. I always make it my priority to focus on the integrity of all my clients’ hair. I’m passionate of my work and I believe that as a hairstylist, your hairstyles and what you create is a representation of who you are as a creative individual. So I take pride in what I do and the results. I also take pride in making my clients not only look good but most importantly feel good.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
When looking for a mentor, it’s important to find someone that you could relate to and helps you grow in the process. Through my experience, I feel like my approach and how I got success is because when you’re a good person and have a welcoming spirit. People will remember these moments and will want to work with you in the future. They will genuinely respect you for who you are and not about your social media or followers. Also, another thing that worked well for me is being a detailed hairstylist. Having passion in my work and emphasis in the detailed is where people acknowledging my effort and dedication. I believe any great mentor wants to see their mentee excel in their career and work in their own path.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

@zack_thephotographer @ellivationmedia @walterwbrady @latinawebb @moniaashibi @michaelletterloughjr

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