Today we’d like to introduce you to Evalyn Denis.
Evalyn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My name is Evalyn Denis. I was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in the early 1900’s, to Haitian immigrant parents who shortly after moved us down to Orlando, FL, where my siblings and I were raised. I moved to Los Angeles in late August of 2016, but L.A. was definitely not the first stop on my journey. I moved to Atlanta, GA at 19 years young and settled there for a few years, then ended up moving to Queens, NY for another couple years after that. I was mainly working retail and serving gigs during those years, not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life or what my true purpose was. If you come from a Haitian background like myself, you would know that “hairstylist” isn’t really looked at as a profession to aspire to, but I always had the talent for it.
I grew upbraiding on my barbies at first, then my family members, and then myself. I was always the go-to stylist at home, especially for anything braids related. With all that said, it still didn’t quite click to me. While I made pretty good money serving, the pressure of “having my life together” post-high school really started to get to me. I knew that serving was not what I wanted to do with my life. I felt completely lost and without purpose. One tear-filled night I opened up to my boyfriend about how empty I was feeling about where I felt my life was headed, and he simply looked at me and uttered, “do hair.” “Just do hair.” Just like that simple and to the point. I thought to myself, DUH. Hair! I always enjoyed doing hair and was quick at picking up new ways of installing hair, so why not!
This revelation eventually led me to searching for hair schools in Manhattan, which I nearly enrolled but we ultimately decided that L.A. was the better option in pursuing both of our long term goals and aspirations. Late 2016 I moved to L.A. to attend Toni & Guy Hairdressing School. I graduated late 2017 at yet another crossroads. While I enjoyed the school and all the teachers there were great, I wasn’t all the way sold on being a “mainstream” hairstylist. It just didn’t seem authentic to who I am as a person or my roots. I missed braiding and crochets, and all of the styles that I grew up with that made girls who look like me, feel beautiful. I had once again made a decision and decided to become a protective hairstylist. I slowly began to build up a small client base mostly through Instagram, and word of mouth, until that base was not so small anymore.
My clients range from bloggers, screenwriters, directors, and models, to lawyers and school teachers. In August, I was given the opportunity to be apart of Kanye West’s Sunday Service on the hair team, which I am currently still apart of. Soon after that, I was called to work with Solange Knowles on her Camp Flog Gnaw, and Jimmy Kimmel Show performance looks. I also did some work on her Bridge-S series at the Getty Museum. You may have also seen my work on shows like Fox Networks ‘Empire’ or in your neighborhood Ralphs. I honestly feel very lucky to be where I am this fast out of cosmetology school. Being able to travel while doing what comes naturally to me, I’m filled with gratitude.
Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest struggle along the way was actually getting through school. I moved to a new city on the other side of the country, with no family, or friends, very little money, and without my main support system, my boyfriend. There were times I definitely wanted to give up, but I ultimately decided to stick with it. Outside of that transitional period in my life my career has progressed a lot quicker than I thought. I’m proud of myself for sticking with it and thankful for my support system.
Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
I am what you call a protective hairstylist. I specialize in protective styles consisting but not limited to braids, twists, crochet and natural sew-in installs. What I’m most proud of are the relationships and bonds I’ve been able to forge through my business. Working in the beauty industry you’ll have to be able to wear different hats and in a sense, provide therapy to your clients. It’s more than just hair.
I find what sets me apart from others is my attention to detail. I’m very deliberate about the care, and the health of natural hair. The majority of my clients are women of color. Many of us weren’t taught the proper methods of nurturing, maintaining and retaining growth. The cosmetic appeal of a new hairstyle is great, but above all health is most important.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Most definitely. Los Angeles is kind of a no brainer. Anything beauty and entertainment related this the city to be in. The opportunities are endless.
- Website: Styleseat.com/i/evalyndenis
- Phone: 818-219-8271
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @eviedoesla