Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamilah Curry.
Jamilah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After graduating from high school in 2007, I went back and forth about whether or not I should attend college. I really couldn’t find excitement about sitting in a classroom for four more years just to graduate and sit at another desk. I also had no idea about the direction I wanted to go in.
Meanwhile, hair was something I started doing at a young age. When I was ten, I “fired” my mom from hair duty and became in charge of my looks as well as my little sister’s. (I did her hair every Sunday for nearly a decade.) Then, in high school, I started exploring extensions. My best friend and I would do each other’s hair until I noticed most of our other friends would come to me to get their hair done. Realizing this, I started charging everyone. Then, I thought, I may be on to something. I decided I would go check out a cosmetology school and see what it was all about. That very first interview at Empire Beauty School gave me chills and the excitement I had been waiting for. I enrolled at Empire Beauty School, 19. While in school, I worked in a salon in the heart of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn for about two months before moving on. When I graduated from school, I applied for my dream job at Edris Salon, located in the gentrified Meat Packing District, in lower Manhattan, and got it. I quickly climbed the ladder from head assistant to one of the most demanded stylists. I accomplished so much at Edris Salon. Not only was my schedule insanely booked, but I had many print opportunities from W Magazine, WWD, Elle, and Essence. I styled clients for the Emmy Awards, Met Gala, and worked with some of the biggest supermodels, athletes, and celebrities.
In my 6th year at Edris, I had the urge for change so I packed my bags and moved to Paris in 2016. There, I landed a stylist position at Polished Hair Care, owned by an African American woman, located on Champs E’Iysees. I lived in Paris for a year and a half but ended up leaving the salon choosing to freelance. I was on my own as an independent traveling stylist. When unexpected life circumstances pulled me back to New York, I worked at Edris Salon again before fully going independent. This brought the flexibility that I hadn’t had before. I traveled across the world to places like Ghana and Australia where I worked as both a stylist and a teacher of cosmetology.
Today, I’m Hairstylist for Grammy-nominated artist, Tierra Whack. In just one year, we have had published covers and have been featured in some of the most popular magazines, including Essence and Vogue. I have styled Ms. Whack for major festivals, like Coachella in California, Primavera in Barcelona, Afro-Punk in New York. I also styled her for the Grammy, Billboard, and Webby Awards.
My story is still being written for I am also a part of other projects unrelated to hair and beauty. I continue to dream big, think outside the box, work hard, grow. Sometime in the near future, I will be very excited to share details of it all, as it unfolds.
Has it been a smooth road?
My experience in the industry has not always been smooth. A black woman who has a vision and is self-assured can very easily be seen as a threat. It can be very challenging having to take an inferior stance, to do as you’re told, and keep your opinions to yourself. Sexism and racism can often play a role in these challenges.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a professional hairstylist with high-end clients. My clientele requires diverse skills and creativity. I can create artist hair designs as well as sleek hair fashion suitable for a wide range of clients.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I would recommend hairstylists starting out to learn their craft in one space. Los Angeles is a good place to start. And depending on what their goals are to be open, flexible and ready for new opportunities all over Courtney and world.
- Instagram: JamilahCurryHair
Getty Images, @savenick, Notion Magazine