Yesterday, I attended the grand opening of my favorite hair stylist, Ursula Stephen’s new salon in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. In her 15+ year career, Ursula has worked with a number of celebrities including Kerry Washington, Michelle Williams, Keyshia Cole, and most notedly, Rihanna. The Brooklyn native who created a plethora of iconic styles for Ri is also the most down to earth gal you could ever meet. I love her personality! I first met Ursula last year at fellow hairstylist, Keith Campbell’s book signing and then later at NV Magazine’s event this year, where Ursula was honored along with my friend Ty Hunter for their amazing work in the entertainment industry. I had a chance to do a quick interview with Ursie on the red carpet and it was a blast! She talked about which hair stylists she admires, who she’d like to get her hands on next, and what inspiration she took from Tyra Banks’ Americas Next Top Model when planning her new salon. Here’s our fun filled convo!
JoyLovesFashion: Hi Ursula! So great to see you. I see you’re very excited!
Ursula Stephen: Hi! Yes, I’m excited in a calm way. I’m surprised.
JLF: Congratulations on the salon!
US: Thank you, thank you!
JLF: Who are you wearing today?
US: Today I’m wearing Givenchy, honey. All white! I’m praying I get through at least two hours of this event without anything happening [to my dress]!
JLF: You look beautiful!
US: Thank you!
JLF: Who in the hair industry do you really admire? Who have you always looked up to?
US: I absolutely look up to Edris and Ted Gibson. Two reasons, Edris, I will cry! (her voice cracks.) I look up to her because she was in the meat packing district long before any businesses were there. So, that mean’s she’s smart. And I think she was there for like over 10 years. And she’s a Caribbean black woman! Ted Gibson, too because he has become a house hold name. And not only is he a household name but he’s a stylist that is absolutlely diverse. He does black hair, white hair, all types of hair! I know people look at me like that. And, you know, he’s big: salons here, doing tv shows! He’s definately a mentor to me. Also, [I admire] the everyday hairstylist that’s in the salon till 2 in the morning, because I was absolutely that stylist. So, I look up to them as well becasue for you to do that, you gotta love it. You have to absolutely love it.
JLF: So you mentioned in an interview that you want to have your salon be sort of like a training salon, like America’s Next Top Model, where Tyra “trains” her models. Tell me more about that.
US: Yes, absolutely. Not necesarily the whole thing but I want to incorporate that training aspect. A lot of girls look at me or they look at other stylists in the industry and they want to do freelance, but they don’t know the behavior to be on set. So if you’re gonna be in my salon we’re gonna do amazing photo shoots. Everybody’s going to have an opportunity to do a photo shoot and put their picture up in the window and at the end of the day, they’re going to end up building a book. So in that way, you know what I mean? That’s just one aspect of other plans that I have in mind for the salon.
JLF: That’s amazing! And it’s so much needed in our community to have people like you who are really mentoring and guiding. People don’t really know how to get to where you are. It’s so important that you’re doing that.
US: And I feel like growing up, people don’t ever tell you that you “Oh, you can be a hairstylist” or you can be anything with a trade. People don’t do that. Your parents and family always push on you to be a doctor or a lawyer or whatever it is, but I never even thought I could be a hairstylist. So, I want to be that person to let them know you can do that and be a success and turn it into a career.
JLF: That’s wonderful! And kind of like me, I was in school to be a doctor. My parents are Nigerian…
US: Oh, yeah, honey! You was going to school! You was going to school!
JLF: And I’m a stylist and blogger and that was always my thing and now I’m living that so it’s definitely not something we are taught to do.
US: But you’re happy, right?
JLF: I’m so happy! This is like who I am, you know!? So, I’ve got to ask: what is your personal style? Who do you love to wear?
US: First of all, I like to be comfortable, bottom line. I need to be comfortable. And I’m not that kind of person who goes and says I wanna wear Gucci or Louis. I really wear what looks good. I know the shapes that work on me and things like that but I’m not a name person. I just like comfort and what look good! I do like labels, honey! Mama love her labels, but I also understand how to pair high end and low end. I’m that Forever 21 girl with Louboutin shoes on all day! I don’t care. I don’t really look for a trend, I set my own trends and wear what I like.
JLF: Tonight is also Rihanna’s concert, which I’ll be going to after this. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was on the same night as your event. I know that you guys have always been in sync and it was like meant to be!
US: Yes we are, all the time! I thought that too! And I said, you know what, this happened for a reason! Everything happens for a reason. Hopefully she’ll slide through early, if not we are definitely hanging out afterwards.
JLF: You’ve done amazing work with Rihanna and have also worked with many other celebs. Who else would you love to get your hands on?
US: I would love to do Anne Hathaway’s hair and I’ve been tweeting at her “Go blond, go blond” and she went blond yesterday for the MET Ball and I was like, I’m gonna do her hair one day! I would love to do Anne Hathaway’s hair one day for sure.
JLF: I saw your tweet! That’ll be great. Please do Anne Hathaway’s hair!
JLF: Thank you so much! This was great.
US: Thank you and thanks for coming!
Ursula was awesome! You will definitely be seeing more of her here on JoyLovesFashion. We will do another in depth interview on camera in the near future, so stay tuned!
The event was a huge success. I love the location of the salon and you can feel the love as soon as you walk inside. While there, I ran into some fellow bloggers: Gabriel of Stuff Fly People Like, Christina Brown of Love Brown Sugar, and designer extraordinaire LaQuan Smith! Check out my iPhone pics and more images of Ursula’s new salon below!
I went casual-cool in a Joe Fresh denim shirt & bag, Versace for H&M skirt, Zara heels and a turban from my upcoming turban line! (It’s a prototype, made of 100% silk).
Kisses with LaQuan! Muah!
Ursula Stephen The Salon
66 Lafayette, Brooklyn, NY 11216
(Between S. Elliot Place & S. Portland Avenue)