One of the joys of being a beauty blogger is that I get to meet so many interesting people in the field. One such individual is hairstylist Pearson Knight who is not only pretty talented but unbelievably chill (seriously, I’ve never seen him worked up!). I got a chance to chat with him to learn a bit more on the man behind the mane (GET IT?!?!?). Read on for more…
Miss Whoever You Are: Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?
Well I grew up in Orlando, Florida and as far as any ideas then or family in the beauty industry I had none. My upbringing was more athletic I would say. My dad made me play soccer when I was 5 years old. I remember being terrified and confused about the whole thing. I played indoor and outdoor for the next 10 years with love. I played a lot of team sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, football, etc. To be honest this really helped my ability to TRY to focus in school. I began surfing, skateboarding, BMXing, break dancing, and surfing behind boats (then came the skurfer and wakeboard) around the age of 8 years old. These sports offered me a place to set goals, apply practice and discipline
, show personal creative expression, as well as an outlet for some of the young energy.
Later I was lucky enough to try living somewhere that snow fell and added snowboarding to the list of love. Wait, does pouring hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice in your hair before surfing count as “Hair background?” If so, then I guess copying Dennis Rodman and Mike D’s lead on a snow white bleached hair would too. The no pain no gain really came into effect when trying to get it that light with zero education…I’m pretty sure I had chemical burns. Those were the days. My interest grew in style around the time the “day glow everything” and parachute pants for the early break dance craze. I remember drawing up logos and designs for a clothing company with a friend in 7th grade.
MissWYA: What inspired you to become a hairstylist?
PK: I was inspired to do hair by my friend and first mentor Jon Reyman. I was living in a ski town working and snowboarding every dang day! We were on a chair lift in Utah and he was talking about his hair career and opening a salon in New York. I was intrigued. We joked about me leaving the mountain town and managing the salon. A month later after the idea started to resonate with me, I called him back. I decide to go for it. I signed up to attend school at Aveda in Minneapolis. I figured I would learn more about the industry, products, and buy sometime while he got the salon ready, who knows maybe even do some hair a couple days a week while managing. I fell in love with doing hair.
MissWYA: What’s your favorite part of your job?
PK: I guess my favorite part of my job would be simply the interaction with people. Some of the letters or comments I have received about how I impacted the lives of some guests has meant everything. The more detailed answer is holding the ability to create, inspire, and/or achieve helping someone look and feel there best with not only technical excellence but in the way I hold each guest through their experience with me.
That’s the magic. This is translated easily into editorial work for me. It’s about how can I bring my creative vision and solution to this guest, editorial shoot, designer, or film for the best result and positive feedback for them. Passion. Expression. Dedication.
MissWYA: Do you have a particular job that stood out to you? If so, can you share?
The job to date that has stood out the most was launching a salon in Bali for former Supermodel/Actress Navia Nguyen
in 2009. This job was a three month project. For many reasons it was memorable including the locals, staff, terrain, surfing, and the all around experience of their beautiful culture.
The main thing it taught me was about myself. I was pushed outside my comfort zone in many many ways. First of all, I was taking the risk of leaving my very busy and understanding daily clientele for 3 1/2 months and flying out of the country for the first time to work for people I had never met. Of course they were absolutely amazing but still a bit of a risk. Secondly, I was teaching the entire staff hair as well as specific hairdressers technique and how to handle their guests. I am mostly known for cutting techniques and editorial styling but was needing to teach color as well. I have always played with color and understood the theory but with two weeks to unlearn Aveda and learn L’Oréal color to teach was a challenge.
I taught the staff with a translator to help us connect on my sharing of technique as well as their on going questions. I ended up being a part of so much like building the clientele, designing the hair stations, and assisting in the over all experience of the salon once we opened. This project blew open the doors to believing anything is possible with risk, dedication, passion, and hard work. I would recommend anyone traveling to Bali, Indonesia to head straight to Amo Beauty Salon across from the W Hotels Retreat in Seminyak right off the plane for a signature massage or any of their amazing services.
MissWYA: Outside of fashion week and daily clients, what have you been up to?
MissWYA: What are the top five hair products/ tools every woman should own?
PK: Well, my daily clients keep me pretty busy in between Fashion Weeks being I travel to them in Orlando, Destin, Miami, Nashville, Minneapolis, New York, and Los Angeles. While I’m on the road or have down time I am developing ideas, collaborating with artists, trying to assist in the success of others, and designing things. What does Tom Ford say…”If I’m awake I am working, but I love what I do so it is not work to me” something like that. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The actual quote is “If I’m awake I’m working, but working for me isn’t working, working for me is just the way I am. It’s fun.”] I can relate, I am always working and traveling a lot.
[ED. NOTE: He gave a LOT so I trimmed it down a bit]
- A Good Conditioner or Deep Treatment for home remedy or salon visits. Products and tools are like putting gas in your car, if you want it to look good and drive well for longevity occasional oil changes and check ups are necessary
- A Light Finishing Serum or Oil: this usually tames fly aways, adds shine, and seals the ends of layers for a glamorous touch. For curly girls it’s a Moisturizing Oil. Most curly texture can always use a bit more moisture whether in at home remedy or part of styling product routine.
- The Correct Brush: if desired look is voluminous or with movement use the right size barrel of a ceramic core bristle round brush with air flow in the brush core. This will ensure proper air flow and heat to set the hair with volume, shine, and/or movement. If desired look is more sleek with slight bend or movement use a wooden round brush with a mix of nylon and boar bristle. This will grab the hair and smooth without adding too much volume for sleek and shine effect. If one struggles with a round brush which gives the best result in my opinion, simply try hot rollers for the voluminous movement and a flat brush for the sleek straight look (I suggest Mason Pearson)
- A Diffuser: this will enhance curl as well as dry evenly. If air drying the right system for your curl texture (walking out the door and letting humidity take, laying with your head off the side of the bed upside down, or simply scrunching as you go) and the right size of curling iron to touch up inconsistent areas.
- A Light Dry Hair Spray used in the interior as well as exterior to add a bit of extra hold, bounce control, and lasting assistance.
MissWYA: What is the best advice you’ve received and from whom?
PK: A mentor of types named Ahmad told me once to spend my energies on three things:
- My relationship with what I believe to be my creator
- My relationship with myself
- My relationship with others
He said everything else will fall into place. I have found this to be an amazing practice. My entire career has been based on relations. Without ever having PR, a publicist, exclusively working for a product line, nor agent I am honored and amazed at each and every opportunity I have had and continue to. My relations with designers or guests and their word of mouth has been everything. We achieve nothing alone.
MissWYA: What’s next for you? Can you share any upcoming projects?
PK: I am really excited to put some career long ideas and passions out into the industry for salons, clients, stylist, and sub culture enthusiast. One project to launch in 2013 is I have invented and produced a styling tool that will perform a certain texture look to make achieving a specific runway look faster, easier, and more consistent as well as fun for stylist and clients to re-create specific red carpet looks at home with ease. I am excited to have some other projects launch very soon but it is too close to spoil it now. Please check it out as this website will be consistently launching new things. PKHAIRART.COM aside from my main page PKHAIR.COM.
As told to Eileen D for Miss Whoever You Are