Q & A With Tai Phillips: Tai Shares her favorite trends, Working with Empire's Serayah & Gives advice on becoming a stylist.

Tai Phillips 

Celebrity Stylist

10 years in the industry

Q: What made you fall in love with the art of styling hair?
A: When I was growing up, I was fascinated with the hairstyles of celebrities such as Diana Ross, Cher, Patti La Bell, Mary J. Bilge, and Aaliyah and I wanted to recreate those hairstyles. So I would take my Cabbage Patch dolls—the ones with hair, and try to recreate the hair styles of the celebrities. Then, when I began drawing as a teen, I would draw pictures of women with the hairstyles of the celebrities that I had admired as a child.  

Q: For someone who has accomplished a lot in your career, what would you say was the highlight of your career?
A: That would be the Grammys. The reason is because my work was seen on such a huge platform and I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Q:  You styled hair for Serayah, who is known for her diversity. When it comes to her looks, what would you say is your favorite look on her?
A: My favorite look on Serayah is her natural curls because she wears that look so well.

Q: Being a celebrity stylist, people have a lot of ideas of what that must be like. What would you say is the biggest misconception about celebrity stylists?
A: In my opinion, the biggest misconception about being a celebrity stylist is that it’s easy. But it’s not. Your work is constantly under a microscope and it must always be on point. Also, the hair style you create must compliment the celebrity’s outfit. So there’s a lot pressure and stress to create the right look, and you only have a short window of time in which to do it. So every moment counts.

Q: You are someone who obviously has a love for hair. What would you say is your favorite hair trend or era?
A: My favorite hair trend is the bob—short bobs, long bobs, asymmetrical bobs—I love bobs. My favorite hair era is the 80’s because they were so creative with the styles—the mullet, the big hair, and the duck tail.  

Q: If you were stuck on an island and could only have three hair products and one hair tool, what would they be?
A: The hair products I would use would be Murray’s Pomade, Kenra Hair Spray, and Paul Mitchell’s Shampoo. The hair tool I would use would be a flatiron.

Q: What was the most trying time in your career and what got you through it?
A: The most trying time in my career was when I had to do Serayah’s hair for the NAACP Awards. I had two units for Serayah’s to choose from, but one was two small and the other did not compliment her outfit. To make matters worse, we were very short on time. So I had to think fast and come up with a hairstyle that I could do in forty-five minutes that looked great on her.  

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self concerning your career?
A: Learn all you can. Observe the work of others. Talk to other hair stylists. Watch old movies and read old hair magazines for hair ideas. Stay current by knowing all the latest hair products, hair trends and styles, and technology because hair products and trends change every day.  Steadily improve your craft by taking classes. Be the best that you can be and set no limits on yourself.    

Q: What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the cosmetology industry and has high hopes of being a celebrity hair stylist?
A: I would tell them to follow their dream and to not let anyone tell them that it’s impossible because it is possible. Stay focused. Be persistent. Be diligent. Don’t be a copycat. Stick with your gut and follow your own path.  That’s what will make you different. Do what you love; stay true to yourself. Follow your instincts and let nothing stand in the way of achieving your dream.

Q: You have used INDIQUE hair on your client. What is it about INDIQUE that you love?
A: What I love about INDIQUE hair is how soft and shinny it is and how natural it looks. I also like the fact that it’s very versatile: it looks good short or long, curly or straight, and dyed. It also looks good in photographs and on the screen. I believe INDIQUE is the best hair product on the market, and I’m always pleased with the results.