And your specialist subject is? The life and times of Victoria Beckham’s Hair.
For about a decade I wrote about the long and short, the bleaching the cropping, the lopping and the pobbing of Victoria Beckham’s hair. In minute detail. This wasn’t a hobby it was part of my job description (clause 18, paragraph 6) as Style Editor of Heat magazine. So, when I got an invitation to meet Ken Paves, VB’s hairdresser of choice for the past 6 years and coiffeur to J-Lo, Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson (who I have also studied) I was just a tiny bit excited.
The night before I made a mental check list:
Make sure hair looks great: FAIL
Dress with the panache of Victoria Beckham: FAIL
Be cool: FAIL
On the morning of our meeting I overslept, had no time to style my hair, pulled on a un- ironed top and having dropped my daughter at nursery and leapt on the tube realised that I still had her life-size new born baby dolly wearing a slightly creepy vintage nightie in my bag.
On arrival at the swish hotel the PR standing over my bags clocked the baby and gave me a quizzical look. “What’s with the baby?” she asked. Cue high pitched laughter. Brain says: Don’t get creepy baby out of the bag. Do not show Ken the creepy baby in your bag…
Ken seemed quite unfazed by the creepy baby and even made a joke about it to set me at ease. In fact he turned out to be the nicest, most lovely man ever. Ken was seeing press to talk to them about Color Wow a new hair care range dedicated to colour treated hair including a special root touch up compact that can cover grey or blend in grown out colour. He showed me pictures of his mum using the product on her roots and waxed lyrical about the entire collection of products. By the time we had finished chatting I was making mental notes to enquire about buying shares in the company.
At one point Ken reached across, touched my hair and said “You know you have such great texture to your hair – I would love to just add some definition and it would look totally amazing.”
This is hairdresser code for: Dear God, I cannot be seen sitting next to a woman with hair that looks like an electrocuted bath mat – I must do something to rectify this situation immediately.
Simultaneously mortified that Ken is about to make contact with my crispy hair and elated that I am going to be transformed by a hair legend, I follow him into a walk-in cupboard where ironically the hotel keeps its crisps. Ken and the lovely Giles Robinson (John Frieda Senior Stylist and Colorwow hair ambassador) tong my hair until we are asked to leave by the hotel manager who points out that we are in a food storage area. No matter. My hair is already transformed and Ken is beaming at his handy work. I love him. Oh, and I even managed to ask him some questions.
Did you always know you wanted to be a hairdresser?
All my friends would wake up to find their Barbies with completely different hair and I was perming my friends’ hair from the age of nine. My brother used to say to me, “You can’t do that – you’re much too young!”, but I didn’t care.
You’ve been doing Victoria Beckham’s Hair for quite a while now – since she had the crop.
Yes, I started doing her hair when she was growing out the crop and we did go shorter at one point but since then we’ve been keeping it long and soft. It’s always about creating that soft, ethereal feel – that’s what we’re going for at the moment.
Do you keep an eye on your celebrity clients to make sure their hair is looking good when you’re not around?
I do keep an eye out. I saw a picture of Eva hugging some friends on the red carpet the other day so I texted her to please stop hugging and messing up the hair!
How do you divide your time between your celebrity clients?
Well, I have people from my team who do their hair when i can’t do it. I’m always travelling and my schedule is crazy at the moment so I can’t always be there.
Do they ever have hissy fits that you can’t be there for them?
No, they are all really lovely people and they totally understand. They are really supportive. I would definitely keep my schedule clear for a really special occasion though.
What has been your career highlight?
I’ve done a lot of work with Orprah Winfrey giving real women make-overs and that has been incredibly rewarding and taught me so much. I got to a point in my career where I felt really bad that I was part of an industry that often makes women feel bad about themselves by preying on their insecurities and i wanted to turn that around and find ways to help all women feel confident and good about themselves. That’s what my book You are Beautiful is about and one of the reasons that I really love Colorwow.
(NB this conversation is entirely from memory – the baby ate my notepad.)
After this Ken goes off to style Victoria’s hair for an awards ceremony and I go home to try out the Colorwow root touch up which is excellent and read Ken’s new book which makes me shed a little tear. I have renamed the baby Ken-doll. That’s not creepy is it?
This is like eyeshadow for your hair. It covers up grey hair and blends even the most outrageous root regrowth. I tried the mid brown colour and thought it was excellent.