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Ken Paves: Hairless In LA


Life in celebrity hairdresser Ken Paves' world is never dull. In fact, it is always incredibly fascinating, no matter how crazed, intense or madcap. Sometimes, when the stars are properly aligned, the cell gods are benefic and the moon is in just the right phase, I will be unexpectedly blessed with a random phone call from Ken.

A call from Ken, no matter what time of the day or night, is almost always a surreal experience. He can be calling from just about any location imaginable, from LA to New York, or even Europe. Many times, like a scene from an I Love Lucy television episode, he is immersed in some sort of crazy adventure, which his life, as a celebrity hairdresser routinely entails.

Because Ken is always so open and willing to share an instant snapshot of his life, I often feel as if I have been instantly transported into space and time to share in his moment of adventure.

Last night was one of those beam-me-up-Ken moments. The minute I heard his animated, always cheery voice, on the other end of my cell, I knew he was on a crazy hair mission. "Where are you?" I yelled, over the booming CD strains of Jessica Simpson in the background. "KS, I am driving around LA completely lost and trying to find hair for Jessica and Nick's new variety show."

"What Kenny? Did you say you were trying to find hair?" I laughed. "Yes KS (as he always calls me), I had to run out because I didn't have enough hair wefts for the show. I ran out of hair" he replied. "But now", he wailed, "I am completely lost and can't find my way back to the studio where Jessica and Nick are".

Believe it or not, this was not the first time that Kenny had called to report that he was out searching for late night hair wefts, not something you can just pick up at the local 7-11 like a Coke. Not only had Kenny reported during previous phone conversations that he was desperately searching for hair, during the wee hours, but many times he would announce that he was completely and hopelessly lost.

Once, in the past, he had landed in LA, from Detroit in the predawn hours of a Sunday morning for a Cosmopolitan cover shoot, without hair or any of his styling tools. On that particular day, he called me and we had a similar frenzied chat while he drove around LA trying to locate hair, a blow dryer and styling tools for a cover shoot.

Of course it is always completely impossible for me to remain deadly serious when Ken shares his latest hilarious lost-in-LA-without-hair saga. On one hand I have total empathy for his plight. After all, Los Angeles is not exactly a small or easy city to travel through. But even still, his descriptions of his latest episodes in celebrity hairdressing almost always have me laughing hysterically.

Last night was no exception as I succumbed to major chuckling. "KS, why are you laughing"? He asked. Then before I could even answer, he started talking in his rapid fire delivery about a million things all at once.

He told me he had "to put the phone down to get directions", all the while chatting with me in the background while talking with someone else about how to get to the illusive studio. Meanwhile, he proceeded to explain that he was maneuvering his car into a U Turn with his cell bouncing freeform on the seat next to him, as he worked his six shift in his zippy little sports car. He continued to chatter away a million miles a minute about this and that. I listened carefully trying hard not to interrupt, even though he was alternately asking me questions and changing the topics at the speed of lightning, before I could even answer. Or think of an intelligent response.

In a span of mere seconds I learned that he had recently been asked to become the official celebrity hairdresser for a world class beauty line, he was scheduled to do a hot new hair design project with Pamela (as in Anderson), he had been invited to be the guest hair and beauty editor for one of the biggest fashion mags of all time, just finished doing an infomercial with Victoria (as in Principle) and had been invited to write a celebrity column for a major media player. My head was spinning with all the incredible news but the details were spilling out of him faster that I could think of what questions to ask.

Instantly jumping topics we proceeded to talk about the various promotions of his new Flawless hair care line (now available at some select Walgreens stores), a future makeover show he was going to do with Oprah, his work on Jessica's latest variety show and the fact that I had recently talked with his chemist, personal assistant, press agent and management agency about a variety of subjects ranging from his work on celebrity brides to his coiffure of Kim's (as in Cattrall) tresses on Oscar night.

Although it seemed like we had been on the phone for hours, in reality it had only been a few minutes. The instant his voice changed pitch and started to speed up I knew I was about to be beamed back to earth. Sure enough, his predictable words echoed through the phone as he mumbled "I've got to go KS, I found the studio" and then he said our standard farewell of "click, dial tone" and he was gone, off into the night.

I looked down and scattered across my desk was a flurry of little Postit notes full of my frenzied Ken Paves scribblings. Since I never know when he will suddenly appear on my cell phone's caller ID, I always keep a stash of little stickies available for frantic note taking. As I scanned the pile of little DayGlo yellow notes I realized that there was enough notations to keep me busy transcribing my notes for days to come.

So, who was that masked man? And even more importantly, did he ever get his hair? Or was he still hairless and searching in LA? Only time and the Universe will ever know for sure.

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