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Ken Paves: Making Of A Celebrity Hair Superstar!


Since the time I was a small child I always knew when I met someone that would become significant in my life because my stomach would do a quick little flip.

Over the course of my lifetime my stomach has signaled the arrival of lifelong best friends, great business partners and special loves.

Cameron Electra, Ken Paves & Jessica Simpson Operation Smile Event 9/24/03

Courtesy Ken Paves All Rights Reserved

Such was the case when I first met Ken Paves in Dallas, Texas on a hot summer day while he performed superhuman hair tricks on the beautiful blonde tresses of Jessica Simpson.

Truth be told, I was invited into the closed Seventeen Magazine shoot, for a five minute interview with the still single pop star. While I did manage to choke out a few lame questions for the very beautiful and gracious songstress - my stomach flipped when I spotted the hair whiz as he literally flew through the room brushing, combing, smoothing, fluffing and tousling at warp speeds.

Leaping Over Crouching Cameraman

From that first moment when I watched him leap over a crouching cameraman to rescue Jess from a rogue strand I was hooked by this iconoclastic hairstyling innovator.

After spending several hours watching Ken whip Jessica's hair into a dizzying array of stunning styles, I felt like we were destined to work together on other projects. And so began my good fortune to become a fly on the wall of Ken Paves' life as he ascended the throne of Celebrity Hair Superstar.

Ironically, when I first met Ken, it was still technically the early days of Jessica's career. Although the beautiful blonde was preparing for her upcoming Fall wedding to Nick, she had not yet filmed a single episode of the reality show that made her a household name, had not uttered her famous chicken or tuna and had not yet achieved the fantastic fame that she now enjoys.

Although he had been working with many A list celebrities when I met Ken, his star also was still on the rise. One of the topics we discussed was the fact that he had just finished his first show with Oprah.

At that point he had not opened his famous Detroit salon, had not launched his best selling hair care line and was still living behind the scenes.

Out Of The Shadows

Ken Paves

Courtesy Ken Paves All Rights Reserved

Ken's appearances with Jessica on The Newylweds in combination with his ongoing brilliant makeover work on Oprah pushed the hair guru out of the shadows into the public eye. Soon he was being quoted in InStyle, Allure, Star and US Weekly.

As the viewing public watched Ken's brilliant hairdressing work with Jessica and his other major stars, he became a household name. Images of Ken with Jessica became commonplace. Soon he became a major celebrity in his own right, followed everywhere by paparazzi.

His Detroit salon was featured in Celebrity Living Magazine and recently People Magazine did a feature on the hairdresser that some of his celebrity clients are calling "the Vidal Sassoon of his era".

When I think back on the historical moments that Ken shared with me I have too many great memories to list in just one article.

If I was pressed to list some of the best times I would have to say that Carmen Electra's wedding day was one of those fairy tale moments. Ken called me from his cell as he prepared to coif the beautiful celebrity for her wedding day. Even though I wasn't there in person, Ken shared some of his time on that special day with me and I actually felt like I was living vicariously through Ken's eyes. I had goose bumps throughout the entire conversation.

Another great memory was when Ken called me literally in the middle night as he worked with Carmen for a magazine shoot. The adorable and very sweet star was calling out message to me via Ken who was chatting with me on the cell.

Of course another memorable moment was when Ken invited me to Beverly Hills recently where he arranged for me to be the only press person present for a top secret shoot with one of his uber famous clients. I spent four days with Ken and Team Paves.

Assuming the Karen Shelton Fly On The Wall pose I was so focused on not missing an entire event that Ken would spot me furiously scribbling notes and would call out, in true Ken Paves mode "Karen Shelton - step away from that notepad".

The Real Truth About Ken Paves

Ashlee Simpson & Ken Paves

Courtesy Ken Paves All Rights Reserved

Over the years I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with Kenney.

So much has been written about him in the media that you probably know a lot of surface fluff and facts about this famous man.

But do you really know the man behind the fabulous hair designs, perfect blonde highlights and long lean physique?

What is he really like? Ken is first and foremost a brilliantly creative artist whose canvas just happens to be hair.

So what drives this man? He is driven by his need to help all of his clients, whether Hollywood stars or housewives, release their true inner beauty. He wants women to love themselves and to feel pretty and happy.

Yes, he is an unabashed workaholic who is also a perfectionist. But this genius hairdresser is not about Ken Paves. He is about his clients, his family, his friends and his "kids" who are part of the many charities he supports. I was actually surprised to discover that Ken Paves is also humble and still gets a case of nerves when working with a new high profile client.

Of course this is craziness since I have watched Ken Paves doing amazing hair designs in a matter of minutes while in the middle of a hurricane of activity. Although he makes his hairstyles look simple, in reality, they are often very complex creations that appear to have been created in an instant.

Ken Paves 2007

Image by Trae Patton Courtesy of Bravo Network - All Rights Reserved

When a celebrity is lucky enough to book time with Ken Paves, and yes, this can be a challenge in Hollywood, she has 1000% of his attention. Ken flips off his cell phone and gives his total attention to his client of the moment.

Honestly, if I ever needed any type of delicate surgery, I would want to hire Ken to supervise the surgeon. His eagle eye misses no detail - however small and he is a perfectionist. Even though he might not know his way around the operating room, if I hired him to be "my guy", he would make absolutely sure that everything was done properly, or Ken would be asking some very pointed questions.

One thing that has always impressed me about Ken is his undying loyalty and his overwhelming kindness. Ken Paves is not driven to be famous. He is driven to make a difference in the world and to selflessly give of himself.

Yes, Ken has his faults, as do all humans. This super busy man has been known to abruptly hang up on me, which has evolved into our private joke over the years. I never take offense and have even learned to beat him to the hang up punch.

One of his other human traits is that he hates to ever let anyone down, which results in him working too hard and always taking "just one more hair client" even though it may be midnight. Ken is devoted to his mom and his family and his beloved animals. He has a heart of gold and sincerely cares.

If I was dishing dirt on Ken Paves, the worst thing I could say about him is that he works too hard, he pushes himself too much and he has a hard time saying no to the many requests for his time and attention.


Like many successful top players, Ken Paves has a reputation as a formidable hairdresser that can literally spin straw strands into golden tresses in record time. His almost singular devotion to his clients is legendary.

Note: All Paves Hair and Beauty related products are available in the Marketplace.

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- Revised Publication Date: 05/25/10

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