I have also met people who I believed would be my trusted friends for life only to experience some sort of heart breaking betrayal over their actions. You know the drill, your best friend tries to sleep with your guy or steals your credit card. I've been there, done that.
I was very naive about friendship until I hit my 30s and realized that like everything else in life it requires ongoing commitment, caring and communication. When those ingredients are missing...well the friendship doesn't usually endure.
At this point in my life I have several "dear friends" who have been in my life for many many years. I am very grateful for that blessing.
Which brings me to Ken Paves who is world famous as a celebrity hairdresser. As the story goes I met Ken Paves at a Dallas shoot for Seventeen Magazine with Jessica Simpson in 2002. It was love at first sight for me. I was mesmerized by his amazing hairstyling talent and his undying devotion to Jessica. I admired his loyalty to the beautiful star and her entire family. I had no doubt that he would move heaven and earth to be there for her or for any of her loved ones.
Ken is not an act. He is the real deal. A Midwestern boy who has worked hard to achieve all of his dreams.
Indeed, over the past 6 years I had watched Ken be there for Jessica through life's many ups and downs. His loyalty has never wavered an inch. Yes, Ken is her hairdresser but it's more than that. As any of his celebrity clients will tell you, Ken goes the extra mile for his clients regardless of the personal cost. He becomes their trusted and true friend. Would he ever dish about any of his beloved clients? No and if someone tried to force him, he would rather have his tongue cut out before he would spill. I know this for a fact after all these years.
Ken would stand in front of a moving truck to protect any of his "girls" including Jess, Ashlee, Eva, Carmen....and on and on.
In his role as her long time hairdresser Ken has come under attack sometimes by the media and the blogosphere. It makes me angry to see my friend unfairly mocked or ridiculed because he is indeed a great hairdresser, a great person and a true friend.
Yes I know it's the price of fame but it still saddens me because I know that many people would have a different opinion of Ken if they spent just one hour with him. Yeah, he is a big celebrity, he has a posse and he travels with ease in the world of other fame and fortune.
But and this is a big but, Ken is a real human under the glitz and glam. He cares so much for the charities he supports. I have seen him stop and talk to little girls in wheelchairs just to make them smile. And there was not a camera or reporter in sight.
After I wrote my first article about Ken in 2002 he sent me a stunning necklace as a thank you gift. Trust me, this is a rare event. Even though I have literally written about hundreds of hair and beauty experts over the past ten years, only a handful have sent so much as a thank you note. Most don't even acknowledge my work on their behalf, even though it helps them. I am used to it and don't take it personally. That's the celeb biz.
Ken was different. This very busy man personally shopped for the necklace he gave me which I still have and cherish to this day.
Meanwhile he has been a true friend to me over the years. When he first released his first hair care line some years ago he invited me to New York to be there for the release party. As a starving web entrepreneur with a chronically ill husband I honestly did not have the funds for a trip to NYC. Ken offered to pay my way "as his treat" so I could "be there and hang out with him". I was touched beyond words but felt bad (I'm Catholic) accepting his generosity and declined. He was beyond gracious and understanding.
Ken also invited me into his family circle which includes his beloved mom Helen and his life partner Fred. He has also introduced me to his nieces, nephews and some of his celeb clients.
I have hung out with Ken's Mom Helen and Fred and they are "good people" with incredible hearts. Helen will fly around the globe at a moment's notice to support her son and his many charities. Fred has gone above and beyond to help me with projects I was working on through Ken (model makeovers at the Beverly Hills salon) many times. I adore them both. They are all fantastic people.
When my beloved husband Michael died suddenly in 2005 Ken was there for me from the minute I phoned him. He was so thoughtful and compassionate. Ken and Jessica arranged for me to come to LA and hang out with them "behind the scenes" for the first HairDo photo shoot. They wanted to cheer me up and indeed, the trip definitely lightened my grief. Ken made me laugh...doing push-ups and dancing around the shoot's hair room.
Ken checks in on me whenever he can and we have had an ongoing cell phone/text messaging relationship for years due to his unbelievably crazy traveling schedule. He never forgets about me and gives me the latest hair scoops whenever he can break away for a few minutes. I appreciate every note he sends me and have saved all of them over the years.
Ken also kept his promise to include me in a special project that we had been talking about for years, since the first day we met in Dallas. He defended me to the project team putting the project together and then to my amazement, went to bat for me in ways that only a true friend would do. I was touched beyond words.
When the project fell apart (as Hollywood projects often do) I told Ken I was totally fine with what had happened and not upset in the least (and I wasn't). I thanked him for even considering me and tried to let him know that I still valued him as one of my dearest friends. At that time Ken told me he was going to talk to me about what happened and be completely honest with me about what had transpired. He did as he promised.
A year whizzed by as Ken continued to promote HairDo, work with his many famous clients and release his Healthy Hair line (which is amazing ). We talked recently in passing about his new Healthy Hair® Color Drops®.
He kept in touch as he had always done before even after everything. The topic of the project was over and we stopped talking about it. True friendship weathers disappointments and so did ours.
Out of the blue I received a phone call today from Ken who told me how badly he felt about the cancelled project. He told me he had felt like he left me down (he didn't) and he wanted to make it up to me (no need - really - I understood that not everything always works out).
The reality of the situation was that Ken could have gone on and done the project without me. I know that for a fact. Afterall, he is the worldwide celebrity, not me. Yet, he held out until he could include me. He even walked away from the previous project because I was not included after the initial talks.
WOW. I was stunned. This is truly a man who honors his word and gives 1000% to his friends. I am still stunned by his big heart and sincerity. This man owes me nothing. Yet he has done so much to enrich my life.
Who could have guessed that a major celebrity like Ken Paves would be such an amazing human being - even better - a dear and true friend.
I am truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to have Ken Paves in my life for the past six years. And no, he has never done my hair for me although I know without a doubt he would if I had asked. No doubt.To Ken Paves wherever you are - Click/Dial Tone and much love!
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