RESPECT. Interview: Celebrity Hair Stylist, Sherdon Lavan
RESPECT.: What excites you about designing hair styles?
It’s just an opportunity to transform, recreate and you’re building a look from scratch. In some cases, for people looking for something new or to just feel good. It excites me whether I’m in the salon or on set.
RESPECT.: How many years have you been working in the industry?
I actually transitioned into the beauty industry after a nearly 20-year career in the corporate world. Shocking, right?? But I knew that there was another calling for me and I didn’t want to look back and have any regrets. Everyone has a purpose and I feel like I stepped into mine 8 years ago.
RESPECT.: When did you decide to become a cosmetologist?
In my heart, I have always been a hair stylist! I just wasn’t practicing it. Long story short, one day after a business trip, this was a Sunday, and I’m looking around my office and thinking to myself this is not what I want to do for the rest of life. So, I finally decided to take the leap of faith and follow my dream.
RESPECT.: Where did you attend cosmetology school?
I actually attended Marinello School of Beauty, here in Los Angeles. I was fortunate enough to attend with some young and very talented instructors that not only prepared you for the state board exam but also taught you techniques beyond the basics. I was able to attract clients even before I finished at Marinello. In addition, once I finished I continued my education through advanced classes and interning.
RESPECT.: How was it working with musician/actress, Katrina Law during her Most Mag cover shoot and can you describe her personality?
Katrina is wonderful! She is actually a good friend of mine. But as far as the Most Mag cover shoot goes, we shot over the course of two days and it was a really amazing opportunity to work with her. Katrina has a fun, kind and easy going personality. As a matter fact, I will be working with her this week on another shoot. In addition, we recently completed a music video for her album and the song is called “Ghost Town.” Finally, she just signed on for an upcoming show on CBS called, Training Day. She has some amazing things happening and I couldn’t be more proud and happy for her.
RESPECT.: Can you tell us how it was working behind the scenes with the all-star line up for the movie, Grandma’s House?
You know when you have those moments in your life where you start to see your hard work really paying off? I can say my career has been very progressive. I would definitely say I have put in my work, so when you have the opportunity to work with people like Loretta Devine, whose work you really admired as a kid, but to see it up close is nothing short of a blessing. Loretta Devine is very funny!! I would say the same about Wendy Raquel Robinson. Coco is a sweet young lady. Jazsmin Lewis, who I have worked with ever since meeting on the set of Grandma’s House and styling her for various events, (including her recent appearance on Kocktails with Khloé) has become a very good friend, as well. I also had the opportunity to work with Paige Hurd post-shooting the movie. I really enjoyed being able to see all of this great talent in their element. I would say it’s one of the best experiences of my career.
RESPECT.: How often do you receive calls to work with client’s last minute before an event?
As my career has advanced, I have had my share and it depends on how realistic the timing is. I have been presented with situations where I’ve had to be someplace within an hour of the call for an event happening that evening. You just roll with the punches.
RESPECT.: Can you be reached by appointment only or you take walk in from the general public as well?
I prefer appointment only because it allows me to give my clients the time and attention they deserve from me. Now, I won’t say I have not taken walk-ins. A month ago, a young lady walks in fully dressed for an event she was attending that evening and just needed her hair curled. After a long day, I was decompressing, sitting in my chair but pulled it together to give her what she needed. So, I’m not entirely opposed, I just prefer having appointments.
RESPECT.: Can you describe the atmosphere of being backstage at a major event like Los Angeles Fashion week or the BET Awards?
It is very electric and with recently being on the red carpet with Jazsmin Lewis for the Barbershop 3 premiere, all of your senses are on high alert – making sure that not one hair is out of place before she takes a photo or is interviewed. In some instances, you might have to learn new techniques on the fly. During LA Fashion Week, I had never created a hair bow before, but I learned that day, and of course, it was the lead model in the show. So much pressure! Being backstage is electric, fast-paced, hectic, and scary. I won’t lie. But it’s a sensational experience.
RESPECT.: What has been your favorite event to be involved with?
I can’t really say that I have a favorite, but I can tell about standouts. There was a young jazz singer who was nominated for a Grammy named Chaney Simms. I also worked with actress/producer, Angeline-Rose Troy for the Emmy’s twice, and again, working with Jazsmin Lewis for the Barbershop 3 premiere. Very memorable experiences, indeed.
RESPECT.: Is there anyone in the industry that you see as your contemporaries?
I would have to say, Damien Carney, who is one of the top hair stylists in the world. I met him quite a few years ago and at the time he was the creative director at Joico. I worked as his assistant for several projects. That professional relationship has turned into a solid friendship over the years.
RESPECT.: Finally, what was your impression of the late Prince?
First of all, it is a tremendous loss to the music industry, because you just don’t see that type of musical genius anymore. Prince reminds me of Little Richard because they both pushed the envelope of sexuality – both were before their time. Prince was able to play every instrument and wrote some of the most iconic songs of our time. It’s a huge and sad loss for the world. He’ll be tremendously missed.