Los Angeles native and famed hairstylist Kim Berry has been on the road with the late global icon Prince, as his personal hairstylist for the last 28 years. So, if anyone outside of his family knew the real Prince, it’s her. Being that she was one of his most trusted peoples in the world. In a recent phone interview RESPECT. Magazine discusses a variety different topics, which includes her life growing up, future plans, and how she plans to continue to honor Prince. We hope that you as readers enjoy this interview as much as we enjoyed it. Check out what Berry had to say below.
RESPECT.: What were some of the experiences you had to endure while growing up in South Central Los Angeles during the 1980s-1990s?
During this time I was attending high school, I actually graduated in 1987. Life was good, I had a great family. My father was very family-oriented. We would always have barbecues and all of my friends were always at the “Kool-Aid House” as we called it. My father loved to supply people with food; in fact, he was an owner of a hamburger stand. So, after school, I would always walk all of the kids to hamburger stand to make sure everyone had at least a meal that day. My mom would take all of us to church and to the movies in the station wagon. Sometimes we would have 20 kids at one time filing out of the station wagon, but we made sure everyone made it to their destination.
RESPECT.: What were some of your hopes and dreams as an adolescent?
I wanted to originally to become a doctor after I finished high school. My plan was to take a year off after graduating, which my mother agreed to at first, but after two months my mother said, “Check this out. You have three options: get a job, go to school, or get the hell out of my house.” Naturally, I was shocked, because originally we agreed that I would take the year off and go back to school later. But my mother said, “No ma’am you are not going to sit around,” and of course I got up and walked off. The next day, I walked into Pacific Beauty College of L.A. and didn’t know two years later I would be working for the one-and-only Prince.
RESPECT.: When did you decide you want to pursue a career as a cosmetologist?
Like I said, I didn’t really decide that I wanted a career as a cosmetologist, I planned on a taking a year off and wanted to become a doctor.
RESPECT.: Who were some of your biggest influencers growing up?
My parents. In addition to them, I followed the hottest hairdressers at the time; Andre Edwards, David Williams, and they called themselves the “Hair Gangsters”. They would travel all over the world and compete in many different competitions. I studied their work, because I wanted to be just like them.
RESPECT.: Is there anyone you consider a mentor at this point of career?
Paul Mitchell and Doris Mosley, I really want to be on their level with hair products. Actually, Prince and I started our own hair line of products and I want to finish what we started.
RESPECT.: What do you plan for the rest of 2016?
We as a collective of Prince are planning on turning his home Paisley Park into a Museum. So, I’m happy to be a part of this project and finishing our hair products along with photoshoots and event through the rest of the year.
RESPECT.: Aside from Prince is there any other notable clients you are currently working with?
Comedian Katt Williams, DJ Quik, and actress Wendy Raquel Robinson.
RESPECT.: Can you tell us something positive about Prince that the world might not have known about him?
Yes! Prince was an incredibly compassionate person and he was always giving back to the community behind the scenes. That was something no one knew about him. In fact, I had a friend whose son passed away and she didn’t have the finances to bury him. Prince actually paid for the funeral out of his own pocket so she didn’t have to worry about anything. When the Minneapolis Bridge collapsed (2007) Prince hand-delivered one million dollars to every family that lost their loved ones! In addition, he would give money to strangers on the street that were out late at night and made sure that they had food to eat.
RESPECT.: Is there a current project that you are involved to help his legacy life on?
I have a book that I’m writing about Prince and of course the Paisley Park museum project and the hair product line that Prince and I were developing.
RESPECT.: When your career is completed what are some of the traits you would like to be remember for?
Being a nurturer and somebody always willing to help others. I know this can be seen as a weakness, but I know God will deliver me my crown when I get to heaven. As for anyone that takes advantage of my kindness, they will have to deal with Him at the end of the day.
RESPECT.: Finally where can we find you on social media ?
Twitter, Facebook @KimBOnSet and Instagram KimBOnSet 2