KIYAH WRIGHT: I started in the entertainment industry working with Puffy. I was a hairstylist from the day I graduated from hair school, which was 17. It sprawled into me working with celebrities and all of that.
HH: How did you meet Puffy?
KW: I met him just really hanging out at the clubs and partying in DC. He went to Howard University and I knew some of his friends from New York. They would come and hang out at the college and that turned into ‘hey I’m about to get this record label, you should do my artists hair.’ That’s when I decided to move.
HH: What would you say was the defining moment of your career?
KW: The defining moment is when I won that Emmy. When you win an Emmy, the game changes because your credibility goes up. I was hoping one day somebody would thank me and, lo and behold, years later I was the person on stage getting thanked. That was the defining moment.
HH: Who would you say is your favorite client?
KW: That’s not fair. I had a really good run which is why I spend most of my time with my celebrities for such a long period of time. I was with Ciara for 6 years, Gabrielle [Union] for 13 years, Jennifer Hudson for 7 years, and Tyra [Banks] for 6 years, and won two Emmys. I have something about all of them that I really do love. I love Tyra for her business ethics and she doesn’t break when it comes to working hard and showing up. She shows up with no excuses. I love Kerry Washington for her level of perfection and true artistry. She’s the truth when it comes to her craft. Jennifer Hudson’s a genius when it comes to hard work and her voice is impeccable. I’ve been around nothing but winners and there’s so much influence around me that made me who I am today.
HH: What do you think caused you to follow your dream?
KW: Being on my own at a very early age. My mother passed away when I was about 14 and it really changed the game for me. You’re really out here on your own and you have some things you have to accomplish. When I met Puffy and he got me into the music industry, I didn’t know what that was about but I was always prepared for the ride.