In 2014, it seems like there is more emphasis on the enhancement of physical appearance than ever before. But there are some in the beauty industry more concerned with bringing out the inner beauty that we already possess. Hair stylist and makeup artist Toni McKnight is one of those people. I recently caught up with Toni and chatted about how she got her start and got the scoop on what it’s like to be a hair stylist and makeup artist in the DMV. Check out the interview below.
Keyauna Chantel: How long have you been a hair stylist/makeup artist?
Toni McKnight: I’ve only been licensed for 2 years but I’ve been doing this since I was a kid.
Keyauna: What made you decide to become a hair stylist/makeup artist?
Toni: I used to watch VHS tapes at my Aunt Kermeys’ house as a child and I became fascinated with creating different hairstyles and playing in makeup. I was like an artist with a blank canvas, I could create whatever I felt at that moment.
Keyauna: Do you work from a salon, independently or both?
Toni: I’ve previously worked in a salon but its hard to get other people see your vision. So I’ve branched out on my own and I’m launching my mobile salon.
C: How has being from the Washington, DC area influenced your creativity as a stylist/makeup artist?
Toni: OMG! DC has some of THEE most creative hairstyles ever. I’m from SE, DC and we take pride in being creative and innovative when it comes to hairstyles. Sometimes we can be a little ambitious but you’ve gotta respect our fearlessness.
Keyauna: What has been the most interesting client experience you’ve had?
Toni: I had a client who HATED wearing makeup, so she never wore it. After I finished with her, I gave her the mirror and she literally cried. She looked amazing and she was finally able to express her internal beauty on the outside. She even made me cry!! Lol I would say that had to be the most interesting moment.
Keyauna: Have you ever had a bad client experience?
Toni: Absolutely. I had a woman bring her son to the salon and it was terrible! He kept crying and trying to get up from the shampoo bowl, it was a horrible experience. I ended up throwing some simple straight backs cornrows in his hair and she hated it. She never came back to me. Lol That’s definitely one client I’m not mad I lost.
Keyauna: If you could style and do the makeup of any celebrity who would it be?
Toni: There are a couple of people but I would love for Kelly Rowland to be my first. She’s so naturally pretty and she can rock any hairstyle plus she seems super sweet with good energy.
Keyauna: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since becoming a hair stylist/makeup artist?
Toni: What you want/like isn’t always what your client is into. Just because you can see them from a different angle…they have certain comfort levels so you can try but don’t force your opinion because it’ll turn them off. You have to take the time to understand each of your clients individually and respect their boundaries. Everybody isn’t edgy, some of us are conservative. Basically, learn your clients.
Keyauna: Tell people how they can find you…website, social media, etc.
Toni: My website is currently under construction but you can follow me on Instagram @HairPeaceDC, Facebook @HairPeaceDC, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keyauna: Is there anything you’d like to share that we haven’t covered?
Toni: I do this because I get to see women in a different light. By the time they get up from that chair, they have transformed not only physically but internally as well. It’s a beautiful thing. Women handle and deal with so much on a daily basis so I attempt to make their moments away count, hence the name HairPeaceDC.