While it can be hard to be the youngest in a room of Legends, Brooklyn-based Kessia Randolph is not afraid to take risks and learn. At just 23 years old, Kessia has made her mark as a coveted hair stylist; she's worked with brands like Marc Jacobs and PUMA, and styled celebs like Young Thug and Bella Hadid. Beyond travelling the world for fashion shows and major campaigns, Kessia is a LA girl who loves to read, being surrounded by close friends, and travel.
We got to catch up with Kessia and talk about her favorite jobs to date, how she spends her downtime and her favorite hair trends. Check out her interview below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to where you are now…
I grew up in LA and eventually moved to NYC when I was 17. I had some friends just move to NYC from South Africa, and they needed some help with their kids so I worked as their nanny for the year. After the year was over, I decided to stay in NYC and figure out what I was going to do!
You moved to NYC to pursue a career in fashion at FIT. At what moment did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career as a hairstylist instead?
When I was at FIT, I had a friend who was a stylist assistant and he asked me if I wanted to help him assist on a shoot for W mag. I was hella excited and said yes immediately. While I was on set, I started talking to the hair assistant. I had grown up in and around salons, as my aunt is a hairdresser, but this was different. I kept in contact with her and would constantly ask questions about how she started and how I could get in. From there, I decided to stop at FIT and start going to hair school.
What are some of the most exciting places your job has taken you?
Paris, Milan, London and Montreal would probably be the coolest places outside of the states that I've traveled to for work. Each of these cities are really dope in their own way. During the summer, we are always shooting somewhere on the beach, usually in Montauk or The Hamptons,
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a hairstylist?
Probably the relationships I build with people. I think it's really dope that I'm in the position that I'm in; someone doing your hair is such a personal thing, both physically and emotionally. I love that I can connect with people through what I love to do. It’s also really cool to see people recognize things that I've done and try the styles out on themselves. I’ve had a few girls tag me in their IG photos repeating styles that I've done.
Being so young in an industry with so many OG’s - has this ever been intimidating or challenging for you?
Most Definitely. I’m still usually the youngest one on set. In the beginning, I used to be super intimidated - and still am at times - but I’ve learned to just go with it. I find that being younger, I still constantly want to please, which can be a good thing. I feel like I work 10x harder to defy expectations. Working with people who have been in fashion for years is really cool, and I try to look at it as a learning experience rather than letting my fear take over.
Between fashion shows and shooting campaigns, what kinds of projects do you enjoy styling the most?
Right now, I'm into the shows. Probably because there is always a full look and something different at every show. I love the pace that we work at and the high energy that shows bring. It's a crazy environment, but I'm 23. I like crazy!
“Keep people around you that will push you towards success... Get good at talking to people and continuously work at your craft. Being kind and thoughtful towards people can make more of a note in their head than you may think."
You worked on the PUMA campaign with Young Thug and Rae Sremmurd. Tell us about that experience…
It was so dope! I listen to both Young Thug and Rae Sremmurd, so I was super excited to hear that I would be working with them. YT is super low maintenance; we had a pretty easy day. At one point, a whole bunch of kids started following us and he talked to the kids and took pictures with almost everyone. It was hella dope.
Rae Sremmurd - Jimmy and Sway - are like rock stars. When they walk into the room, you can feel their energy before you even see them. I didn't feel like I was working all day. We had so much fun. They made everyone super hype, even the people on set who had never heard of them.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey thus far?
Be a team player. The most successful people that I've met and respect have all been team players. I've really learned that none of the work that I've done would have been possible without all the people around me, working with me.
Also, I’ve learned to constantly work hard. There are times when I've been super uninspired to do a project, but I push through it just so I don't allow myself to get into the habit of not producing content. I've said yes to a lot of jobs just because they were friends' projects or favors, and those are usually ones I learn the most from.
What are some of your favorite looks right now?
I’m loving the kind of modern rendition of the Mod '60s look that’s coming back. All the different shapes with hair, and the soft pastel eyeshadows. The look of the '60s woman is so classic and simple, yet so prominently stated. Thom Brown's SS17 collection was super dope; the show was full of color and sophistication. A lot of the girls had a version of the classic Bridgette Bardot. Girls with curls left their hair natural, and I loved it.
What can we find you doing during your down time?
Although I work with people all the time, I just like to be out and around my friends every chance I get. I'm usually in Sunset Park hanging out at my friend's cafe, Parlay, or I'm out at a homie's gig, dancing to whatever kind of music they're playing that night.
What advice would you give to aspiring hairstylists trying to break out in the industry?
Work hard, stay inspired. Keep people around you that will push you towards success. Constantly stay on your feet and be open to different projects or jobs. Get good at talking to people and continuously work at your craft. Being kind and thoughtful towards people can make more of a note in their head than you may think. Don't be afraid to reach out to the agencies and/or people that you want to work with. I can't tell you how many times I've emailed agencies to ask if there was an opportunity to assist their artists. Always stay open to learning - about your craft and yourself!
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is a platform that strongly encourages women to thrive and celebrates their individuality. MISSBISH gives women a space to be unapologetically truthful, and inspires others by doing so.
Photos by: Shaun Castillon