Features

Friday Feature: Larry Sims

Larry Sims is undeniably one of the hottest hairstylists in the entertainment business today. His clients have ranged from Victoria Beckham, Queen Latifah, Gabrielle Union, and Mary J. Blige to Lupita Nyong’o and on.  His work has been showcased on the most glamorous red carpets.  We will never forget Lupita’s iconic Moment at the Oscar’s last year — his work has created trends that last for years. Who could forget the Victoria Beckham bob that gave us all the dire need to have an A-line bob moment? Larry still remains incredibly humble and driven to work harder than ever.

We had the opportunity to hang with Larry at his home sipping on alkaline water infused with cucumber and mint. Here’s our interview with Larry Sims:

LARRY SIMS

 

THD: How long have you been doing hair?  

Sims:  Naturally for over 20 years, but professionally for probably about 6 years.  I was a dancer professionally for over 15 years.

THD: Is that how you broke easily into the industry – because you were a dancer first? 

Sims: I wouldn’t say easily because I had to start from the bottom. It was actually hard because for people that knew you as a dancer, it was hard to write a check for you that was more money in another field.  I had to prove myself harder: assisting, washing hair, carrying bags. So I wouldn’t say it was easier, no, not initially.

THD: Who did you assist for, how did you get started?

Sims: Well, the person that’s probably the most relevant to this conversation is Ken Paves. I was dancing for Jessica Simpson and her stylist introduced me to Ken. That was it.

THD: Who were your mentors?

Sims:  Ken Paves, as you know, and also Johnny Wright who is now at the White House with Michelle Obama. Ken and I are great supporters of each other. He’s the one that introduced me to Victoria Beckham and that was really my first opportunity that  launched me into everything. Victoria and David were bigger than my career at the time… my career was non- existent. It was really the bob that we gave her.larry simsTHD: OMG! You gave her that bob haircut?  

Sims: Yes, [laughs], it wasn’t that I gave her something new that didn’t exist before…

THD: No, you didn’t invent the bob, but you started a sweeping trend that blew up!

Sims: Yeah, I think it was because she was and still is so iconic, everyone payed attention to her.  These media outlets really plugged into that, Haaper’s Bazar, Vanity Fair — they called me.  They had never done a feature on Larry Sims in their life. In Style Magazine, this blog , that blog.  Everyone wanted to know who Larry Sims was.  She had just moved to the States and it was intended for Ken to work with her, but he was busy with J-Lo, so he handed her to me. It was the first for both of us and she rocked with me for about 3 years solid, until she ended up back with him [Paves]. It was great!  I went on tour with the Spice Girls. She [V. Beckham] put me on all of David’s Armani campaigns, Adidas campaigns, and it just became this thing. They really were the people that opened this huge door for me. It was amazing. Who would have thought?

THD: Do you like traveling with your clients?

Sims: Yes, because the clients I travel with are my friends, also.

THD: Are they your friends from working with them or did you know them before?

Simms: A lot of them were my friends before from dancing and being in the industry.  Like, I knew Gabrielle Union from before I became a professional hairstylist. I met Mary J. Blige before I became a hairstylist, I met Queen Latifah before I became a professional hairstylist. There are so many people that I travel with also that I became friends with after. But I think light attracts light and kindred spirits, so Ive been thankful and grateful that I haven’t had to weed through sour lemons.

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THD: Where’s your favorite place you have been for a job?

Sims: I have so many, wow.  Gabrielle [Union] took me to Paris Fashion Week which was amazing. I got to sit with her in the front row; she was invited by Miu Miu. That’s when I met Lupita, cut to… I ended up up doing her for the Oscars!

THD: OMG, I was obsessed with her and how she looked, you did an amazing job Larry!

Sims: Thank you! It was definitely a game changer.

THD: What is an OMG I can’t believe this is happening moment and how did you fix it?

Sims: I did have a client that my kit didn’t show up and I didn’t have anything.  I was in Texas and I didn’t have time to go to the store and grab anything.  I stopped at Walgreens, bought a mini flat iron, some pins and a comb and gave her a messy ponytail situation.  She was so blown away by my effort to make something happen.  She was really great about it. I’m lucky, I really haven’t had any divas. I only had one situation that a client and I had a miscommunication and it was awful. It was awkward, it was terrible. I think she was just in her head.  She hated it, she really hated it. But she left the house with it and the next day Glamour Magazine deemed it #1 best red carpet look.

THD: Was she humble about it when she saw that? 

Sims:  No, she was like ” oh yeah, I saw that” {laughs}  I never worked with her again.  I think it was mutual.

THD: What would you name the style that your clients seek you out  for? 

Sims:  The beautiful disaster.  Young and modern, yet chic and effortless.  I’m also known for my cuts. I send my girls to Nine Zero One, Nikki and Riawna for color.

THD: Where do you get your inspiration?  

Sims: Thats a good question…I never stop dreaming, you know what I mean?  You know how some people get to that point where they feel like “I made it” or “I’ve done it” “I have arrived”,  I never want to feel like that. When I first started as a hairstylist I had a friend with a 1 bdrm apartment and I slept on his floor for 3 months before I could afford to get an apartment. When I could get an apartment it was from some friends that owned a property on Rodeo, you know on the hood side.  So when you go from that to living in a home in the hills you gotta acknowledge that you have done something for yourself, and when you look around you are reminded of the journey and the gratitude that I have. But what it doesnt do, for me at least, is change the drive because in my mind its easy to go back there. The moment you think you have arrived or you think your 10 steps ahead of the game is when you lose it. So its even more pressure for me now, because I have to maintain this shit, and I have to always top what I did last.  like award season with Lupita or 5 years ago with Victoria, whatever it is you always have to top yourself.  So that keeps me inspired.

THD: Do you ever feel competitive with other hairstylist that might share clients with you?

Sims: I don’t know about them, but me, I’ve never been that guy.  Ted Gibson and I share Lupita. We always mention eachother in the press, always give eachother high fives. I always made sure I spoke highly of him in interviews, because I didnt want to get the full credit for something that he might of done.  Same with Kim Kimble, same with Kiyah Wright, we big each other up, we shout each other out. These are heavy hitters in the industry. I dont know if anyone has been petty with me, but from my perspective, no.

THD: What’s your favorite moment with a client?

Sims: Lupita for the Oscars.  Beyond Victoria {Beckham}, beyond anything else I’ve achieved.  When I’m long and gone that will be a moment in history that cant be erased, and my name will always be cemented as the guy that was with Lupita when she won that iconic award. You know I talk to my friend Johnny Wright about how he has sacrificed so much to be in the white house- but when he’s gone from there, he will be in history books. For me, Lupita on the red carpet for the Oscars, that was my history book moment.

THD: Awe, that is so amazing Larry, You should be proud of yourself.

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THD: What’s your main focus in your career right now?

Sims: Expanding the brand. I’ve gotten into executive producing and television projects. My company is called Simms Styled Inc, and under that corporation we have developed television shows, that we have sold. The Larry Simms brand is going to expand passed hair. We are doing wine glasses, and linens, and its really about a lifestyle. Larry Simms success isn’t just based on hair, Larry Simms is a lifestyle. I want to be a household name.

THD: What are your favorite products?

Sims: Go pro curls by Larry Simms,  go pro gro by Larry Simms, Osis hairspray by Schwartzkoff , I swear by, oh and Oribe dry texturizing spray– LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!! Rusk Shine, and got to be “Guardian Angel” heat protectant .

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THD: What do u think about consumer based products vs salon products

Sims:  Well, it depends on whose using them.  It’s not better because its more expensive, that’s for sure.

THD: What’s a secret product people wouldn’t expect that you can’t live without?

Sims:  The dry texturizing spray by Oribe , Got To Be- Beach Trippin, ugh it just gives the hair so much texture, I love it!

THD: What advice would you give to someone that wants to do celebrity hair ?

Sims:  Two things- 1) Always surround yourself around people that inspire you in that respected field. Do what you have to do to get to them, move to their city, be around them, be mentored by them. 2) 2nd thing , Do the work, do the research, test test test, do lots of free stuff,  its not always about the dollar -Work your ass off!

Larry Sims in his Woodland Hills home with his dog, Noche.

Larry Sims in his Woodland Hills home with his dog, Noche.

See Larry’s work on his website www.larry-sims.com.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Anita Whooper January 22, 2015 at 12:48 am

    I’m so proud of you Try to do Wonder Women Hair.

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