Career StoriesLife & work tipsPassion 30 November 2015
Career Stories: LA-based hair and make-up stylist Kelsey Zahn
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Yara got to know this fashion and style industry expert and her magic when in LA almost two years ago Kelsey Zahn, hair and make-up artist and creative (‘because everyone in LA is a slash something’) has been doing what she’s best at ever since she was twelve, but just recently became a freelancer. Now, she’s touring with the crazy famous Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer and lives out of her beauty case half of the time. Sounds like a rollercoaster, right? Let’s catch up with this brainy glam expert!

How did you get your start in the industry?
Kelsey: “My friends and I loved to dress up and I would do their hair. When one of their older sisters was impressed, she hired me to do the hair for her wedding. When I was 16 I went to cosmetology school and then assisted for 2 years. I worked in a salon full time, building my clientel and working on my skill set. When I moved to LA three years ago I stopped salon work to focus on a career as a freelancer.”

What do you find inspiring when it comes to current hair trends?
Kelsey:  “I am inspired by real people and how they interpret what is happening on the runways of Fashion Week and on the pages of their favourite magazines. I am currently doing the Mastered with Sam McKnight program – he is a ‘hair hero’ of mine – and I am incredibly inspired by my fellow stylists and the work they have created.”

Which iconic hairstyles do you love?
Kelsey: “Oh man… at the moment I am loving Bridgette Bardot. Actually, I have a thing for French women and their effortlessly sexy style. Björk and her braids are incredible, Lady Gagas ever evolving style, and FKA Twigs always has something new and interesting happening with her hair.”

If you could pick one famous person to style, who would it be?
Kelsey: “This is tricky. I would have to go with Amy Poehler or Tina Fey, preferably both!”
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Your favourite hair product to work with?
Kelsey: “I am sponsored by Bumble and Bumble and am obsessed with nearly everything they make! The Does it All hair spray is fantastic, Dry Spun is a wonderful dry texturizing spray, Don’t Blow It is great for those of use who prefer to air dry our hair.”

How did you come in contact with the band 5 Second of Summer?
Kelsey: ” I have worked with 5SOS for nearly two years. I did a job for the band The Wanted and the director from that music video did the boys first major music video for ‘She Looks So Perfect’ and I landed the gig. I have worked with them on and off ever since.”

Boyband grooming… what does that consist of?
Kelsey: “HAHA! Oh dear. The guys I work with like to be themselves, so I keep things natural and easy.”

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A day in the life of Kelsey on tour, what does it look like?
Kelsey: “The regular tour day is waking up on a bus or in a hotel room, doing yoga, having breakfast, getting set up, working on projects outside of tour via my laptop, and then getting the guys ready for the gig!”

If you’re allowed to talk about it… do you have a fun anecdote?
Kelsey: “Let’s just say, I am Spiderman…”

Most value lesson you learned along the way, from who did you learn this?
Kelsey: “Take the time to take care of yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally. You will be far more able to take care of those around you if you are working from a good place. I learned this with the help of my husband Drew, and it is a practice I work on daily.”

Your top 3 places to hang out and grab coffee in LA?

Kelsey: “Just 3?! I love the Arts District for Black Top Coffee and Alchemy Works. Sqirl is the best breakfast ever! Get the crispy brown rice salad! I go Down Town for Grand Central Market and its G&B Coffee, their almond milk latte is divine and they have a tumeric, ginger tea drink that will rock your world. The area around the Ace Hotel (9th and Broadway) is exploding with awesome shops, A.P.C. and Aesop among them. And hang-outs Verve and Juice Served Here are just around the corner.”

What makes LA so special to you?
Kelsey: “LA has something for everyone, that is what I love about it. The city is what you make it and I feel like Drew and I have been very lucky with the community we connected with and the life we get to live here.”

Photography in LA by the talented Liselotte Fleur

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