My name is Kamala and I'm the West Coast Editor for American Salon Magazine. Join me for a series of fun and exciting beauty adventures out here in sunny Southern California!
In Hollywood, hair is everything. People are constantly fussing over Jennifer Aniston’s latest highlights or Natalie Portman’s new cut, clamoring to book appointments at the upscale salons that line Melrose Avenue so they can look like their favorite celebs. It doesn’t matter how many Academy Awards you’ve won—if your hair isn’t great, this town will never let you live it down. And I always had problems with my hair—it was too dark and wavy, and not blonde or sleek enough according to Hollywood standards. But when I landed my first job out of college as the personal assistant to actress Andie MacDowell—all that changed. A spokeswoman for L’Oreal who modeled for Calvin Klein and graced the covers of Vogue and Vanity Fair countless times, Andie knew a thing or two when it came to beauty. And it wasn’t at all what I expected.
Working for Andie was a refreshing experience that taught me about natural beauty and living a healthy lifestyle. She was down-to-earth and had the most amazing curly and dark hair—the complete opposite of Hollywood standards. I was inspired because she taught me to take pride in my body and to enhance my natural beauty—not change it. Andie attended yoga class and went for walks on the beach, which inspired me to start exercising more. Her kitchen was stocked with granola and goat kefir so I only had healthy things to snack on. But most importantly, she taught me to appreciate my own hair, which I’d struggled with for years.
I considered Andie a hair rebel—she never conformed to Hollywood hair standards and did what she wanted, which in her case was wearing her hair naturally curly and flaunting her natural brunette shade. She used products to tame the wild nature of her hair but she never did anything that would interrupt its natural state. Then one afternoon while sitting and talking with Andie, I had an epiphany: beauty should be about highlighting one’s best traits—not hiding them. I started to experiment with products that would help manage my hair and enhance its thick, wavy texture. This wasn’t an overnight achievement by any means. It took some trial-and-error, a lot of patience and a lot of product, but eventually I found the right combination of things that worked with and not against my hair.
Could you imagine if Andie had decided to get rid of her curly hair because it annoyed her? It’s become her trademark feature and is a huge part of who she is. And I’m glad to say that I feel the same way about myself when I look in the mirror these days. My dark, thick, wavy hair has become my trademark and I wouldn’t change that for anything. As Andie would say, “Embrace your individuality.” -KK
Photos courtesy of Andie MacDowell’s Instagram: @andiemacdowell
About: After graduating from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, West Coast Editor Kamala Kirk wrote for TotalBeauty.com and worked in the production offices for the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Prior to joining American Salon, she was the Editor for E! Shows Online at NBC Universal, creating editorial content for popular shows such as House of DVF, Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Royals.