We had the good fortune of connecting with Karl Payton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karl, what do you attribute your success to?
The most Important factor behind my success with myself and brand is authenticity & being genuine. You can be the most talented in the room but if people feel you’re putting on a show just to impress and get ahead 9/10 it will be a one and done booking. Throughout my career my two mentors drilled in me BE YOURSELF ! Within doing that your talent will shin as well as your personality. That’s how I have building honest connections with brands, producers, models etc. Showing up as Karl, and doing what I do best has help garner in my eyes a successful career where I’m able to work consistently, gain new opportunities through referrals, and build with the ones I have a relationship with.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a freelance session hairstylist that’s based in NYC. I have worked in the Editorial, E-commerce, Beauty & Commercial sector of the fashion & Beauty industry. I’ve had the joy of working major fashion shows in NYC and Paris, HBO specials and AD for some popular brands. I’m all about hair care and teaching individuals about what works best for their hair type and texture. On set I love to give insight to whoever in my chair on products suggestion, new technology for hair and in addition to let them no there no such thing as ” bad hair”. I’m proud that I have been in the industry since 2011 and still going. I have build up from ground zero to now working with amazing brands & clients while not being signed to an artist agency. In addition I’m proud that I opened up my own LLC to further my hairstyling work and dreams I have for the future ( like products, tool, education, etc). I had to overcome many challenges while navigating the industry like negotiating rates, deal memos, marketing and adapting to the ever changing climate of social media, hair tends , techniques. At one point when I was working full time and freelancing full time out of fear of not having/ making enough money, not leading by faith, and honestly giving it my all. It wasn’t until 2018 after my mother passed in March, I quit my full-time fob and said Im going to do this for real and not look back. I learned that you have to have true dedication and but in the work to build the success that you want. Learn from the bumps in the road and know tomorrow is always a new day. I want the world to know that my mission is to garner a new generation of future stylist that see themselves in big budget production. For us to be know  simply as a hairstylist ( and not branded a “black hairstylist” ), and success doesn’t always mean fame.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of my go-to when friends are visiting are: Picnic in Battery Park City
Japanese BBQ at Gyu- Kaku
Hookah and Mediterranean food at Horus Cafe
Metropolitan Museum of Art
If it summer and of the Brooklyn festivals and live shows
Rooftop parties ( there always someone having them)
Bar Hopping in LES
Shopping in SOHO
Mamajuana Cafe !!!!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First off I want to shout out and thank my family. They had my back even when I didn’t fully believe in myself. They always instilled in me have a plan, set goals and as always figure it out.

Next two individuals who took me under their wings when I was just starting out. Claudio Belizario & Quenton Barnette. I assisted and worked closely with both and they have fed with with an abundance of education, skills and lessons about the industry. I will forever be thankful for them. From referring me for jobs, getting hands on set experience, to even letting me lead when they weren’t available. For them to have that trust meant everything.

And to all the individuals who ever threw my name out there for opportunities I thank you.

Website: https://www.hairstylesbykarl.com/port

Instagram: @hsbk_

Other: https://models.com/people/karl-payton

Image Credits
First Photo: Photographer: Jordan Owens Second: Photographer: Hunter Arthur Third: Photographer : Peter Wise

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