Chopping It Up
Chopping It Up with Vernon Scott
Dallise – So are you ready for me to start?
Vernon – I was born ready.
Before we even get started with our interview… I knew Vernon Scott was more than just a barber. He is a man who can inspire you with a simple sentence or quote. He can style you, do your hair, and shoot the whole thing in less than an hour. Someone with this much going for himself has no choice but to let The Cut Life in on who the man behind the clippers & shabby beard is? Who is Vernon Scott, really? I was more than surprised and intrigued by everything he had to say. I know you stunners will be as well as we chop it up with Vernon Scott.
Dallise – How do you start your day?
Vernon – Prayer, reflection, and meditation.
Dallise – That’s amazing. I’ve always wanted to get into meditation for a minute but I feel like I need to do more research.
Vernon – There is no research needed for mediation, I promise you. Meditation is mainly gratitude. It’s just a rundown of a list of all the things that you’re thankful for. It’s the entry level state of humility.
Dallise -As a celebrity barber and hairstylist…
Vernon – Hmm see never call me that again, please.
Dallise – Oh like “celebrity” in the beginning?
Vernon – Yeah I’m Vernon Scott. I’m not a celebrity anything. I just want to be known for the body of work I do. The title doesn’t make me anymore money. It’s more street credit or bragging rights I guess. My name is Vernon Scott.
Dallise – Well as a barber and hairstylist, what does it take to survive in this industry?
Vernon – I’ll tell you what it takes for me to survive, I can only speak for myself. What it takes for me to survive is relevance, always being a student of the craft that I love, and consistently pushing myself outside of what I’m comfortable with or what I’ve done before. Not based on anyone else’s standards it’s just based on me and what I’ve already done. It’s me vs me out here.
Dallise – How & why did you start cutting your hair in your loft?
Vernon – My loft is not my home, my loft is my home. For me it’s a blessing to live and work in the same space. That being said I wanted to provide a more personalized experience. I wanted to cater to a different demographic. Not a financial difference, but mindset. To provide a service that I felt people deserved in a way that was missing in the industry that we’re apart of. That’s exactly why I did it. It’s personalized, it’s a bit more intimate, where real conversations and interactions can happen. It’s also convenient for me to do hair, photography, and wardrobe styling. The reason why I chose a loft is because it wasn’t my goal to be stranded behind a chair cutting 30 clients a day in a shop or store front. I wanted to facilitate all of the different things I wanted to do simultaneously.
Okay, really quickly…Cutting and styling hair is cutting and styling hair. So the question is how can you charge more money for the very same service? If you’re always evolving and growing everyday that’s great but how can you charge more for creating an experience? So chicken is chicken and you go to a restaurant and you pay $250 for a plate and make a reservation two weeks in advance that you would take a business cliente or family member. There’s this rinky-dink restaurant where the chicken is really great but you’ll just grab the food and run. So the only difference is the experience; the way it looks, the way it smells, the location, the ambiance, the overall service, and then the food or haircut or hairstyle that you come there for. The experience is what makes or breaks the whole thing. I’m already going to give you an amazing haircut and it can be in a folding chair in the street. But how can I control all of the other factors creating the experience for you. It’s the temperature, its smells like lavenders, the lighting, because it determines your mood, or even the type of music that is playing. All of this is an experience and it’s a personalized experience.
Dallise – Exactly, therefore you can make it memorable for each client.
Vernon – Believe me it’s going to be memorable. See, this is the issue that I was having when I was growing in my career and working with high exposure clients. People would come to me and would make appointments from different cities months in advance. They would come up to me and say, “Wow, you’re so dope and what’s projected to me from your social media and the work that you’ve done I didn’t expect you to be in a place like this.” So there was a disconnect with the surroundings I was working in and who I was as a brand or individual. So this was the necessary step.
Dallise – As a man of many talents including wardrobe styling and photography, does an individual’s hair determine your photo shoots?
Vernon – No, what determines how the shoot is going to go on any level whether its hair, wardrobe, or photography is who I work with. I don’t work with anyone I’m not convicted by. The differentiating factor is who the individual is, what they’re about, what they represent, and what they want to portray. My goal is not to put people in a box or to shoot a certain demographic or to only work with a certain type of client. That’s not it at all.
Dallise – I would say, “God is AMAZING” is your catchphrase; what’s the story behind it?
Vernon – The story behind it is so funny, “God is amazing.” That’s the absolute truth. For me it’s not a catchphrase it’s actually me being a living testament with everything I’ve been blessed to have. It’s not because I’m so dope or so attractive or lucky or fortunate or anything like that. God has opened amazing doors for me with things that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. I was just reading something and I believe in it 1,000% and I’ll read it to you. It’s simply defining what is success and successful people. The last thing that it is says is basically, “Successful people never forget that their inner lives determine their outer success.”
Like me working hard and being diligent is a large part of what I do. An even larger part is you’re never going to have what you’re not prepared for. God is not going to bless you with something that you’re not going to be able to handle it, it just doesn’t happen. So if you don’t know what to do with $100 than God isn’t going to bless you with a million. It’s just more to destroy. Me saying, “God is amazing” symbolizes that I’ve been through so many things but I know it was preparation. I’m not going to be that guy that says, “Yeah I’m nice. Yeah yeah y’all can’t see me.” No, for what reason? Then after that get on my knees and beg God for an opportunity? Or to bless my efforts because they’re just efforts? That’s the absolute truth. So it’s not like a catchphrase or something cool to say but that’s literally me giving God thanks for everything that I’m able to accomplish, to be a part of, or do. I’ve seen it become a trend amongst my peers where people who are musicians, artists, this that and the other will say, “God is amazing.” I think that’s amazing because I feel like that’s my purpose in life to infect change, to inspire, to motivate, to push. My gift is visuals, hair, wardrobe and I use my gift to facilitate what my purpose is on this Earth.
Dallise – That’s amazing. I’m just so intrigued.
Vernon – Stop it girl we’re conducting an interview here.
Dallise – Okay okay, let me chill. *as we both laugh*
Dallise – Women tend to be hesitant when deciding to get their haircut at a barbershop. Do you have any advice or a tip they should keep in mind when going to or looking for a barber?
Vernon – That’s such a slippery slope. It’s so terrible for a woman to go to a barbershop. It’s just as terrible for a man to go to a beauty salon. That’s just social sciences. It’s just an uncomfortable experience from the go. I don’t want to walk into a room where it’s full of women but there is a barber in the back and I’m going to go to him to get a haircut. You know, it’s uncomfortable. When picking a barber you should really research who the barber is that you’re going to. It’s not about the shop because you’re going as an individual. You’re not going to walk in like, “Can anybody give me a Cesar?” So it’s more about homework… I would say in contrast, in walking into a shop and feeling comfortable that’s not a reality. That’s another reason I had to leave the barbershop environment because it’s not conducive.
Dallise – What still excites you about your career?
Vernon – Honestly what still excites me, and I just had this conversation, is the possibilities. I’ll be honest with you; people see results, people love results. Even when someone emulates what I did you have to remember it’s what I did. If something comes out of a magazine let’s be honest I shot that 6 months ago. The thing about being a creative is always evolving, growing, relevance, so for me the future excites me and more possibilities. So it’s never ending, this is what makes me happy. This is what keeps me alive. I’m forever a student, I’ll never learn it all. I’m always inspired. I’m more inspired by things that don’t have to do directly with the demographic that I’m in. I see different things and try to translate it into hair or wardrobe to portray a certain thing. It’s just art and visual and your interpretation of it. That’s how I see it and hard work creates opportunities. So the more you work and the more you’re passionate about what you do it opens doors for you. It’s a domino effect and it keeps going and going. Hard work never goes unrewarded. I’m a living testament of that.
Dallise – Right, I totally understand. I feel like that’s how I go about what I want to do in the future. I just do small things and hope for the best and try to make sure I stay relevant.
Vernon – It’s not something you have to try at. #1 rule let’s never use that word again, let’s agree on it. There’s no trying, it’s either you’re doing it or you’re not. Everything means something, nothing means nothing. It matters no matter how you modualize it; or how small. All my opportunities have come from unlikely sources. It was never where I thought it would come from. It was never from the person I thought was paying attention. I’ll be honest, and that’s the thing, I’ll go ahead and answer the next question you haven’t even asked me yet. How did I work with Kanye?
Dallise – *it would have been more like this, “So how do you handle Kanye West calling you for a fresh cut for the Met Gala?
Vernon – It’s relationships; relationships that I didn’t pay attention to but what paid attention to me. There is no agency to get Kanye, there’s no, “Hey Kanye I want to cut your hair.” There’s no such thing. That’s what makes working with someone like Kanye such a stamp on your craft and your client list. It’s because he’s not a person that’s accessible. The fact of the matter is that the opportunity presented itself and I was refereed to the job through Jay- Z’s camp. That was such a powerful thing to me. Here’s the thing, I’ve never cut Jay-Z’s hair. I’ve been around the world with him in places where it makes no sense like what are you doing there? Money means nothing, relationships are everything. Relationships are based your character, you principles, and who you are as an individual. Not on how much money you have or how good you are at what you do. This is the same thing I tell people about going into the industry. If anybody looks at the television like, I could’ve done that better. Not because you’re so amazing at what you do but because of the person you are. If you’re working with an artist, a celebrity, an actor, an artist, you’re in their personal space. You never take your phone out because you realize you’re in an aspect of their personal life. They can trust you, that’s what it’s about. When you see someone in the industry you always see them moving around in the industry because they are kind of good for life. It’s because you’ve been stamped.
Dallise – I can seriously listen to you speak all day Vernon. This is deep.
Vernon – Yeah but it’s for real because when I went to cut Ye I’m in his home, his wife is there, and there’s no questions asked. It’s because you have that stamp of approval like, “Yeah he’s good and he’s dope.” Not one and not the other, it’s gotta be both.
As I closed out the interview and thanked Vernon for letting “just an intern” interview him on the behalf of The Cut Life he taught me something so important. He stated, “I’m not going to allow you to keep doing that because I don’t think it’s cool. You’re not just an intern; you’re a person who is actually sacrificing your time for what you believe in because you know it’s going to get you a step closer to what you want.” I learned to not bring myself down before you have even started. No matter what you do you don’t have to apologize for being you. Vernon Scott is definitely not going to apologize for being himself. From photography to wardrobe stylist, back to the hairstylist chair Vernon isn’t giving up on his talents that he’s earned. Stunners let’s do the same!