With an impressive A-list client roster including names like: Joan Collins, Diahann Carroll, Drew Barrymore, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union, Estelle, Verdine White, Star Jones, and Tia & Tamera Mowry, the name Elgin Charles, is a force to be reckoned with. Known to the world as The Emperor of Hair, Charles has masterfully maintained a career spanning over 25 years in the beauty and entertainment industry. After launching his highly acclaimed salon in Beverly Hills, Charles rose to stardom with his innovative techniques for making clients look and feel beautiful with eye catching and edgy looks.
Though he’s appeared on the Wendy Williams Show, The Talk and on the docuseries Beverly Hills Fabulous, Charles has made a name for himself through hard work and perseverance. There is more to his story that his fans and followers have yet to hear. Today, Charles reigns as one of the most sought after celebrity hairstylists in the industry with an untold story that he is finally granting the public access to. He spoke with SHEEN exclusively to unveil his untold story.
How did you establish yourself as a celebrity hairstylist?
I became a highly sought-after celebrity stylist almost immediately after becoming the proprietor of my own salon in the heart of Beverly Hills. My celebrity clientele was obtained by way of word of mouth, and thanks to the massive exposure I received from my countless appearances on popular television makeover series of the time.
Who could you say was your first high profile client and when?
My first celebrity client is a toss up! I was fortunate enough to launch my career in cosmetology as an assistant at a salon where celebrities frequented. I recall both Natalie Cole and Holly Robinson-Peete being two of my first high profile clients. If my memory serves me correctly, however, Natalie Cole was my very first.. This all happened within my first six months as a hairstylist in 1987. It was a golden era! I was in Heaven!
What made you change your profession, from the corporate world to hairstylist?
I chose to leave the world of Finance after feeling as if I’d reached the proverbial glass ceiling, and thanks to some coaxing from my mother who told me, “You need to do hair! It has always been your true passion – and you will be successful beyond your wildest dreams!”.
We all know there have been questions regarding your sexuality, would that be addressed in the book?
I am a fiercely private person, but I will be addressing ALL areas of my personal life in my memoirs; from things everyone has always wanted to know to things no one could ever imagine! I’ve reached a point in my life where I want to be as transparent as possible and to serve as an inspiration for others to be self-actualized.
Who is Elgin Charles and what is his legacy?
My mother used to say I was “rigid, routine, and particular”. I say I am a child of God, so I try to be Christ-like. I wear many hats: Entrepreneur, Spiritual Adviser, Author, Television Personality, Ex-Husband, Lover, Father, and Friend. I’m empathetic to the plight of others; kind and generous to a fault. I’m also very strong, serious, and conservative, despite my flamboyant outward appearance. My legacy is tied to the many layers that makeup ‘Elgin Charles’.
What do you want to readers to take away about Elgin charles from your Memoir?
I want readers of my memoirs to gain true insight into who I am as a person versus the tabloid fodder and conjecture. I want them to feel empowered and ready to reach for the stars! I am a trailblazer and a man of faith. This book will show that I am a complicated human being and not without my faults, just like the next person. But God used my love, passion, and talents to position me as the only man to have a salon in Beverly Hills that serviced a black clientele for over 25 years. So many were blessed and mentored. I raised the bar and set a new standard for today’s stylists. I am THE “Emperor of Hair”!
Over the years, Charles has remained a mystery in many ways. Amidst rumors of a series of new business ventures, Charles’ management team has enlisted, Celebrity Ghostwriter Ardre Orie, the CEO of 13th & Joan Publishing House to pen his forthcoming book.