The Derek J




Did you happen to know any of the contestants before the show? Did you work with any of them or compete against any of them?
I actually had competed against one before. Obviously I beat them [laughs]. You know, I was very surprised when I walked in on set, ’cause I didn’t see anybody before until the first day I got there. Then I saw that person and I was like “Oh, OK. You’re here?” But yeah, I had competed against one of them before. The rest of them were very new to me, and I was really amazed to know that a lot of them were just getting into fantasy hair. So for them to be able to pull of some of the hairstyles they pulled off and not really having the formal training or the knowledge in that area was outstanding to me.

Even though competitions like the Bronner Bros. have sprouted from the black hair industry, the interesting thing about this show is the diverse crowd of stylists, not just racially but geographically, the diversity of style — it’s really fascinating.
The group of contestants they had, as you said, were very diverse. To see that even, like some of the people that were there, I’m like, “Oh, y’all know about fantasy hair? Y’all can even do this?” You know, for me, I’d only seen it in the black world. I just saw black people do it all day long, but to be able to see different ethnicities do it, it was good to see. And actually seeing everybody working together as one was really good to see.

Are there any really fun challenges that the contestants will be facing over the next season that you can reveal to us?
I don’t know. That’s a good question.