California Dreamin’

Breanne George

Small-town hairstylist and makeup artist Jeremy White has big-city dreams

Krystal Renszel, a graduate student at Kent State, recieves highlights from Jeremy White, a hairdresser at Cuttin’ Loose on Main Street. ELIZABETH MYERS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

Jeremy White likes to stand out in a crowd.

He is difficult to miss with his spiky green, purple and black hair, bold makeup, colorful tattoos and numerous body piercings. His look is completed with mismatched neon pink and green socks and leopard print sneakers.

He seems to know someone no matter where he goes, whether it’s the Zephyr Pub or Starbucks. If he doesn’t know anyone, he will by the time he leaves.

White, 26, has been working as a hairstylist and makeup artist at Cuttin’ Loose salon in Kent for three years. His aspiration is to move to Los Angeles and become a Hollywood hair and makeup artist.

Theresa Trivelli, 50, a co-worker at Cuttin’ Loose, said she always encourages White to move on to bigger and better things.

“I told him to do it while he’s young because when you get older you get secure and don’t want to take as many chances,” she said.

The Kent area is competitive, with hair salons on every block, but White is usually booked one to two weeks ahead. In the short time he has worked at Cuttin’ Loose, White has built up hundreds of clients he has met through social interaction around town. When he is hanging out at the bars downtown, he often tells people they need a new hairstyle and gives them his business card that reads: “You’re Ugly! (But I can help).”

Kathy Lovell, 38, of Kent has been a client of White’s for more than a year.

“It has been a match made in heaven ever since,” she said. “I used to do my own color and have gone to every hair salon imaginable. But now I belong to the temple of Jeremy.”

Lovell said she carries around White’s business cards in her purse because she always receives compliments from people who want to know who her hairstylist is.

“He never tells me ahead of time what he’s going to do, and he never does the same hairstyle twice,” she said. “As long as I can keep my job, I’m up for anything.”

In addition to working at Cuttin’ Loose, White was the hair and makeup artist for a music video. His friend Ryan Scott is in a rock band popular in Europe and Japan called Electra-Kill.

“Jeremy understands the concept of glamour and the fashion side of makeup and hair,” Scott said. “He excels in that over-the-top look we were going for in our video.”

White said the experience on the music video shoot helped show him the techniques required of a Hollywood hair and makeup artist. He said he had minutes to create glamorous hairstyles that looked like they took hours.

Another possible career path for a hairstylist in Los Angeles is working in a high-end salon, where a haircut costs hundreds to thousands of dollars. Although he would be making more money, White said he does not think he would fit in.

“It is a much more professional atmosphere,” he said. “I’m really good at my job and what I do, but on a professional level, I’m not professional. I can’t do the dress code thing.”

White said he would rather work at a salon located in the trendier areas of Los Angeles, such as Hollywood or Melrose.

Although White has a lot of friends in Kent, he said he has no problem making a fresh start. When he was growing up, White never stayed in one place long enough to make lasting friendships.

A majority of White’s clients are between the ages of 18 and 25, which gives him the opportunity to express his creativity because college students are more experimental with their hair.

“They want the crazy-hair bug out of their system before they have to go into the real world and be professional,” White said.

Although White would love to pack his bags and move to Los Angeles tomorrow, he said five years is a more realistic goal. Of all the career paths available to a hair and makeup artist in Los Angeles, White hopes to work for the film industry and one day become a legendary stylist.

“I don’t want to start at the bottom and work my way to the top,” he said. “I want to start at the top and go up from there.”

Contact features reporter Breanne George at [email protected].