How Kim Kimble Became Hollywood's Go-To Hairstylist

Kim Kimble | Getty and Photo Illustration: Keila Gonzalez
Kim Kimble | Getty and Photo Illustration: Keila Gonzalez
Every editorial product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn commission.

Welcome to Big Break, where some of the most influential figures in the beauty industry reflect on the moments that made them — from the good to the bad and everything in between. Here, Kim Kimble shares her journey from hair competitions to celebrity hairstylist, working with Beyoncé, Zendaya, the cast of "Euphoria," and more.

Kim Kimble's rise to hairstylist for everyone from Beyoncé and Zendaya to Brandy and Halle Berry was rather serendipitous. She worked hard, and amazing opportunities came to her.

She was born in Chicago but moved to Los Angeles at a young age with her mom, who had a dream of doing hair for TV and film. "I am a third-generation hairstylist," Kimble tells POPSUGAR. "I grew up watching my grandmother do hair at home, and my mother had a hair salon. That was my inspiration."

Still, hair wasn't always a clear-cut career path for her. "As a teenager, I thought I was going to be a fashion designer," she says. In high school, she was dual enrolled in cosmetology school through a vocational program and, by the time she graduated, was a certified hairstylist. She worked in a salon and started attending hair shows in her spare time.

"It really opened up my eyes to cosmetology — I fell in love," she says. "I could always see there was something more than just standing behind a chair doing hair. I loved watching hairstylists that were platform artists; they were teaching, educating people at trade shows, flipping scissors, wearing cool outfits, and doing really creative hair."

Kimble wanted in on the action, so she decided to compete in "not just any hair competition — fantasy hair competitions and hair wars." This allowed her to create works of art with hair and design the costumes that went with her looks, satisfying her other passion as well. To maintain a steady income, she simultaneously held down a salon job at a barbershop. "They had mostly male clients, so I had to learn how to cut their hair," Kimble says. It wasn't a dream job at first, but the opportunity ended up changing her life.

Kim Kimble | Getty and Photo Illustration: Keila Gonzalez

One day, she overheard a conversation at the salon about an opportunity to work on a play at a local church inspired by the Robert Townsend movie "The Five Heartbeats." She was a huge fan of the film and his work, so she volunteered her time on the project, which is where she met his assistant.

"I asked her for an opportunity to work with them in the future on one of their projects for film and television," she says. "But I didn't wait for her to call me. I would call her periodically throughout the year to see if there were any opportunities. I'm that type of person — I'm really aggressive if I want something."

It paid off. The following year, when she was 22 years old and had just opened up her own hair salon, Townsend's assistant asked to see photos of her most avant-garde beauty creations from her competition days and then asked for a meeting. When he came by the salon, he brought a special guest: Halle Berry.

A week later, Kimble was offered a job on the 1997 comedy film "B.A.P.S." starring Berry. "Had I not worked in that barbershop, I would have never overheard that conversation about volunteering for the church. Sometimes when something doesn't work out, God has a better plan for you," Kimble says.

Getty | Larry Busacca

Working with Townsend opened up a whole new world for Kimble. That same year, she got the opportunity to work on the 1997 film "Cinderella," which is how she met Brandy, followed by "Carmen: A Hip Hopera," starring none other than Beyoncé.

This was the kickoff to a longtime working relationship with the star. Just a year later, she worked with Beyoncé again on "Austin Powers in Goldmember," and pretty soon, Kimble became her regular hairstylist. "It really changed my career — I was traveling the world and doing magazine covers, album covers," Kimble says. "When it came to Beyoncé, that was a whole other level."

This was around the star's "Crazy in Love" era post-Destiny's Child. "I'd have salon work and then I would do freelance work, and I was working with a megastar," Kimble says. Though Beyoncé was already famous for her film work and career in Destiny's Child, Kimble had a front-row seat to the singer's most transformative career moments.

Since they began working together in the early 2000s, Kimble has had the opportunity to contribute to countless projects. "'Lemonade' was pretty monumental because it was the first visual album," she says. "And I have to say Coachella — that was a big experience." There was also the Super Bowl, numerous films, music videos — the list goes on.

Kim Kimble | Getty and Photo Illustration: Keila Gonzalez

Kimble was busy, but she was hungry for more. In 2001, she launched her own line of hot tools called Kim Kimble Hair Styling Tools. (The line is now exclusively available at Walmart.) "While I'm in the salon and working with my clients, I always wanted to create things I felt were needed for their hair, and I love to solve problems," she says.

This opportunity felt natural to Kimble, who has experience in all areas of the hair industry. "I know what I'm looking for, I know what I need, and I know what I like to use," she says.

That was only the beginning. In 2012, Kimble was also the star of her own reality show, "L.A. Hair," which followed her career as a Hollywood hairstylist to the stars and ran for five seasons. "That was a big monumental thing for me," she says.

"I love transforming people — when I see them transform in the chair and they feel confident and look good."

A year later, Kimble met Zendaya, who was working on an album in 2013. They worked together on and off for a few years until 2019, when HBO's hit drama "Euphoria" took the entertainment industry by storm. Kimble tuned in to support Zendaya and instantly fell in love with the series, so when the opportunity came to work as the show's hair department head, she jumped at it. (She even picked up an Emmy nomination for her work on the show in the outstanding contemporary hairstyling category this year.)

Though her career has taken many different twists and turns, it all goes back to her true passion: "I love transforming people — when I see them transform in the chair and they feel confident and look good," Kimble says. "I like that feeling."