By Jeff Clark / Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – Even though his family is from Mississippi, celebrity hair stylist Syd Curry, a native of California, said he had little interest in his Southern heritage for a large part of his life.
“I fought the South my whole life,” Curry said. “I wanted nothing to do with it. But I started coming back to Mississippi to visit my family and that changed. My father said I would regret not knowing what it is like to be Southern.”
Starting a life In Aberdeen
Today, Curry not only embraces the concept of the American South, but he also lives it – in an arts-and-crafts-style home in Aberdeen, where he is also the co-owner of a salon with Aberdeen native Bill Brasfield.
“Billy and I have been working together for 25 years – we are like brothers,” he said. “A couple of years ago, I came to Aberdeen to have Thanksgiving with Billy and his mother, Ruth. My mother was sick at the time and I was taking care of her. I saw this beautiful blue house in Aberdeen and I wanted to see it. It reminded me of growing up in Santa Monica, so I bought it.”
Curry said he started coming back to Mississippi to care for his mother and he started coming to Aberdeen more often. After meeting people and setting up his home in Aberdeen, he said Brasfield came to him with the idea of a possible business venture.
“Billy’s mom had an antique store one time called Petunia’s,” Curry said. “So, Billy came to me and suggested that we open up a salon in the building – with Billy doing the makeup and me doing hair, which is the nature of our professional relationship. So, Billy designed everything at the shop and we opened about a year-and-a-half ago. We just thought it would be fun for us to do this in Billy’s hometown.”
Curry said he was overwhelmed by the response they received when Billy B. Beauty and Syd Curry Salon opened its doors to the public.
“I thought people would come – for me, I thought it would be a guilt by association thing because everyone knew Billy. I thought people would come out of curiosity, but I was seeing so many clients I could work from 9 to 9 without stopping,” Curry said.
Syd walks away
At the height of his salon’s popularity, Curry noted that not paying attention to the details almost cost him his business.
“Mississippi does not have a license-share with California – you must get licensed in Mississippi to cut hair even if you have a license somewhere else,” he said. “So, I was cutting hair without a Mississippi license. My mom was sick at the time and I had a lot going on and I just did not apply for a Mississippi license. Well, one day some people from the Mississippi Sate Board showed up and said they had received some complaints from other salons that I was not licensed to cut hair in Mississippi – and I wasn’t. A lot of people have the misconception that they closed me down. No one closed me down – I decided to close down. I had a lot going on in my life at that time.”
Curry said that although walking away from his salon was not something he had planned to do, the decision worked out great.
Brasfield was working with pop sensation Lady Gaga when Curry said his best friend recommended him for a video shoot.
“Billy was working for Gaga and he recommended me to do her hair for a video – we are the best of friends. Billy feels comfortable recommending me to his clients and I feel comfortable doing the same,” Curry said. “So, I went to do the video.”
The “video” happened to be Lady Gaga’s international hit “Bad Romance,” which is currently nominated for 10 MTV VMAs (Video Music Awards), a record number in MTV history.
“Billy and I had a great time doing that video,” he said. “I’m very proud that it has been nominated for this many awards. I’ve worked on a lot of iconic videos including George Micheal’s ‘Father Figure.’ But ‘Bad Romance’ is my favorite one I’ve worked on artistically.”
After touring Europe with Gaga, Curry said he decided to return to Aberdeen and he is planning on reopening his salon.
“I am licensed in Mississippi now,” he said. “So I plan to get the shop back open soon. I have some loyal clients but they know the nature of my work – sometimes I have to go to LA for a few days or weeks to do some work there, but I’m planning on keeping Aberdeen as my home base. There are a lot of great things happening in Aberdeen. I missed my house; I missed my shop and now that most of my family is gone in California, I like spending time with my family in Mississippi. I love Aberdeen – Billy and Ruth have been very good to me and they have introduced me to a lot of people. But now – Aberdeen is like home. I have my own friends here and my own life here. It’s where I want to be as often as I can be there.”