How I Got My Job: Hairstylist Stephanie Nwambu

"One of the quickest ways to fail in this industry is by thinking you know it all"

When you’re in school, it’s super hard to have to decide on your future career. There’s already hours of homework and study and you’ll soon be making decisions about college courses and what to do after school. At KISS we’re chatting to people in different industries about how they’ve landed their dream role, what they actually do, and their advice to you. This week, we’re chatting to hairstylist and entrepreneur Stephanie Nwambu. Owner of ‘Callah Crowns’, Stephanie specialises in wigs and braids and is currently responsible for Erica Cody’s insane locks on Dancing With The Stars. 

What is your current role?

I’m currently a Freelance Hairstylist.

Can you describe what your general day at work looks like?

A general day at work starts at 8am/9am on set. I first start by prepping my work station to get started on the talent(s) for the day.

If you know me, you know I always have my speaker with me because I think music always sets the right mood on set.  So when allowed I always put on my work playlist.

If I have some time to spare before the talent is ready I simply go over the brief one more time to make sure I know what I’m doing. Depending on what type of set I’m on or what the client wants, I may do multiple looks on one model or one look on multiple models.

As the self-proclaimed queen of behind-the-scenes videos haha, I am always recording some sort of footage whenever I’m not too busy on set. I love that it gives my followers a better insight into what everything looks like behind the scenes. It also allows me to relive fun moments.

When I’m done for the day, I head home, sanitize and prep/repack my kit for the next work day.


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A post shared by Stephanie Nwambu (@callahcrowns)

How did you decide on this type of career?

I was actually encouraged by a close friend of mine to consider doing hair. She saw that I had a knack for it and it has always been something that made me happy. Her encouragement essentially lit up a fire in me that made me start my business.

What did you study?

Funny story, but before getting into hair, I started off with Medicine and then switched over to HR – pretty different from what I do now!

What are the ups and downs of the role?

I think the major downside of being a freelancer, for me, would always be second-guessing myself. It’s very different from a regular 9-5 where you have a manager that can tell you when and where you need to improve or when you’ve really excelled. When working for yourself you have to encourage yourself, be honest with yourself about how and where you can improve. That part can be tricky because I am definitely my worst critic but it’s something I’m working on.


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A post shared by Stephanie Nwambu (@callahcrowns)

What advice would you give to a student looking to get into your line of work?

The advice that I would give to anyone looking to get into my line of work is to be patient, be authentic, do the things that scare you, be a solution to a problem and always be teachable. One of the quickest ways to fail in this industry is by thinking you know it all and there’s nothing you can learn. Never stop learning and improving your skills and knowledge.

Lastly, don’t get discouraged by how saturated the industry is. As cliché as it sounds, there truly is only one you and that is your USP (unique selling point).

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