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Kim Kardashian West interviews beauty expert Chris Appleton

British beauty expert Chris Appleton’s first client ever was his mother. His latest muse is Kim Kardashian West.

The Leicester-born talent has gone from his living room to the Hollywood Hills in a flight to fame that’s found him a favourite in the world of show business. With many of his clients from the top of the music and fashion – and him being the creator of some iconic looks for J.Lo, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande – Chris understands the pressures of being in the public eye as the ‘go-to hair guy’. Or as Kim titles him during this interview, the ‘hair transformationist’. Well, it seems rather fitting.

“I think the most challenging thing in this job is the fact that you and I can like it, but then the rest of the world has an opinion. Or something might look great in real life but might not photograph the same,” Chris explains as he sits with Kim. “I think if nobody is discussing anything then you’re not doing the right thing – if people are just like ‘whatever’.” With Kim agreeing, he adds: “If you’re going to do something different and try and push boundaries then it’s good to get that conversation.”

Related: Patrick Starrr is leading the revolution of men embracing the power of makeup

Thoughts and online comments are actually welcomed in part by Chris, but they don’t play a deciding part in a final look. That is unless you’re Kanye West – as Kim reveals how her now totally bloody iconic neon look came about.

“I remember we had regular hair and then we FaceTimed Kanye,” explains Kim. “He was like, ‘You’re in Miami, do neon hair. I’m getting you a neon car, it’ll be downstairs – just trust me on this one. You need neon!’ We were like, ‘What, we are running out the door?!’ We had full black hair and we changed that last minute. That was so fun, but crazy!” What did I say? Iconic.

But while his working life was is the world stage, coming to terms with being gay was a conversation that Chris was keeping to himself – beginning that journey later in his life. “Some people know straight away, I didn’t and it took me a minute to understand that and accept that and then come out,” he explains. “Everybody has got their stories and some people are ready with it straight away, I just wasn’t. I didn’t have that realisation.”

And with top internet searches around Chris Appleton speculating details of his possible partner, Chris knew that being open about his private life would draw attention to both himself and his family, but also his two children from a former relationship as well. “It was also really important to me that the kids were comfortable before I expressed that,” he adds. “That they understood and were in a good place. It was just time. Everybody has their story and mine was later on.”

Here, in an exclusive conversation with his friend Kim Kardashian West, Chris reveals the inspiration behind his sickening hair looks with KKW, Ariana and… (just read below, the list is long), the journey to him coming out when you have two children to consider, and what life is really like when the world (and the entire World Wide Web) has its eyes on your work.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
Chris, to make this all about me during your interview (Laughs) – do you remember the first time we met?

Chris Appleton:
Yes, how can I forget? It was the start of us creating looks!

Kim Kardashian West:
What were your first impressions? When did we first meet?!

Chris Appleton:
It was when we did the short blunt cut wig. It was something you hadn’t done before and we were both so excited!

Kim Kardashian West:
That’s right, at my old house.

Chris Appleton:
My first impressions were that you were really happy to try and explore different looks. I remember you walked in and said, ‘Hi, I’m Kim. I’m excited to work with you. I’ve heard you’re the best.’

Kim Kardashian West:
Is that what you look for in a client? Someone that wants to do something fun and different?

Chris Appleton:
Yeah, for sure! It’s always about wanting to create looks and I love doing that. It’s why we do what we do and you are always looking to do something different – create a different image. What I love is as a team, we set trends and don’t just follow them. You’re not afraid to change things up and go for something new. Like remember when we made the icy blonde with the dark roots vibe? That was a fave of mine.

Kim Kardashian West:
I love that look!

Chris Appleton:
Me too!

Kim Kardashian West:
That was one of my favourites, people really paid attention, I think. That was when we went out at night. I never really wear wigs and that took me out of my comfort zone.

Chris Appleton:
Yeah, totally!

Kim Kardashian West:
Okay so in your own words, how would you describe who Chris Appleton is?

Chris Appleton:
I’m also someone who likes to push boundaries and create things that are new and exciting. I love to make people stop and think about how that was done. But more than anything, make people not only look great but feel it – that’s when the magic happens. I’m excited by what I do for my job. The people I work with I’m really passionate about and I want them to look and feel their best.

Kim Kardashian West:
And look good while you’re doing it?

Chris Appleton:
(Laughs) Well yeah, I do think you should take care of the way you look. It makes me feel good – working out is like my meditation. I think working out, healthy eating and sleep really helps to keep a good and clear mind.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
Every time I work with someone new, one of the first things I ask them while we are just sitting together getting to know each other, is: ‘How did you get into the business?’ So how did you know you were a talented hairstylist? I don’t even know if that’s the appropriate word? Hair transformationist!

Chris Appleton:
(Laughs) Thank you, I like that title. Oh I don’t know actually, I guess I always was fascinated by the power of transformation. I used to do my mum’s hair when I was a young boy. I noticed that when mum would stand up and look in the mirror, her shoulders would go back and she would stand taller, and for a minute forget who she was – she seemed like somebody different. That’s when I realised how powerful we are as we don’t just make people look good, we make them feel good – and that’s a real special thing.

Kim Kardashian West:
Like her best self?

Chris Appleton:
I remember my first day in the salon at 13 standing there watching people walk in looking like one thing and leave shoulders back and feeling themselves. Like when I do your hair, it’s all about a vibe – like does it need to be sexy, or cool or edgy? And once we discuss and make it happen, you’re like, ‘OKAY!’ I’m ready.

Kim Kardashian West:
(Laughs) I always wanted to know; you’ve dyed my hair blonde, you’ve taken it from the blackest of black to the whitest of blonde. How did you learn it all?

Chris Appleton:
Just being inquisitive and wanting to know. I always want to push the boundaries of what’s expected.

Kim Kardashian West:
Being like, ‘Oh, I’ll just try that for the first time on you!’ I’m kidding!

Chris Appleton:
Nooo! (Laughs) Remember the first time I did the blonde and you were like, ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’

Kim Kardashian West:
Yeah (Laughs) I didn’t know you were a colourist. But how did you get the confidence? Because that’s what I love so much about working with you is you’ll always say, ‘Of course, what do you want to do?’ But then you’ll be so confident about another look. Like I’ll lean to you for the confidence because I know with you… there’s very few people I could say I don’t really need a mirror. I can just sit in the chair, do my work and not really pay attention, not pick my head up and know that no matter what you choose to do, it’ll look good and I’ll feel confident – and that’s really rare. With hair, I get anxiety if I have to work with someone new and what it’s going to look like. Nobody really pushes the boundaries of what the new thing should be, what the new style should be. You push me to want to do new things, but you still have the pretty.

Chris Appleton:
Exactly, it’s not crazy.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
It’s not like, ‘Let’s do your hair 500 colours or a mohawk just to be different’. It still has a pretty vibe to it. You know what makes your client feel good about themselves and I think that’s really important. So how was your first job that you ever did as a hairstylist? Your first paying job where someone is hiring you to come and do their hair? Talk to me about that experience.

Chris Appleton:
The first job I did in LA was a J.Lo music video and I was really nervous to do it. Working with celebrities is different because you don’t just have to please them as a person, you also have the whole world that’s going to judge.

Kim Kardashian West:
Do you get really nervous working with a celebrity? Maybe somebody you haven’t worked with before?

Chris Appleton:
Not really… I used to work in a salon and I wanted to make whoever it was look great, and I still feel like that about everyone I work with – and that’s a very genuine thing. I really want you to feel good. Like I’ll text you when you’ve done a red carpet or event and I’ll say stuff like, ‘How was it? Did it work? Were the pictures good? How did you feel?’ It’s really important to me that you feel great about it. I do care as much about the look as you do – or maybe even more sometimes.

Kim Kardashian West:
And even if I’m not that comfortable, later I’ll be like, ‘I loved it, it really worked!’

Chris Appleton:
Yeah and like you said, my aesthetic is about pushing it and pushing boundaries while still doing something pretty. I want people to have a moment of difference, but still pop and be beautiful.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
What’s the most challenging thing for you hair wise? Is it colouring or cutting or…?

Chris Appleton:
I think the most challenging thing in this job is the fact that you and I can like it, but then the rest of the world has an opinion. Or something might look great in real life but might not photograph the same – know what I mean?

Kim Kardashian West:
Yeah!

Chris Appleton:
You never really do quite know what you’re going to get with that, so I guess that’s one of the most challenging things because you always have to try and second-guess how that is going to photograph. Will it be HD cameras and you’ll see every strand of hair? Or will there be no proper lights if it’s a bad red carpet? It kind of all affects the whole image.

Kim Kardashian West:
What is your favourite look that we’ve collaborated on?

Chris Appleton:
I’ve been thinking about this and I would probably say the blonde was one of my favourites as we had so many great moments. But the neon green is right behind it!

Kim Kardashian West:
The Yeezy Campaign shoot where we did the blonde?

Chris Appleton:
Yeah, yeah, love that. That was sick.

Kim Kardashian West:
Do you think we can get that blonde again?

Chris Appleton:
If you’re sure? Are you ready for it though?

Kim Kardashian West:
I don’t know. I’m getting close!

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Chris Appleton:
For my favourite look, I actually think the frosted neon was one of my favourites.

Kim Kardashian West:
Oh really?

Chris Appleton:
It was so different. You made neon the new black. The colour was sold out everywhere. Nobody could get it anywhere and everyone was trying to create the same look. It was a real moment, I think.

Kim Kardashian West:
That was so fun! That was in… Miami?

Chris Appleton:
Yep and you got the car and the whole vibe.

Kim Kardashian West:
I remember we had regular hair and then we FaceTimed Kanye and he was like, ‘You’re in Miami, do neon hair. I’m getting you a neon car, it’ll be downstairs – just trust me on this one. You need neon.’ We were like, ‘What, we are running out the door?!’ We had full black hair and we changed that last minute. That was so fun, but crazy! Does your social media and status make you nervous about delivering something fresh and new?

Chris Appleton:
I’m not afraid of negativity or anything like that. I do like a discussion. I think if nobody is discussing anything then you’re not doing the right thing – if people are just like ‘whatever’. If you’re going to do something different and try and push boundaries then it’s good to get that conversation. You know like when a new iPhone comes or out or a new car comes out and not everyone likes that new model: ‘I preferred the old one’. Then they get used to it. I don’t mind people not being sure of things as they’ll get used to it. I like that we can make people think.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
Totally! Okay so tell me about a hair disaster or where something went wrong?

Chris Appleton:
I don’t think I have any. Remember that time I gave you bangs?!

Kim Kardashian West:
You gave me bangs?! (Laughs)

Chris Appleton:
That time I gave you bangs in Paris. I was like, ‘Let’s go for it’, and you were like, ‘We cannot do this!’

Kim Kardashian West:
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah! (Laughs) There’s been times when someone has actually cut me bangs by accident. There was a time we were doing a photoshoot for Vogue Japan and we thought that this look with bangs would look so good. We spent so much time putting on a wig, cutting it and doing the whole thing, and as soon as we were walking out the door, we were like, ‘This is SO bad!’

Chris Appleton:
We tried to make it work…

Kim Kardashian West:
Let’s try and we were like ‘no, no’ no’. We literally changed the entire wig.

Chris Appleton:
In five minutes!

Kim Kardashian West:
Yeah! Okay, so why did you decide to come out later in your life?

Chris Appleton:
I guess it was kind of just when I realised. I have two kids and I thought that was the direction I was going in. Realising then was just my time. Some people know straight away, I didn’t and it took me a minute to understand that and accept that and then come out. Everybody has got their stories and some people are ready with it straight away, I just wasn’t. I didn’t have that realisation. It was also really important to me that the kids were comfortable before I expressed that, and that they understood and were in a good place. It was just time. Everybody has their story and mine was later on.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
Have you ever experienced prejudice or discrimination because of your sexuality?

Chris Appleton:
Not really. If you go outside of London or Los Angeles or New York, there are still places where it’s still a thing about sexuality but honestly it’s like anything different that people or kids will comment on. I think what’s great with something like GAY TIMES and what they’re doing now and have always done is supporting people with expressing themselves and talking about their stories – and it’s about supporting everyone in the community.

Kim Kardashian West:
Yeah, of course. You’re a beauty expert, so what is your biggest beauty tip or beauty secret?

Chris Appleton:
I think live your best life. Try everything at least once. I think hair is such a good way of transforming a look. When I first started doing hair, my mum and dad were like, ‘Okay go do hair’, but I knew I wanted to try doing something bigger than that I wanted to push boundaries. Like I just feel bad for people who have the same style forever.

Kim Kardashian West:
Like Kris Jenner?

Chris Appleton:
(Laughs) OMG.

Kim Kardashian West:
We’ve tried, we’ve tried! But sometimes that look, it works.

Chris Appleton:
It works, and also like Anna Wintour. Her bob works, like Kris, I think it’s when people don’t necessarily express themselves with their hair – it’s their identity. With you, we’ve created so many different personalities. You can be sexy or cool or whatever the vibe is.

Kim Kardashian West:
And it really gives you such a mood and you want people to experience that.

Chris Appleton:
It relates to wigs and just having fun and being able to express yourself.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
You’ve worked with Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and others, women the LGBTQ community look up to. What do you think your younger self would be thinking right about now?

Chris Appleton:
Erm… gosh. That’s hot!

Kim Kardashian West:
Did you ever dream you’d be working with all of these amazing women?

Chris Appleton:
When I used to do my mum’s hair when I was eight or nine, I wanted to make her look glamorous and a Hollywood star. So I guess the fact I’ve ended up here and working… I guess, if I overthink it, I wouldn’t be as confident now.

Kim Kardashian West:
I think in this interview, what I’ve realised is that your confidence is so key. And like having the people you work with trust you because you’re so confident about it. I’ll be with someone and I’ll say that I want a ponytail and they’re like, ‘Ponytails are not my thing, but I’ll try. It’s not my speciality’. I’ve had that before. I’ll say, ‘Okay so what is your speciality? I want it to be great’. But you are just really confident about every look.

Chris Appleton:
Exactly!

Kim Kardashian West:
My blunt bob, Ariana Grande’s hair hoop accessories, the frosted neon green and glass hair – these are all from your work. Where do you get the inspiration to try new things?

Chris Appleton:
People I work with, Instagram, even just walking down the street and seeing girls with a cool vibe. When I was in London, the tube journey was always an inspiration. Maybe I’d see a girl with a pink vibe or a glam vibe. I’m just always looking!

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
You’ve become so well-known for reinventing the way we use wigs. Where did this inspiration come from?

Chris Appleton:
Years ago, I used to do wigs for cancer patients and it really made me realise that somebody you know can be confident and know themselves, and then when they lose their hair, they’d come in and I’d almost not recognise them – they’d be so timid and have lost their identity. Some even said they’d rather lose their breasts than their hair because that is what you see. So I would use my hands and work with the wig, put a root in it. I remember doing that and I was reassured about giving people their personality back. That, for me, was so rewarding to give them back something they’d lost.

Kim Kardashian West:
What’s your top advice for somebody wanting to succeed in the beauty and hair world? I would say that my team is really easy to work with, really professional. You just have to know that, even when you posted that thing about looking for an assistant and the requirements, I thought that was really good because you were spelling out what it actually takes to really work in this industry. It’s a lot about being discreet and being professional.

Chris Appleton:
Prep as well and know what you’re doing. If you’re going to do a job, spend time to get to know what you’re doing. The only reason why I know about every aspect of hair is because I never wanted to be in a position where somebody asked me to do something and I couldn’t do it. I would have hated that. I did the cover of a magazine once and they wanted me to braid, but I didn’t know how to braid. I was in New York so I went off, took a taxi to a hair braiding shop and asked them to teach me how. Put your money where your mouth is and put the work in.

Kim Kardashian West:
So true! Okay, what is one thing fans don’t know about you? Let’s think.

Chris Appleton:
Ohhh, that I’m a lot more fun than I show on my Instagram? I never smile in my pics. Or that I have two amazing children, who inspire me everyday?

Kim Kardashian West:
Yeah I don’t think that somebody would have assumed you have two kids.

Mary Phillips:
I was going to say that I think you’re, in a way, a lot more shy and if people just saw you on Instagram, they’d think, ‘This guy is so hot and confident’, but I think you are so humble. You’re such a sweetheart and really care; you really, really, really care about the whole look.

Kim Kardashian West:
And I really like that. That was Mary Phillips talking by the way guys. Celebrity makeup artist extraordinaire. (Laughs) Two questions left. How important do you believe a magazine like GAY TIMES is in 2019?

Chris Appleton:
It’s really important. It’s one of the biggest platforms for people to express themselves and their stories and show their authentic selves. To give people the confidence to relate to that, to be understood. Maybe they’re in a situation where they’re not supported, it can hopefully give them the confidence to understand who they are and what they want to be.

Taylor Miller / GAY TIMES

Kim Kardashian West:
And finally, what is next for Chris Appleton? Tell me about some of your upcoming projects…

Chris Appleton:
Ooo! I’ve got lots of stuff going on. There’s my hair product.

Kim Kardashian West:
I can’t wait for that!

Chris Appleton:
My hair product is coming out. Watch this space, I’m so excited about it.

Kim Kardashian West:
Very cool.

Chris Appleton:
Thank you for doing this.

Kim Kardashian West:
You’re welcome.

Chris Appleton:
When I first met you, I was honestly struck with how humble and kind you were and I still say to this day that you’re the kindest, most humble person I’ve ever worked with. Not only are you a hair muse but you really do give back and are a big part of the whole process.

Kim Kardashian West:
Ahhh, thank you!

Chris Appleton:
Honestly, thank you because you’ve been amazing, and I know everyone that I work with speaks the same about you. I really mean that.

Kim Kardashian West:
Love you.

Chris Appleton:
Love you.

Photography Taylor Miller
As told to William J Connolly
Fashion David Greene
Grooming Sam Visser

The post Kim Kardashian West interviews beauty expert Chris Appleton appeared first on Gay Times.

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Author: William J Connolly

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