She turned a long life obsession into a career. Get to know Ottawa Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist Kelley Caballero.
Hair Stylist. Makeup Artist. | Author. Life Coach.
Texture Hair Salon | Ottawa, ON
You had a fascination with hair starting at a very young age. Did you always know that you would end up in the beauty industry?
Absolutely. This industry has always been a part of me. I pursued business at one point but I knew it wasn’t for me. I think it has allowed me to bring so much more to the table but that industry itself was definitely not for me. I think I knew for sure in my teens that this was so much more than a ‘job’ for me.
My mother is a Hair Stylist, and even though she is retired, her passion for hair has not gone away; it is still a very big part of who she is. Do you find that you are always studying people’s hair, even when you are not at the shop?
OMG yes! I think it has always been a bit of an obsession for me. I wouldn’t say I do it in a judgemental way but I definitely critique everyone’s hair. How could I not? I like to imagine the colour or style I would do for each person. It’s funny because I catch myself doing it everywhere.
What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows. — Paulo Coelho
How important is it to you to work in an environment that fosters artistic growth.
Growth to me means so many different things. But if you must know, I can not and will not be where I can’t grow.
This is something I firmly believe in because you only have one life and one shot, why would I waste it where I can’t better myself?
I feel like a lot of stylists get into trouble by setting their standards too low, or by keeping themselves where they’re comfortable. I am not one of these people and I actively encourage the people around me to be better and to get out of their comfort zones. Growth is such an important factor in life. I actively participate in women’s motivation and confidence building, so personal growth is something I really push for. As for this industry, my advice is if it’s not helping you to discover new levels to your talents or if you are not feeling creative, it’s time to move on. As an artist, you really need to be able to grow and push yourself or you’ll end up really unhappy in my opinion.
Instagram : @prettylegends_
Last year you had the opportunity to go to the North American Trend Vision Awards as an assistant; do you think the experience will help you with this year’s competition?
TrendVision. Was. AMAZING.
I can’t express how grateful I was to be able to assist last year. The way the competition is set up was such a surreal experience for me. Seeing so much talent and beauty in one room completely inspired me. I think the overall experience prepared me well for this year. Just seeing the friendly competition between artists was so motivating. I also learned some time saving techniques and to be honest, I don’t think anyone can really go there 100% prepared but you definitely do your best. We have to remember it is a competition and it can go so many different ways.
What is it about the Sebastian Professionals brand and philosophy that you identify with as an artist?
You might not guess by looking at me but I love fetish looks and I am completely infatuated with high fashion, Avant-garde looks. I find Sebastian really hits on those looks for me. They nail it every time. Actually, throwback to TrendVision, I kept getting out of my seat and couldn’t stop saying ‘oh my God’. They completely blew me away.
There is something about looking out of the ordinary for me; I love it.
I guess you could say that it’s my creative alter ego coming out. I’ve always dreamed of doing high fashion runway where there was really no limit to my creativity. I think Sebastian taps into the ‘dark’ side for me. Something I don’t get to do every day and it just lets my imagination run wild.
Instagram : @prettylegends_
Some of your work has been featured on Wella Education’s Instagram page. What does it mean to you to be recognized by your peers?
I think I called everyone in my family and was super excited about it. It means so much because I work really hard everyday to grow and really work towards perfecting my craft. I felt really honoured because I think as an artist, you’re always really hard on yourself you know? To have Wella of all companies feature me?! AMAZING.
Social media is a great tool for clients to get hair inspiration but do you find it creates unrealistic expectations of what is and isn’t possible?
Social media + hair expectations= FAIL
I’ll admit it- I hate when my client brings a photo in and says “I want this”. I love for my clients to bring inspo for their look, however, expecting to look exactly like the photo is not going to happen for many reasons. First, it’s not their hair. Second, certain looks take time and my first priority is the health of my client’s hair.
I will always do my best to cater to my clients, I want them to leave happy and come back to see me. I just think that social media has created so many unrealistic ideas surrounding hair and beauty in general.
I follow my own system when it comes to social media inspiration.
First, I am completely honest and upfront with my clients and to be honest, they usually really respect that. Secondly, I set goals with my clients and I explain every step of the way as best as I can. This ensures that my client knows what’s going on and what to expect.
Most people lack communication with their clients and that’s a huge problem. We live in a technological era where most people can get instant gratification. It’s my job to let them know what’s possible and what’s not and to educate them along the way.
Instagram : @prettylegends_
Tell us about your mantra: Don’t just be pretty, be legendary. I think it is such an important message.
Without sounding completely arrogant, I think a lot of women lack substance. I think a lot of people have stopped focusing on anything other than beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for looking after yourself and feeling good about yourself but I don’t think it should be the only factor in making you who you are.
When I came up with PrettyLegends, it was really something so dear to my heart. I had become obsessed with looks but I was losing who I was. I lost who I was for a long time but when I realized it, I made some big changes.
I wanted to be a voice for women, a voice for anyone who felt they couldn’t do anything or go anywhere in life.
In reality, we all have the power to be the best versions of ourselves in every aspect. To me, there has to be more. More to life, more to a personality, more to a person and their dreams and aspirations. I think having the right amount of confidence is key and really just knowing you’re capable of anything you set your mind to. Make something of yourself, set goals, achieve them and make your mark in this world!
How would you describe your personal style.
I don’t think I can fit myself into one category for style. I honestly just like whatever looks good, but in black LOL. I think my wardrobe is 95% black and I love it!
I love my converse shoes too, it’s a rare occasion to see me in heels. I like to be comfortable in what I’m wearing.
I love faux furs, leathers, and of course what girl doesn’t pair any of that with one of her favourite pair of leggings?! I am super curvy so anything that will flatter my body type works for me!
Do you have a daily beauty routine you follow?
I like to think I’m pretty low maintenance. I get my nails done every 3 weeks and for the daily, I don’t do too much. I wash my face every night with a thermal face cleanser and if I wash my hair, I do it at night to avoid blow drying. I’m lucky to be able to do that though, my hair is really straight.
As for makeup, I can’t live without mascara, my brows or contour. I think that’s a staple for most women, right? If I’m not at work, I don’t wear makeup at all.
I wish I was more high maintenance LOL.
Instagram : @prettylegends_
What are some of your hair and beauty product must haves?
Oh boy, this could be a whole other interview! I am a product junkie! I’ll make this quick and painless.
Penetraitt Masque | Sebastian Professional
Sebastian Professional | Dark Oil
Sebastian Professional | Microweb Fiber
EIMI Dry Me : Dry Shampoo | Wella Professionals
I only ever use Sebastian shampoo and conditioners as well. I rotate between Drench and Penetraitt.
Better than Sex Mascara Too Faced
Boscia Charcoal cleanser
Farsali Unicorn Essence
Any moisturizer from Tatcha is amazing!!
Tarte H20 Hydrating Boost
Chanel or Marciano perfume is a must!
I think anyone looking for new products should just get samples and try everything, that’s what I did. A lot of people make the mistake of just using what someone else uses but it’s not their skin.
Sephora gives anything and everything in a sample! Use it to your advantage until you find something you really like that works for you.
I have a book of quotes – whenever I read a book or hear a line in a movie I like – I write it down. What is your favorite quote?
Don’t just be pretty, be legendary.
No, seriously, I keep my mind open and stay motivated the best I can. I could sit here and throw out a well-known quote but that’s just not me.
I would have trouble narrowing it down for you.
The best I can do is stay true to myself and my values whilst delivering positive energy to those who surround me. I love quotes because I really think staying motivated is the key to success. So, my advice is to seek positivity where you can and unleash it everywhere.
HAIR. BEAUTY. FASHION.
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