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For years, Rihanna has been every girl’s hair crush. With every edgy cut or free-flowing long hairdo, many wondered who was the mastermind behind the most sought-after hairstyles in pop culture. Well, meet Ursula Stephen.

Stephen has been in the salon business for over 15 years and got her start when she went on tour with Kandi Burruss. Since then, Stephen’s claim to fame has been giving Black celebrities the chance to revamp their personal and professional looks.

With the launch of the Motions Spring 2015 line of hair products, MadameNoire spoke with Stephen, who also serves as their Global Ambassador and celebrity stylist for the brand.

MadameNoire: How do you manage your time between owning your own salon and being the Motions celebrity stylist?
Ursula Stephen: Having a good team really helps me balance owning a salon and juggling the responsibilities I have acquired from Motions. I would be a mess without them. My team members and I have worked together for a while and  created a good groove.  So, I feel truly blessed to have those who want me to succeed around me.

MN: What should up-and-coming hair stylists expect if they want to enter the entertainment/fashion industry?
US: Hairstylists should expect to sacrifice a lot of time and put in the necessary hard work. With that work ethic, you’ll see how it can be a rewarding career. It’s fulfilling to have the ability to make people feel amazing about themselves.

MN: What should potential hair stylists not accept from clients as they climb the career ladder?
US: They should never accept disrespect. It is important for your clients to respect you, your craft and time.

MN: The hair and fashion industries are extremely competitive. What kept you grounded throughout the years?
US: The love for what I do continues to  keep me grounded. Nothing else matters. I’m a competitive person by nature, so I love that aspect of pushing myself to become more fashion forward with my hairstyles and to give them a sense of character.

MN: How did Motions helped grow your brand as a businesswoman?
US: Motions has been an absolute blessing. They have helped mold my career. I am also able to interact with consumers via social media or events to learn about their hair care needs. This allows me to be a stylist that promotes not only glamorous styles but healthy hair.

MN: How do you study trends and do you consider using them in your work when styling celeb clients?
Ursula Stephens: It’s different for a hairstylist. We don’t have things like graduate school, so it’s really up to ourselves to keep up with trends. The best way to keep up with trends and stay on your toes is going to hair shows and taking continuing education courses on cuts, colors and even styling. Talking to peers is also great for staying up to date. And believe it or not – YouTube! You can learn so much on there.

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