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A Whole New Atlanta


Celebrity Hair Stylist Derek J. Celebrates Grand Opening of The J Spot Salon 12:35 PM EST 10/14/2011 by McKenzie Harris 360 Views SHARE

The J Spot Hair Salon … the name alone has a ring to it that you can’t forget. On Thursday, Oct. 13, celebrity stylist, “RHOA” and “Hair Battle Spectacular” cast member, Derek J. celebrated in style at the grand opening of his newest salon in Atlanta.

Friends and clients kicked back in the chic salon setting, sipping Remy Martin mixed drinks over cool conversation. Ro caught up with Derek J. to find out more about his style and what’s in store for the salon. –mckenzie harris
What are you wearing tonight?
I have on Gap, Zara, and Jeffery Campbell.
How did you come up with the name J Spot? Do you plan for your clients to have an orgasmic experience?
You know actually it was a play on the G-spot and my last name is J. I just wanted to make sure that when you come here it’s just like that … an orgasmic experience, and you feel sexually liberated when you leave here. We really focus on making a woman feel like a woman. So when the J Spot came around, I knew that was the perfect name for it.
What services do you specialize in at the salon?
We’re a weaving salon so we do a lot of weaves here. But we do a little bit of everything … we press, we do hair cuts, we’re not big on coloring here, but we can do color.
I see you kept the design of the salon simple and and fun, what inspired you?
This is a bit different for me. I had another salon that was really dark and had muted colors but here I wanted to brighten it up, make it a little more fresh and a little more funky. In the shampoo area we did all black with just a pop of color in there. We wanted to keep the styling area a little more light, airy, fun and free.
Are you going to require all of your stylists to wear heels to work?
You know I actually do! The girls don’t have a problem with it, I have a really diverse staff from men to women. We have the sex kittens, we have the voluptuous woman, we have every type that works here and I wanted to be able to show the array of beauty there is in the salon.
When clients leave here looking fabulous and feeling good, what do you want them to say once they leave your salon?
I want them to say this is the best experience they’ve ever had in a hair salon.

Celebrity Hairstylist Derek J & Convicted Felon Marlo Hampton Host MLK “Mini Pride” Event…


 Marlon Marlo Hampton, the background character on this season’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta, teamed up with Celebrity hairstylist Derek J a few nights ago to host the kick-off celebration for MLK Weekend in Atlanta.
I don’t know if you know (cause I didn’t) but Martin Luther King, JR. Weekend in Atlanta is now referred to as the “unofficial” Winter Ghay pride event.

Read more:


Derek J struggles with the business of beauty

Derek J knows hair, but he needed a little help when running the business end of his new Atlanta beauty shop, The J Spot Salon.
Derek is a man on a mission to make every woman look and feel her best. In order to make this dream a reality, the celebrated stylist and reality TV star recently launched his very own beauty shop–the J Spot Salon in Atlanta.
“We are all about weaves and extensions. We do it all but we’re known for working those weaves and extensions,” Derek J excitedly explained to S2S.
With 10 stylists, three assistants and two lash/brow specialists, the J Spot Salon is poised to be one of Atlanta’s hottest beauty destinations. With years of experience working behind the scenes with some of the entertainment industry’s top celebs, Derek knows a thing or two about working hard and overcoming obstacles in order to make his dreams come true.
After four years of bouncing from one salon to another, it was only a matter of time before the burgeoning celebrity stylist would find a place to call his own. “I’d always wanted my own salon, so when things fell in place with my current space, I knew I had to go for it,” Derek said matter-of-factly.
Owning a salon where stars from "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" and other local celebs drop by for a cut and color may seem like a glamorous life to many, but Derek realizes the truth behind owning and operating one’s own salon and there’s nothing glamorous about it.
“It’s hard work. Every day is a struggle," Derek lightheartedly explained. "There’s so much to think about and consider during the day-to-day, which is why I work with a business partner who handles a lot of the daily operations so I can focus on being creative and doing what I do best: hair!”
One of the most challenging aspects of opening a new salon is funding, but unlike most small business owners, Derek was fortunate enough to have a private investor (none of the Atlanta Housewives invested in Derek’s salon) who believed in his vision and helped finance the new salon.
Besides working weaves, Derek also has a knack for wigs, which he's showcased on Bravo TV’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. After working with Kim Zolciak on her personal look in season 2, the two decided to come together to create their own wig line.
“The wig line is on hold right now since I can’t proceed without Kim," Derek confessed. "She’s got a lot on her plate with the new baby, the reality show and her upcoming wedding."
With his salon opening this past October 13, one would think Derek had enough on his plate, but he can add the premiere of season 4 of "RHOA" that debuted on November 6 to the list.
“There’s a lot of excitement on this season. There’s a new girl on the show, new alliances and lots of drama. I was definitely surprised at all that happens in this new season,” Derek exclaimed with a slight chuckle.
The sky’s the limit for this talented stylist. As his clientele and popularity continues to grow, fans of this sought after stylist and reality TV star will soon have their chance to experience a piece of the Derek J magic for themselves as the J Spot Salon quickly becomes the place to be for beauty in Atlanta.



15 Minutes with Derek J

After finding out that Derek J is a fan of BGLH (he describes the site as “fab”) I got a quick chance to talk to him. For those who don’t know, he’s a supporting cast member on Real Housewives of Atlanta, a judge on Oxygen’s Hair Battle Spectacular and was featured in Chris Rock’s movie “Good Hair”. Check it out;
You’ve had a pretty swift rise through pop culture. How did you go from being a hair stylist to a TV personality?
Derek J:
 I went to hair school in ’99, got licensed in ’01 and moved to Atlanta in ’02. I actually moved there for fashion school, but then I got hooked up with a great lady who was doing a lot of music videos and commercials. So I started working with her. I’m from Toledo Ohio and all you know is that when you get your license you work behind a chair and then you might own your own salon, and that’s the end. So when I started working with her I was like, ‘Oh wow. You can make money doing hair on a set.’ because I didn’t know that all those things could be done. After learning that I was like “Okay, cool I like this.” and I decided to take my own path with it.
I did music videos for a long time and was really in the urban market. I went from music to the magazines. I knew a photographer and makeup artist who were up and coming and we all started working together. We did black men’s magazines like Smooth, XXL, Vibe and things of that nature. When I got tired of that I go into the competition realm and started competing in hair shows. That’s when I started getting more notoriety in the hair industry. Because for most hair stylists, we’re behind the scenes, so competing puts you in front of the scene. People started to notice me and in 2007 we taped Good Hair. But I wasn’t planning on being on TV.
The relationship between you, Kim Zolciak and her wigs is somewhat legendary. How did you get connected with Kim?
Derek J:
 It’s crazy, I was in the club and one of the producers from the show was like, “Why aren’t you on the Housewives?” And I wasn’t even watching that so I was like, “I don’t know”. He was like, “Listen, you should be on the Housewives. You’re fabulous, we want you on there.” So we exchanged phone numbers and about six months later he called me and was like, “I need you to come to Kim’s house now.” Never met her, didn’t know who she was. I went to her house, she was having a wig party, and we just clicked so well. The producer was like, “You guys are great.” Now, we’re friends. I’m doing her hair for her upcoming wedding.
What trends are you seeing in the world of black hair right now?
Derek J:
 Texture is in. Texture’s really in right now. Women are going away from you know, just having regular straight hair, now they really want it with texture. Also black women are experimenting more with color. More than they ever have before. It used to be taboo but black women are dealing with color now and I’m very excited about it.
Do you have any clients who are natural?
Derek J:
 I work with natural hair clients all the time. 95% of my clients wear weave because they want to, not because they have to. So my clients have hair down their back, and they’re natural, no relaxers. But they wear weave because of its convenience. It’s a great way to try new things with your hair or do something different.
How does one consistently rock a weave without their edges getting torn up?
Derek J:
 Anything on a consistent basis, without change, causes damage. So first of all don’t wear it for so long. Don’t wear it for 5 months, start with 2 or 3. When you take it out and put it back in, change your part. Change it to the left side one time, change it to the right side one time, leave your edges out one time, put your edges in one time, wear bangs, change it up. Because doing the same thing over and over again you put stress on the same area of hair, and it’s gonna break off.
Do you check out the hair gurus (relaxed and natural) on YouTube at all?
Derek J:
 No, I try not to get into any of those things (laughs). I just kinda worry about myself.
Who are some of your favorite artists/celebrities to work with?
Derek J:
 I love Nicole Ari Parker, Terri Vaughn is a great client of mine and I love working with her. I work with Tika Sumpter alot and she’s fabulous. I had the pleasure of working with Natalie Cole, I’ve worked with Nicki Minaj before. I’ve never really had bad experiences with the celebrity clients that I’ve dealt with.
Do you have any upcoming projects? Anything in the works?
Derek J:
 I really live day by day. When things pop up I’m like, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but, I don’t really do long-term goals because they set you up for failure sometimes (laughs). Real Housewives starts in November, I just did something for VH1 the other day and I’m doing an appearance on the Dr. Drew show next week. So I pop up here and there, I keep myself on the scene.
Thanks for talking with us Derek! Be sure to check out Derek J on Twitter :)


Hair Battle Spectacular

 This week’s Check Up from the Neck Up had me nervous because we had no clue what we were working with until after we picked it. When we showed up in the salon and saw all the hat boxes I just remember thinking oh no, anything can be in those things. When we were picking our boxes I went for the cool silvery metallic box because it was the prettiest. After I opened that box I was like crap, I totally should have gone with the obvious choice of pink! I had only silver hair, black mesh, and packing peanuts!! What the heck was I going to do with packing peanuts?! We hardly had any time and I was just sitting there trying to figure out a cool way to make those three pieces work together, and I was honestly stumped! In the end I came up with a crazy ponytail that kind of reminded me of a girlie tin man, and I made a bow out of the mesh and stuffed it with the packing peanuts. Then I decided I would glue the packing peanuts scattered onto the hair piece, I tried hot glue…they melted…then I tried weave glue…they melted. But at that point I had marks on my piece that i had to cover from the two trials with glue. So I decided to use hair pins to pin them on, the problem was you could see the pins because we only had black hair pins…ugh. And of course Derek J called me out on it, why wouldn’t he lol. If only the packing peanuts weren’t bio-degradable, my first idea would have totally worked out.

Derek J explains WHY he wears heels! - HipHollywood

First things first…Derek J is a fantastically warm, intelligent and talented entrepreneur. Most of us were introduced to him via Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” where he dazzled viewers with his fierce hairstyling skills! Besides his celebrity clientele, he’s a judge on “Hair Battle Spectacular” and can be seen on Bravo’s HIT show, “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. But there’s one fabulously glaring fact that sets Derek J apart from his counterpart…the man can wear the hell out of pair of heels! Yes, even better than me! Well, while we were in Atlanta for the BET awards, we made our way to his salon, J Spot and caught up with the the man, the myth, the legend himself about why he decided to ditch his sneakers for a stiletto!


A Tall Tale, But True: Men in Heels

A Tall Tale, But True: Men in Heels

Published: October 14, 2011

ON a recent summer evening at Mr. Black, a dance party held every Tuesday at Bardot on North Vine Street, Sean Wagner was towering above the crowd. Mr. Wagner, 23, is tall even in socks (6-foot-2), but that night he had some extra help.

On his size 11 feet were a pair of eight-inch bright neon green lace-up stiletto ankle boots, procured from The Ladies Studio Exotic Shoes on Hollywood Boulevard.

He jokingly dubbed them “my usual hiking shoes.”

Mr. Wagner was otherwise dressed in men’s clothing: a loose-fitting black tank top with a pair of tapered black pants. He had a neatly trimmed beard, and a pair of black-framed glasses sat perched on his nose.

“I never leave the house with less than eight inches on my feet,” he said cheerfully. “It helps you see over the cattle.”

Mr. Wagner was not the only man wearing high heels (but no other women’s clothing) that night. At Mr. Black, Luke Nero, a promoter, estimated that 10 or more men were traversing the dance floor in a pair of pumps. “I went to a loft party yesterday, and there was a guy in normal shorts, normal tank and really hot red pumps. That’s it!” he said. “Everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, I love those shoes!’ ”

In a way, Mr. Wagner and his stiletto-wearing cohorts are repeating history. Until Napoleon banned them, high heels were considered a sign of nobility in France during the 18th century and were favored by men as well as women; long before Louboutin, Louis XVI donned five-inch red-accented heels depicting wartime battle scenes.

In 2009 the Atlanta hairstylist Derek J became famous after appearing on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” wearing women’s pumps with jeans and a sweater, the same year that the designer Rad Hourani sent male models down the runway in boot heels reminiscent of Prince and ’70s glam rockers like David Bowie and David Johansen of the New York Dolls.

At Mr. Black, two best friends, Coy Barton, 24, and Mark Cramer, 25, who go out together as a duo dubbed Coma, were dressed alike in buttoned-up white shirts, dark gray dress slacks pegged at the ankle — and black leather ankle boots with peep toes that showed off their black painted toenails. “I’m in Steve Madden, he’s in Chinese Laundry,” said Mr. Barton of their shoes, “These were $115. Mine were, like, $170.”

Expensive, yes, but nothing compared with the price of Gregory Alexander’s prized pair of Balenciaga six-inch wooden wedges: $2,000. They were safely ensconced in his closet. That evening, Mr. Alexander, 26 and a host at Mr. Black, had paired Yves Saint Laurent’s Imperiale platform stiletto ankle boot (original retail price: $1,395) with a leather motorcycle jacket, tight black jeans, a white shirt and a skinny black tie. “They were a pretty penny,” said Mr. Alexander, 26, referring to the YSL’s. “They were a Valentine’s present to myself. I had them engrave a card for me, too.”

Mr. Alexander, who runs a popular party called A Club Called Rhonda, said he owns about 30 pairs of women’s heels. He wears a women’s size 11, and just barely fits in most designer shoes.

Mr. Wagner, meanwhile, said he often resorts to paying for custom-made heels for his larger feet.

“I love the height,” he said. “It helps when you’re in a club. I’ve bought Louis Vuitton. I’ve bought Gucci. But a lot of designers don’t go high enough for me. I found a company in Arizona that will do 15-inch heels for $3,000.”

Jeff Paice, a clothing designer at Mr. Black who had dressed up his buttoned-up black shirt and black pants with a pair of sandal wedges, said he was bored with the usual choices. “There’s nothing for guys,” he said.

Mr. Barton agreed: “I literally look at girls and think, you have so many options. You have jumpers, you have skirts, you have dresses, you have pants, you have shorts. Boys have pants and shorts. Or suits and a shirt.”

None of the men interviewed considered themselves to be in drag. “I always make it very clear that I am a man, and I’m not trying to portray an illusion to anybody,” Mr. Wagner said.

Though some would call it a form of drag, he added, “As far as we’re concerned, this is just bringing a look to a club — which is what you are supposed to do.”

“I wish society was more acceptable of men wearing heels,” Mr. Paice said. “I think it’s fun. I think it makes a statement.”

Mr. Alexander cited reasons for wearing high heels many women have known since they were invented: “It’s a power thing. You’re higher than everybody else. You make more sound. You walk a different way. It makes your legs look better.”

He added: “I don’t ever take them off. I even drive in them — stick shift.”

Last summer, he broke his ankle trying to jump a fence to get into a party while wearing a pair of heels. “I was in a cast for four months,” he said. “They told me I should never wear heels again, obviously.”

“But I don’t know,” Mr. Alexander added, admiring his YSL-clad feet. “I’m back.”



Derek J invites you to The Exclusive Grand Opening of The J Spot Salon tomorrow night!!!


WHAT:           Exclusive Grand Opening of The J Spot Salon (This event will be filmed for television)

WHERE:        360 Pharr Rd. NE

                      Suite 103

                      Atlanta, GA 30305

WHEN:          Thursday, October 13, 2011

                      Media Check-In         6:30pm

                      Red Carpet Begins    7:00pm

WHO:            Derek J, Celebrity Hair Stylist

                      Cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta


GLAAD toasts 25th with gay Atlanta

With distracting aerialists, dancers, stilt-walkers, drag queens and roaming models, it was almost secondary that so many famous faces turned out Saturday to fete GLAAD’s 25th and honor 30 LGBT Atlantans.
Gay newsies like Don Lemon of CNN and Itay Hod of CBS (third photo) held court at Mason Murer Fine Art for Celebrate GLAAD At 25 bash, while other celebrities including Amanda Bearse, Melissa Carter (bottom photo center), Kat Graham, Jovita Moore (bottom photo left) and Derek J. milled about posing for photos with guests.
imageBut while playing Spot the Celebrity, roving eyes of male guests and celebs alike kept landing on two crews of male models. All that was missing was an oil-wrestling match for dominance between the ROKK Vodka gladiators (top photo with guests) and models from the new “North vs. South” calendar by Richie Arpino (second photo, center).
A wrestling match wouldn’t have been out of place with so many performers, including Atlanta Ballet dancers on the floor and Cirque-style acrobats on the ceiling. There was also enough drag for a party game of Drag: Now and Then. Charlie Brown, Bubba D. Licious and The Lady Chablis were representing alongside newer female impersonators like Phoenix, Angelica D’Paige and Janelle Brooks.
imageAs if there weren’t enough stimuli already, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also had some business to attend to. Five at a time, some 30 local LGBTs took the stage to have medals of honor placed around their necks.


Derek J Returns to ‘Real Housewives’

A lot of women love their high heels, and there are plenty of cross-dressing men who swear by them as well. One of those is Atlanta hairstylist Derek J., who may have inspired the new Morehouse dress code (men attending the school can no longer wear heels or any blatantly “feminine” clothing.) He’s also inspired the Atlanta housewives and will return to the Bravo weaves-and-whine fest when “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” heads back to the airwaves on Nov. 6. The drama continues, of course, with Nene battling, well just about everyone, Kim’s pregnancy, Apollo and Phaedra’s new baby, Cynthia and Peter’s new marriage and Nene’s possible new relationship. Oh, and the wives head to Africa, in what is sure to be classic RHOA material.
CLICK HERE to see a sneak peek video.
Derek J also just finished his second season of Oxygen Network’s “Hair Battle Spectacular” which aired last night with Nostradamus declared the winner. Derek’s salon, The J Spot, which started it all, moves to a new Atlanta location on Oct. 13. You may remember Derek J. as the winner of the Bronner Bros. Hair Battle Royale competition in Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair.”  That win led him to the attention of RHOA producers and the rest is hair history. Despite his television and film success, Derek J. says that his career as a hairstylist remains his first priority. As he says in his bio, “I definitely go into a creative zone, but I also know how things work and the fact that I went to fashion school, I’m using everything I learned about fashion and applying it to hair. Trend forecasting, color blending, it’s all the same because hair is an accessory.”


Vixen Chat: Derek J Talks Shoe Designers, “Hair Battle” and Hair Tips

Derek J is a man who knows hair… and heels. VIBE Vixen sat down with the celebrity hair stylist in his newly relocated Atlanta salon to discuss hair tips and why black hair gets a bad rap. Oh, and of course we had to dish about his gal buddies from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. He dishes about which cast member he thinks has made a complete transformation over the years. -Chantell Black
VIBE VIXEN: You are always in a pair of heels.  Who is your favorite shoe designer?
 I love high-end shoes. I love the Gucci’s and the Louboutin’s, but unfortunately I wear a size 11, so I can’t really fit them. So Tory Burch, Stuart Weitzman, Jeffrey Campbell are my faves.
Your show, Hair Battle Spectacular, recently debuted it’s second season. What kind of advice did you give to the hairstylists?
My advice to them is you don’t have to be good at everything, just be good at what you do. Don’t try to come in here and wow us; do what you know. It’s a competition, and you don’t want to lose because you trying to do all this other new stuff. Just do what you know how to do, be the best at it and make it fabulous.
What kind of hair tips do you have for the fall season?
A lot of black women don’t have a hair regimen.  You should be getting your hair shampooed at least once a week and ends trimmed every four to six weeks. Then you need to decide if you want to be natural or relaxed, and keep up on those things. From relaxed to natural, cut it all off or get a weave.  And get a good stylist that focuses on hair maintenance, not just hair styling.
What’s the biggest mistake girls make with their hair?
They want everything, but not take the time to maintain it all. They want the weave in, they want the weave out, they want relax, they want natural, just figure out what you want.


Reality Check: Derek J Talks Real Housewives & More

Derek J Hair Battle Spectacular

How cool would it be to make cameo appearances on one of America’s most popular reality TV guilty pleasures, be a judge on your own reality show and still run a successful salon?  UPTOWN Magazine asked someone who could answer that question best; celebrity hair stylist Derek J.  The BFF to the cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta gave us a teaser for what to expect as they gear up for another season of high-end shoes and high-end drama, as well as his own show on Oxygen Network.

Related: [PHOTOS] Real Housewives of Atlanta Is Back

UPTOWN: Your show, Hair Battle Spectacular, recently debuted it’s second season.  What made you return?

Derek J.: When they renewed for the second season, I was the only one [of the judges] that came back.  I was happy I got called back because I could’ve been left out like everybody else.  It’s such a fun show.  We grind it out for six weeks in L.A. and make it happen.

What can we expect this season?

There’s a lot of drama putting seven hairstylists together.  We’re actually getting ready for the finale.   It’s drama.  It’s hair.  It’s fun.  Eva and Taylor brought a fashion element to the show, where last year it was just about the hair.   So everybody stepped their game up all the way around.

From one reality show to the next, will we see you in this season of Real Housewives of Atlanta?


BET Hip Hop Awards Pre-Parties Pop With Ray J, Da Brat, Derek J, Fonzworth Bentley, DJ Drama; Photos

ATLANTA – The BET Hip Hop Awards officially got underway with hip-hop heads flooding the streets in the city that has breathed life into the genre for the past two decades. One of the biggest pre-BET Awards parties happened was the annual barbecue celebrity party put on by 135th Street Agency at Piedmont Park’s Magnolia Hall, where the likes of Ray J, DaBrat, Derek J, Fonzworth Bentley, Shanti Das, DJ Traci Steele, DJ Drama, Devyne Stephens, Dondria, Lil Duval, French Montana, Verse Simmonds and WSB TV news anchor Jovita Moore danced, imbibed libations and mixed it up in grand style.