“The Art of Believing”
When Troy Revord began NMU’s cosmetology program in his senior year of high school, he feared that his only models would be elderly women and that he’d end up perming hair all day. “It wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I thought it was going to be,” Troy said. Early on, he considered quitting the program, but Professor Myra Grimes encouraged Troy to stick with it—to believe in himself.
“Myra kept the program interesting” and encouraged her students to be active in competitions. Troy entered the student organization Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) and began competing regionally, then statewide, and eventually on a national level. Troy “got to work with fun models,” and found VICA to be a great outlet, which allowed for artistic and creative expression.
After graduation in 1993, Troy worked at Tangles in Marquette for six years and then left his hometown. He traveled Europe for a year before settling in the U.S. again and finding work in a salon in Baltimore, Md.
The cliché might suggest another Midwesterner’s migration to the East Coast in search of success, only to end up just trying to survive; this wasn’t the case for Troy. He felt more than prepared to succeed anywhere. “School laid the foundation,” Troy said, “and my first job gave me the polishing techniques.”
It didn’t take long for Troy to accrue a regular clientele in Maryland. He soon decided his next big move was going to be to New York City. It “seemed unattainable. I always dreamed of doing it, but I never thought I could,” Troy said. “But over time, I built up to believing that I was that good. I took a chance. I figured if I could get an apartment in New York, then I could make it.” And as luck or chance or word of mouth would have it, it turned out to be much better than just an apartment.
One of Troy’s regular clients at the time was going to be a bridesmaid for her sister—the fashion editor for Cosmopolitan—who had her wedding party scheduled to be styled at John Barrett, one of the most posh salons in New York City. When Troy’s client went to John Barrett, after recently getting cut and colored by Troy, the stylist asked who had done her hair and told her to tell Troy that if he ever came to the city, he had a job waiting for him.
In his first few weeks as an assistant at John Barrett—a position he held for a year before working on his own—Troy found himself “handing brushes and pins” to his supervisor who styled Catherine Zeta Jones for her wedding ceremony at the Plaza later that day. “Back then it was a big deal, and I was calling everyone I knew,” Troy said. But after working on Martha Stewart, Fergie, Angelica Houston, Courtney Love and Brittany Murphy, meeting pop idols like Michael Jackson and Madonna at various events, and styling celebrities for the Oscars, the stars have lost their luster. Now Troy prefers his regulars. He has a “great clientele and great pay.”
Troy has been with John Barrett for nearly a decade, and his talent and hard work haven’t gone unnoticed. He has been featured on cable television shows in previous years, and he appeared recently on “Split Ends,” (July 28, 2007) on the Style Network.
Although Troy says that to make it in New York City, “you have to be tough; no one hands you anything,” he also wants future hairdressers to know that if you can “get a good job at a good salon, it can take you anywhere. If you believe in yourself, you can do it.”