Just ask celebrity hairstylist Tokyo Stylez how it feels to be the man behind some of Kylie Jenner’s most gushed about hairdos, and he’ll interject — not just because he’s bursting with energy, but because he must correct you.
“No, I am responsible for all her hair moments!” he told PeopleStyle. And quite frankly, he’s right.
For nearly three years, Tokyo (whose real name is William Jackson), has given Jenner every bold cut and color change under the sun all without lifting a pair of scissors or mixing a bowl of hair dye. The secret: his masterfully made wigs.
From blunt brunette bobs to neon tinged layers, Tokyo’s helped Jenner become a bona fide hair icon after starting off in the industry by simply designing wigs for cancer patients. Now, Tokyo boasts an impressive celebrity clientele, including Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and plenty more.
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We caught up with the wig expert himself at the Beautycon Festival in N.Y.C. (after the pro showed off his wig application skills during a Show & Tell panel sponsored by BET) to find out everything from his meet-cute with the beauty mogul to what it’s really like to collaborate with Cardi B.
When did you realize making wigs was your dream job?
I started making wigs for cancer patients originally. Just being able to help people and make people feel good about themselves and give them that confidence was a dream come true for me.
What was your transition to working with celebrities like?
My very first celebrity client was Tamar Braxton. But it wasn’t until I started with Kylie Jenner that my career [as a wig maker] really started to blossom. Kylie is a trendy, cool girl. She likes to have fun with her hair, so it was just me having fun with her. That is when everything took off into something really different.
How did you meet Kylie?
Actually, our relationship formed through Karrueche Tran. I did Karrueche’s hair for the BET Awards, and when Kylie saw the wig that I did for her, she got my number from makeup artist Hrush Achemyan [who collaborated on Tran’s look] and then she FaceTimed me! I was like, “Who is calling me?” I didn’t know it was her, so I didn’t answer, and she texted me saying, “This is KJ.” I’m like, “The only person [that could be] is Kylie Jenner.” I called back and it was her. And I was just like, “Oh! Okay!”
How many wigs have you made for her since?
Probably at least 100 of them, if not more. She literally has a full room full! Like, she has a wig closet.
Out of all of those, can you pinpoint your favorite look together?
Kylie Jenner at the Met Ball [in 2016] when she [wore] Balmain with the bob. It was just so clean and chic and effortless. She looked super pretty. It was high fashion and just bad b*tch material!
You’ve been doing all of Cardi B’s hair looks recently too. What’s it like working with her?
I love it. She’s not scared of trying new stuff. That is what keeps me fresh and keeps my mind going. It is all about revamping and redoing yourself.
What’s the fastest turnaround you’ve had to do in order to make a wig for a celebrity?
Rihanna called me one time for a magazine cover for Tush magazine. It was two o’clock in the morning and [her team] was like, “We need a wig by eight o’clock tomorrow — in L.A.” I was in D.C.! I had to make the wig and then get it to a courier so it could get to L.A. on time in order for the shoot to happen.
And did it?
Yes! I am like the superman of like hair. I have to be everywhere all the time at all times.
Do all your clients get to keep the wigs you create?
It depends. I do Cardi’s hair every day now, so I take her wigs on and off. I have a Cardi stash, a Nicki Minaj stash, a Kylie [Jenner] stash. I have their name on them, so when they want to go back and revisit those wigs, I just look in my cabinet.
You also have your own line of Touched by Tokyo wigs available for the public to purchase. What should someone know before buying one?
It is an investment. [Tokyo’s wigs retail for approximately $950.] But it is worth it. Imagine if you go get your hair done every two weeks or so. You might as well buy a wig, it’s like the same thing. You can throw it on and it’s not damaging your hair. You can workout in it. It is completely safe and fun.
What do you love most about your career thus far?
What I’ve really loved most is creating iconic moments. Hopefully one day this is seen as a mark down in history with future stylists looking at me as an icon — and recreating all my legendary looks.
This interview has been condensed and edited.