Martinsville’s celebrity hairstylist is back on TV.
MaCray Huff, the Patrick County native who styles hair in Martinsville and Jamestown, North Carolina, is on the cast of the fifth season of “L.A. Hair,” which will start Thursday night, Jan. 5, on WE TV.
Huff will be at the premiere party, which will be held on the night of that first show, in California.
“L.A. Hair” is set around the real Kimble Hair Studio & Extension Bar in Los Angeles. At the end of the last season, Kimble fired much of her salon staff – the main cast members of the previous season’s show — and started fresh with five new stylists.
“It’s a reality show with Kim Kimble, the hairstylist to the stars,” Huff said. Her salon is on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The show “basically follows her salon and the Kimble hair team, doing photo shoots and video shoots with celebrities who come to the salon.”
On a preview to the show, Kimble described her new staff members, Huff included.
“MaCray is a buttermilk biscuit country boy, and this is his first shot in a celebrity hair salon, so I hope to be impressed,” she said (overlooking his time on ‘Chicagolicious,’ where he also worked with celebrities).
“Oh my god, it was so fabulous,” Huff said of the California experience. “It was a dream come true for me. People always said, ‘You should be on ‘L.A. Hair,’ and I’m like, ‘You can’t make them put you on a show.’”
Producers had remembered Huff from when he was on “Chicagolicious” on The Style Network a few years ago, and they invited him to be on one episode of “L.A. Hair,” Huff said.
That call in March from the producers caught him by surprise: They offered him the role with only four days’ notice to get to California for filming.
They suggested he bring plenty of clothes “just in case” it turned out to be more than one episode, he said. It ended up being for 10 episodes.
Starting on the show was a bit nerve-wracking, he said. “It happened so fast I didn’t know what to expect.” He had been well aware of “L.A. Hair” before he was on it, because “they were competition for us when I was on ‘Chicagolicious.’”
Since it takes a week to film an episode, he was on the West Coast through mid-May. Huff ended up coming back to Martinsville every three weeks for visits – and to catch up with his clients back home. “I was a bicoastal stylist,” he joked.
On one of those trips, he brought his miniature Schnauzer, Cleo (short for Cleopatra), back with him to California.
“I got her right after ‘Chicagolicious,’ he said. “I said, ‘Your name is Cleopatra because you are a queen, and one day you and I are going to be on TV.’”
She will be on the fifth and sixth episodes of the show.
While on the show, “I got to work with people in the industry I looked up to for years. It was awesome working with all of them.”
One of his favorites was Jonathan Antin. “He’s fabulous. I used to dress like him. I got to meet him. I went back just crying to myself, I was so happy.”
On the show, “I kept it real. I changed up my hair a lot, and let people see all the aspects of me,” Huff said.
Most of the show was filmed in the salon, which just a few scenes elsewhere, he said.
Though there is some drama on the show, he said – without wanting to give away any secrets – it’s not quite as thick as it was in “Chicagolicious.”
The West Coast lifestyle is “total opposite” of that of Southern Virginia, he said.
“There is traffic on top of traffic on top of traffic on top of traffic. That was all you could see for miles,” Huff said.
His eyes really opened up to the traffic problems when he filled out his mileage reimbursement forms. He was staying in Manhattan Beach and driving and hour and a half to the salon every day. When he finally measured the distance with the odometer, the distance was only “15 miles. I had no clue. I thought I was going 100 miles or something” each trip, he said, still shaking his head in astonishment.
The food was entirely different, too.
“It’s Hollywood, so you know everybody’s trying to stay skinny. I can’t say nothing good about the food,” Huff said. He eschewed the fancy restaurants and the health food joints to eat at Carl’s Jr., the West Coast version of Hardee’s, he said, or a food court at a mall.
In Los Angeles he met RuPaul, getting a juice at Earth Bar. He met Mya, L.L. Cool J and LisaRaye (“My mama loves her. She’s Tiki on ‘The Have and Have Nots.”).
He doesn’t shy away from talking with celebrities he runs into – “everybody’s always nice” – and got his picture taken with several of them, he said.
“They always say that taking pictures with people keeps them (celebrities) talked about, so they don’t mind taking them.”
He went to Venice Beach, and he worked out at Gold’s Gym. He “drove on the Pacific Coast Highway like you see on commercials and stuff. I made the best of it.”
The cast won’t know if the show will be continued another season “until it comes on and they see how the ratings are – but I sure hope so,” he said.
Huff is a graduate of Patrick County High School and Radford University. He taught history for two years before deciding to become a hairstylist. He has studied at Miracle University in Martinsville and The Sassoon Academy in Chicago. In 2009, he was licensed as a cosmetology instructor.
After attending The Bonner Bros Hair Show in 2000, Huff wanted to participate in Hair Battle Royale – which he did in 2013.
He was spotted by producers from The Style Network and offered a role on “Chicagolicious,” which was set in AJ’s of Chicago. There, he styled many high profile clients including multiple Ford models, Jill Scott and Christina Milian. The show had 20 episodes and was aired in 2012.
Around and after his time in Chicago, he worked at Boho Salon, voted the number one salon in the Triad. He specialized in hair extensions, hair coloring, cutting, men’s grooming and custom wigs.
He now lives in Greensboro, working at James Bradley Salon in Jamestown, North Carolina. On Fridays, he works out of a shop at Miracle Barber and Beauty Salon in Martinsville. He works area fashion shows, was a premiere stylist for the Greensboro Fashion Week and has organized hair fashion shows.
As the WE TV website put it, “As much as MaCray enjoyed being home, he soon began to plan his next conquest – the West Coast! Not one to shy away from a challenge, MaCray is excited and optimistic about the limitless possibilities that this new journey will present!”