She's Stepping Out of Her Comfort Zone

She’s been through and hell back, but as long as she’s styling hair she’ll be okay. Kelly Tate is a beautician and upcoming barber.

Growing up with six other siblings and three of those being girls, it was only natural for Kelly to do hair. She used to watch her mother, Andrea Hicks, do hair and just by watching she was able to make a career out of it.

It wasn’t until Kelly's son, Nasir Washington, was born that she took being a beautician seriously.

“He’s my motivation to put myself out there,” said Kelly. “I need to be my best me for my son.”

He was unexpected, but he was the piece she had been missing. While pregnant, Kelly was attending cosmetology school and working at CVS. It was a lot of sleepless days and nights for Kelly, but there was nothing that was going to get in the way of her dreams.

“Hair is my first love.”

Kelly was born in Chicago, raised in Milwaukee and now lives in Kennesaw, GA. Her mother was the first to move and then slowly one by one, sometimes two by two, her and her siblings moved with their mother. There’s only one sibling left in Milwaukee, and he too plans on moving to Georgia sometime this year.

She landed her first “hair” job a few months after graduating: Sports Clips, and she’s been working there for almost a year.

“I’m enjoying what I do,” said Kelly. “Men are more chill and relaxed then women.”

Kelly spent her entire life doing women’s hair and she never expected to one day be a barber, but she loves it. She saw there weren’t many female barbers and she wanted to change that. Kelly has three barbers she looks up to: Joshua Hawkins (Hawk), Andre Hicks and Marcus Harvey.

“I need to be on their level,” said Kelly. “Their drive, their hustle, it matches mine.”

She’s always been a go-getter. Whatever she needs or wants, she’s going to work for it. Thanks to her family’s support she was able to finish school. Through stress and ups and downs, her family always had her back.

“It’s so much easier to have support.”

Kelly didn’t always have all of her family’s support. Her father told her she needed to enter the medical field for the money. Her ambition and passion changed his mind and he finally saw the talent his daughter possessed.

After working at CVS for six years, Kelly knew she was meant for more. It took a lot of guts to leave that life behind, but it was all worth it.

“I was so unhappy being at CVS,” said Kelly. “I didn’t have anything to wake up to.”

She’s came a long way, but she has other goals she wants to cross off her list.

Kelly doesn’t see herself working at Sports Clips much longer, she’d rather be in an actual barbershop. She wants to build up her own clientele and take over the barber industry one head at a time.

“I’m putting myself out of my comfort zone this year.”

She has a busy life, so she makes sure she talks to her son every morning before starting her day. Kelly tells Nasir her plans for the day, her hopes and everything you can think of. He may not be able to talk back, but she knows he understands every word.

Kelly wants to be an inspiration for single moms.

“I didn’t use Nasir as an excuse to hold me back,” said Kelly. “Don’t use your kids or anything as an excuse, everyone has problems.”

She started branding herself on social media, but, sometimes, she forgets to keep her profile updated with her latest hairstyles. Kelly has the potential to be something big--she’s the only thing holding herself back. This year is the year Kelly will unleash her full potential and reach for the stars while remaining humble.

Kelly is diverse and she’s wants to cut a wide variety of heads. She’s not just a barber or beautician, she’s a master piece in the making.