Johnny Wright, the name when uttered causes those in the know to smile and nod in agreement. It signifies and acknowledges, this is another example of an immaculately appointed talent that God not only blessed, but touched and said “thy will be done.” His journey to success is simple. A boy that embraced and cultivated a God given talent with the full support and understanding of his family at the age of 12 years old. He lives by the mantra “no matter what success I achieve, accolades I obtain or high profiled celebrities I list as clients; I am still a servant being requested for my services.” I first met Johnny years ago in high school. He was one of the most popular guys in school and boosted a client rooster consisting of the who’s who of our community. Johnny shared with me that he was responsible for the Geometry teacher (Mrs. Furtons) stylish hair and wigs. Although he’d be challenged to reference a geometric equation, he never gained anything less than a B in Geometry. This is the skill-set of the upwardly enterprising man that’s utilizing due-diligence and meeting deliverables to propel himself forward. What shocked me most was Johnny’s passion. His desire is for the Johnny-Wright experience to be one focused on hair care education…and he is the educator. This has allowed him to bypass and superseded the antics and strategies of even his closest competition. From television’s small screen to the catwalks of high fashion, Johnny Wright has helped create trendsetting and cutting edge hairstyles for entertainment’s most stylish and influential celebrities. Johnny’s hair wizardry can be seen on the likes of beauties including First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, actresses Vivica A. Fox, Sherri Shepherd, Naturi Naughton, Vanessa Williams, Lauren London, LisaRaye, R&B vocalist Janelle Monae, Syleena Johnson, Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson and author Candace Bushnell. Johnny frequently lends his talents to the fashion world working on runway shows such as Baby Phat and Edwing D’ Angelo.
Born and raised in the windy city of Chicago, Johnny began crafting his styling skills at an early age. It was his grandmother who first took notice of his fascination with hair as a toddler. “She knew I was going to be a hair stylist. I always wanted to comb her hair, it was just a spiritual thing that she recognized my passion”, says Wright. By his twelfth birthday, Johnny had developed his first client base – his own family members and friends. During his high school years, he became a premier stylist with a client database of 100 classmates. After graduating, Johnny was certain that his future was in creating trendy hairstyles. He attended Dudley’s Beauty College where he made his breakthrough in the industry. When the school’s director, Betty Clawson sent him to a photo shoot, Johnny met his first mentors, Landis Johnson of Landis Cosmetics and local model Shewandia Johns. They encouraged him to strengthen his career as a freelance hairstylist which led him to work for the Ebony Fashion Fair and become one of the industry’s most sought after hairstylists. In 2007, Johnny moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue his styling career in the television and film industry creating ideas relating to hair, fashion and lifestyle. He also had the opportunity to work at the esteemed Frédéric Fekkai salon. Additionally, Johnny is a brand ambassador for Corioliss America. During his regular appearances on the Home Shopping Network, Johnny offers viewers styling tips while maintaining healthy hair. His sexy and innovative hairstyle creations have earned him awards across the country. Johnny and I had a discussion. And it was one of the most refreshing experiences I’ve experienced in my journalistic journey. Read below to see the beauty of this young man.
FL- Using five adjectives, describe the real Johnny Wright.
JW- oh, wow. Let me see….Effervescing, spontaneous, comedic, kind-hearted, honest & talented!
FL- Before reaching the age of 40, you’ve achieved a level of success that most don’t experience in a lifetime. What has been your secrets to success and strategy?
JW- My secret to success is the fact that I’m very driven and ambitious. I am a go-getter that dreams big and goes out to accomplish those dreams. Most people would be shocked to know I do not believe in goals. Goals generally force people to pay more attention to the timeline versus the finished product. This timeline that’s associated with goals limit you and adds unnecessary pressure when evaluating your journey of success. I dream big and my focus is on the biggest dream I can imagine and actually accomplishing it. No matter how long it takes.
FL- If you were not in the hair industry, what other occupation would you see yourself doing?
JW- I have a love for traveling and experiencing the individuality of different cultures. I could see myself as a flight attendant. This would allow me to have the best of both worlds. But I’m also good at business development. I can be very nurturing when it comes to discovering the talent in people and helping them focus this into a marketable business. I would most definitely be somewhere in the marketing or business development entity.
FL- You went from a teenage boy doing the popular girls hair in high school to being responsible for not only the First Lady but several public figures hair as well. What most do you miss about the normalcy of being a small Chicago hairstylist.
JW- I don’t really miss much because in my current role I am positioned where I still interact with everyday people. I’m normally in the shop at least once a week for appointments. I am fortunate to call the first lady a client but I’ve never disconnected myself from everyday people. Notoriety and popularity is a gift you must know how to handle because if not managed correctly, it can be taken away and you will end up alone.
FL- What is your biggest insecurity?
JW- I guess the fact that I am shy. Also I am in an industry in which I groom men/women. At times, I can be critical of my personal grooming. I am also an extremely shy person when it comes to dating. Most people would see me and think I am highly confident in this area. The truth is, I find it extremely difficult to approach people in a dating environment.
FL- Considering your craft is scrutinized on a worldwide level, is their ever any anxiousness or fear when experimenting with a new style on a high profile client?
JW- NEVER!!!! EVER!!!! There is NEVER any fear only excitement. I realize my hands are touching history and that excites me. In this industry, I am most confident. I have no fear whatso ever. NONE..
FL- What is the biggest misconception about you?
JW- That I am overly confident or arrogant. I am confident and confidence make people fearful. Dating is hard because most people assume I’m not approachable and arrogant. I have realized people confuse confidence with arrogance. Most often, the concept of how they think I am is a reflection of how they would respond if they were in this same situation. Most people have an ill-informed perception of what they think this life is and they really have no idea. At the end of the day, I am still serving someone.
FL- When did you first realize you were a little bigger than the average hometown hairstylist?
JW- I always knew that!!! If you don’t have the brain capacity to think highly of yourself you will not be able to achieve great success. Many people conclude Kanye is an arrogant asshole but Kanye is a musical genius and if he lacked the capacity to view himself as such, he would not be where he is today. I always knew I was talented and a bit more than the average. I challenged myself to embrace that truth and accomplish the dreams I set at a very early age. I don’t compare myself to anyone. I’m in a league of my own. I have people I look up to but at the end of the day, I am servant.
FL- Who/what is the greatest inspiration in your life
JW- My grandmother. My grandmother was also a beautician and served her clients to the age of 90. She was raised in the ages of the likes of Madame CJ Walker. She had the greatest respect for the proper hair care of African Americans. This was not a hobby of hers. This was her profession and she respected it as such.
FL- You’ve begun a transition from a singular hairstylist into business-line conglomerate. What are the major qualities of The Johnny Wright brand?
JW- Professionalism, quality, education and wow factor. I only endorse the products or tools that I myself actively use with my clients. I also take hair care education seriously within my branding scope. These qualities have gained me the success of selling out every time I appear on HSN. Clients realize that my aim is quality, service and hair care education. Salon quality at home.
FL- What are some of the major projects the Johnny Wright business line is currently involved in?
JW- Currently I am the Artistic Style Director for Soft Sheen-Carson Inc., a division of L’Oréal USA. My work has appeared in Vogue Italia and on SoftSheen-Carson advertorial campaigns for such publications as Essence, Ebony, Jet and Sophisticate’s Black Hair. I served as a mentor for stylists nationwide in the first ever mentorship initiative, “Make Me A Master Stylist”. I am passionate about encouraging stylists to realize what’s beyond the chair and show how far their hands can take them. I am also a Brand Ambassador for Corioliss America. I’m a cast member of BET Internationals Madd Swagg and also a spokesperson for Zuri-Works Big Chop event.
FL- Describe the Johnny Wright client and how he/she view themselves
JW- Professional women. Upwardly mobile. A woman that makes a comfortable income and wants to stay involved, fresh and vibrant. Successful go-getters like myself.
FL- What distinguish the Johnny Wright experience from others in the industry?
JW- Our main distinguishing characteristics would have to be honesty, education, professionalism and vibrancy. We are vibrant, modern and current without being trendy. Trends fade fast.
FL- Chicago!!!! What are your thoughts on the city?
JW- I may not live in the city but I’m always a Chicagoan. I LOVE my city!! The shopping, the food, the skyline, the architecture, the culture and the people. I am very vocal in saying Chicago is one of the best cities in the world. I always enjoy myself and feel at ease when I return home.
FL- Will there be Johnny Wright salons in the future and what about the fella’s? Can we get a men’s line lol?
JW- I’m not sure what the future holds but I do see many amazing things. Most people do not realize that I do in fact cut men’s hair. What’s better than a man that cuts hair and knows firsthand what he himself wants out of his grooming experience?
FL- I’ve noticed an increase in high profiled stylist doing television reality shows. Is this something that you as a brand would embrace in the future?
JW- We were in talks with a few networks in regards to a show but my responsibilities to the White House put that on pause. I do foresee myself myself with a TV presence but I will not be a part of the buffoonery. I want to portray the quality and positive dynamic that’s a part of our industry. Of course there’s a certain amount of drama or conflict that arise in a salon setting but I want that to come organically. I’m not interested in the manufactured drama for ratings.
FL- Wow. This has been an amazing experience. It was really great speaking with you. Anything you want to leave the readers and how do they connect with you.
JW- Well thank you. It was great speaking with you also. Excellent questions but I expected nothing less. Readers can always connect with me. I’m a people’s person. I have a December appearance on HSN but the date is not yet released. I can also be found at,
Johnny is one of the few individuals that’s could easily command a price to even speak with him. His time is valuable, yet he remains so approachable, humble yet confident and most of all effervescent. Our conversation was spent laughing, talking and comparing life lessons learned. It was reminiscent of a big brother sharing a moment with his younger brother. Johnny is a role model to me because his goal was never to become hood rich. He dreamed bigger. His goal was always to diversify himself and become a contributing member of society. He utilized his skill-set to supersede mediocrity. He challenged himself to become iconic with his craft while embracing his endowment of always being inspirational and an educator to those he come into contact with. These are qualities that makes him Flyy…and I’m happy to call him a brother. Cheers to your success and everything the future has in store for you…Deo