“My AMERICAN HAIR Dream” Celeb Hair Stylist Dennis Stokely Talks about American Idol!

I am lucky to have such great contributing editors like celebrity hair styli9st Dennis Stokely! It’s always fun to see what he’s written and given that this is the LAST DAY of 2015, we get the icing on the cake that is very much Dennis Stokely.

Dennis Stokely
What’s really great about this post is that Dennis talks about American Idol! Just in time for Idol’s premiere of the newest (and last) season of this TV show, it’s such perfect timing that I couldn’t be happier with this post. Dennis Stokely worked as Paula Abdul’s hair stylist during the height of America Idol. He was one busy man working with Paula!


“Landing the gig-of-a-lifetime working as Paula Abdul’s hairstylist on the mega-hit TV show AMERICAN IDOL!” #paularocks #memoriesareforever


The 15th and final season of AMERICAN IDOL premieres on January 6, 2016! Here is a little walk down memory lane and a nod to my future after the thrilling experience of creating hundreds of hairstyles for Paula Abdul during her last two seasons on AI.

American Idol Season 8 Cast & Crew shot: cropped to see Simon, Randy & Paula with Dennis Stokely in the back row.


Styling Paula’s hair for a cover shoot for TV Guide Magazine

I was working in the Beverly Hills Salon, Prive’ when I was booked as the hairstylist for a high profile wedding. I worked that day with the legendary Hollywood make-up artist Alexis Vogel. After the wedding, I thanked Alexis and told her that I had admired her work for years, especially the Guess Ads she created with Anna Nicole Smith, all the amazing covers for Playboy Magazine and the genius of her flawless work with Pamela Anderson. Alexis turned to me and said, “Wow, who are you, nobody ever thanks me?!” She asked for my number and a week later called me from Palm Springs, said she was with Paula Abdul and asked if I could be at Paula’s house a 5am the next morning for a photo shoot for OK Magazine!.

It was a magical day. We got Paula ready at her house and then went to an estate on Sunset Boulevard for a 12 hour shoot. I created over 6 hairstyles that day. When it was over, we went back to Paula’s house to shoot a promo piece for her reality show, Hey Paula!. It was after midnight when we were done and I will never forget Paula looking at me and saying “you’re amazing, I have to work with you.”


Dennis Stokely on set.

Paula’s team reached out to me the next day and booked me to style her hair for the season 6 finale show at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. It was a surreal and tingling day and walking into the Kodak and getting Paula to the judges table just seconds before the show went LIVE was crazy-cool. After the show, I was told Paula was leaving for London for a few days for meetings and to do press. I was booked to go with her and when the plane took off from LAX, I knew my career would never be the same.

I clicked with Paula and we became fast friends. I ended up leaving my job and I worked with Paula almost everyday until she left the show two years later at the end of season 8. Paula’s schedule was relentless and I was constantly working on ideas for new hairstyles. Paula was a dream client. She loved trying so many looks, loved wearing her hair up,down, long, short, curly, straight and we were always playing with hair embellishments,braids & ponytails. Paula would sometimes do multiple press appearances per day and we often changed hairstyles with each wardrobe change.

Paula Abdul in London wearing designs by Elizabeth Emanuel, hair by Dennis Stokely

One memory – we taped the LIVE shows of AMERICAN IDOL on Tuesday and Wednesday in Los Angeles, took the red-eye to New York, Paula was on the Today Show the next morning, then The View, then radio interviews at Sirius, then the David Letterman Show and then back to JFK for the flight back to LA.

Paula and Dennis, Season 7 Finale red-carpet, Nokia Theater

Just retelling the story is exciting! Paula was a tireless promoter for AMERICAN IDOL and having witnessed her in action for so long, I now look back and say that she was the magic that made AMERICAN IDOL the juggernaut it became. I will always cherish my time working on AMERICAN IDOL and Paula will always hold a special place in my heart.
On an AMERICAN IDOL press junket with Paula, at MTV Headquarters, Times Square, NYC.


When I began my career as a hairstylist in New York, everything in the beauty world was dictated by supermodels. Interestingly, when I arrived in Los Angeles, the industry was making a turn and embracing celebrities for covers of magazines, cosmetics campaigns and endorsements.


In life, timing is everything and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Because of the global exposure of AMERICAN IDOL, I have been able to turn my attention to branding myself in the celebrity hairstyling world. I will be in Chicago at America’s Beauty Show on March 12,13 & 14 launching my signature collection of scissors. I have partnered with the industry leader, Washi Scissor Company to introduce “DENNIS STOKELY celebrity shears” to stylists everywhere.

I am forever grateful that my wanderlust journey as a kid from Georgia that was always mesmerized with gorgeous hairstyles continues.


My first BLOG for LA-STORY for 2016 will kick off on January 11, the day after the Golden Globes with
my “top 5 favorite hairstyles of the Golden Globes red-carpet.”

Happy New Year,
Dennis Stokely

DENNIS STOKELY celebrity shears

My deepest appreciation to Dennis Stokely for this walk down American Idol’s & his career memory lane. These photos were all from Dennis Stokely’s photo collection!

Happy New Year to Dennis Stokely and everyone else! 2016 will be an amazing year!
Stevie Wilson,

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Author: Stevie Wilson

Digital and social media pioneer and visionary meets disruptive innovator with a passion for topics and conversations that reveal insight into the So. California lifestyle. LA-Story.com appeals to a global audience (from Asia to Africa; Middle East to Europe, No. America to Latin America) in variety of topics and sectors: style (beauty and fashion), health & fitness, entertainment (movies, TV, books, music and more) ; food, beverages & spirits; IT Security + tech , travel, special events (red carpet to green carpet) I am known for interviews ( podcasts , textual and video conversations) with notables, celebrities and companies about interesting products & brands; profiles about places that reflect the So. CA vision and special events (Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys & other events that illustrate celebrity , athletes and home-town "stars" lifestyle and initiatives.) that illuminate the insider's perspective of So. California's lifestyle . Learn what's hot in Los Angeles, NYC, MIami and stops closer to home that make this blog a must-read because the voice, attitude, authenticity and ability to grasp the essence of most sectors, brands & products make it easy for consumers to earn what makes a brand, initiative or product unique - whether, food, fashion or finance (or any other topic "on the table") With 15+ Years online launching websites, online magazines, forums, products & brands, my voice, authenticity and ability to grasp the essence of most sectors, brands & products make it easy for me to share what the online audience and consumers alike want to learn- how to shop, live and reflect the lifestyle they wish to emulate. Need to leverage digital and social media space? Reach out to me!

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