Love may be "an ever-fixed mark/That looks on tempests and is never shaken," as the Bard once wrote. But beauty is a fickle bitch.
That's a lesson Kerri Aultman now knows all too well. The model normally keeps her hair dyed dark, with short sides and a long, stylish swoop in front that hides half of her pretty face. The dramatic hairdo is ideal for her performance art pieces at parties and club openings. "My appearance is my living," she says.
So she was skeptical when she met Susie Kim. Aultman was having a drink at Wood Tavern when Kim approached her. "I love your hair," Kim said. She then introduced herself as a stylist and instructor for Vidal Sassoon in Miami Beach. "I'd love to give you a free cut sometime if you'd be willing to model for my class."
Aultman cautiously promised to consider it. But in the weeks that followed, Kim kept texting her. Finally, she agreed, but only if Kim would cut her hair without her students around. "Her credentials were legit," Aultman says. "After getting another bad haircut [elsewhere], I decided to try something new."
The model and the hairstylist met at Sassoon's Miami Beach salon Friday, January 17. They spoke for half an hour as Aultman showed Kim images of Noomi Rapace's Mohawk in the Swedish film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But once Kim began cutting, things quickly went off script.
"You're not really liking this haircut," Kim mentioned halfway through.
"How could I?" Aultman answered. "I don't have any hair left."
In fact, by the time Kim finished, Aultman's hair looked more ravaged than Rapace-like.
"I am, like, bald. I'm not even kidding," Aultman says. "I have a scissor line in my scalp." Aultman had planned on tipping Kim $40 for her trouble. Instead, she says, "I walked out without giving her anything except for a piece of my mind."
When she texted Kim later to say she was still upset, things got snarky.
"Well, it's unfortunate you couldn't appreciate the free service and the creativity of the haircut, which was tailored for you," Kim texted back.
"No, what's unfortunate is that you didn't listen to your client," the model replied.
Aultman says the haircut is so bad she has had to wear wigs, even during a photo shoot for the new downtown club E11even. "It's so humiliating," she says. "My hair is not a free-for-all. This has hurt my job opportunities."
Kim claims Aultman is making too much out of a free haircut.
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"I'm sorry, but I find it a little humorous," she says. "She's a model. To be a model, you have to be more open about things... I loved the haircut. I thought it looked great. She got compliments from everyone in the salon. I just think she's not a happy person.
"She was insulting me in front of my clients, saying this was a terrible haircut," Kim adds. "I don't think people should complain about something they get for free. Besides, how does a haircut destroy someone's career?"