Gerard Dure: A Master At His Craft
By Deardra Shuler
Gerard Dure has put 14 years into his hair salon located at 635 West 125th Street. One immediately sees the Asian and Egyptian artwork and interior design that has obviously been lovingly constructed when entering the salon. Even his staff is diverse. The mural ceilings bear out Gerard's creative flair. Twenty years in the beauty business gives credence to the fact the Gerard Dure Salon has a Master at the helm; who is a master at his craft.
A colorful child at birth, Gerard is the offspring of multicolored diversity. His mother is Irish and Black and his father is Haitian/Dominican. Born in Brooklyn, Gerard attended musical school at the First All Children's Theatre. He attended the High School of Music and Art, later known as LaGuardia Performing Arts High School. At 14, Gerard performed at the Alaska Repertory Theatre. He completed high school in Columbus, Ohio and then armed with endurance and talent returned to New York at age 18.
Determined to forge a career in show business, Gerard won talent contests at the Apollo Theatre and garnered several musical awards. Money was often scarce so Dure occasionally found himself a vagabond, staying in the homes of friends and even at a homeless shelter. Few knew of his financial straits because Dure always kept up appearances when auditioning for singing gigs. At 19, his luck turned for the better when he found himself doing a stint with Eartha Kitt who selected the budding actor to accompany her on stage. As a result, he caught the eye of hairdresser extraordinaire, the late and great Teddy Jenkins. Jenkins was in high demand by celebrities because he had the rare skill of mastering both makeup and hair. He even knew special effects makeup. Jenkins offered Dure a job as his assistant. "I had no intentions of becoming a hairdresser. I wanted to sing and only saw hair as a temporary job between show biz gigs. Yet, doing hair came natural to me. Teddy started getting me bookings and I found myself making mad money," recalled Mr. Dure. "I learned a lot from Teddy and I began to excel at makeup as well."
Before he knew it, Gerard was doing hair and makeup for people like Queen Latifah, Evelyn Champagne King, Bernadette Peters, Eartha Kitt, Chaka Khan, Angie Stone, Lil' Kim, CeCe Peniston, Denyce Graves, Toni Braxton, En Vogue and Tyra Banks, etc. "At 19 years old I was the key hair and makeup person for the show Black and Blue on Broadway. I even toured the world with Meli'isa Morgan. The tour was great because I didn't have to spend money so I saved a lot. I toured Europe, Japan, and throughout America. Ultimately, at age 21, I decided it was time to get an apartment where I continued to do hair. Eventually, I found a warehouse on 125th Street that was a real fixer-upper. It didn't have electricity or water and was filled with debris. I saw it had potential and eventually made it into the salon I own today," said Gerard whom Barbara Walters tapped to profile on her ABC Network show, "The View."
Gerard combined fine arts and the art of hair care over the years, experimenting and developing products and a hair weave method, which eventually resulted in his flat hair weave technique. He became a sensation and was featured in hair magazines throughout the world. "I have never viewed myself as a celebrity, so I was surprised when I received worldwide attention. God has blessed me and I view each success as a miracle," stated the grateful stylist.
These days, Dure is in the process of writing a book on beauty. "It's my first book so I am anxious to get it right. I plan to call it "All About Beauty." The title is self-explanatory because it will be like a beauty bible. I cover nutrition, exercise, skincare, hair care, fashion, diet, and everything pertaining to health and beauty. I advise black people in particular about staying away from the 3Ss -- starch, sodium, and sugar and instruct them on the best ways to eat healthy and exercise. A good diet of healthy food is really something people should incorporate into their lives as a permanent way of life. My book will be loaded with common sense information that anyone can apply," promised the hairdresser to the stars.
Gerard plans to write more books, however the popular and gifted beauty Meister has no intentions of stopping there. He is creating "'The Look' with Gerard Dure,'" a TV show that should hit airwaves by July 2006. "I found I enjoyed television after working on the program "Life and Styles," featuring Kimora Lee Simmons. "I was a guest beauty advisor on "Life and Styles." In fact, I was the only Black makeup and hair artist on television doing this. I started to wonder about that. I saw that white hair consultants could come in and get the permanent jobs simply by advising while I was actually doing the work." Dure remarked. "These white advisors didn't know how to do hair or apply makeup, they merely gave their opinions. I decided why not create my own variety show and make it something no one has ever seen before. My dream is to expose people to all of the beauty secrets that lie within my heart. I plan to have a whole lot of unique and innovative things on my show that will blow people's mind. It definitely won't be the average standard faire. It will be original. My style has always been to create something new and different and my show will be proof of that."
Interested parties can learn more about Gerard Dure at: www.gerarddurenewyork.com
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