NEW YORK — Kyan Douglas has been in touch with his feminine side since he was a kid: The grooming guru from Bravo’s “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy” began experimenting with beauty products as a lad by making his own versions in a food processor. “I took a stab at papaya facial scrubs,” he said during a phone interview last week.
But even in an age of consumerism when televised lifestyle makeovers afford prime-time plugs for everything from PowerBook G4s to General Electric refrigerators, Douglas has more holistic motivations in his current role than merely performing makeovers. While pondering his keynote speech during a pedicure at Oasis Day Spa on Manhattan’s Park Avenue for the opening of this week’s Spa & Resort Expo (see related story on this page), he was reminded of the importance of what he regards as the healing nature of the spa environment.
“I see people who work in spas — massage therapists and aestheticians — as healers,” he said. “It’s an important part of the spa experience — to tap into the healing nature of services and make sure that comes across to the client. Most people that go into [a spa] sort of have a sense of that already,” said the 33-year-old certified cosmetologist. “It draws people to the industry.”
“In my early 20s I became interested in the healing arts and became a massage therapist,” he said. Not long thereafter, “I moved to New York specifically to work for Aveda.” After working at the hair care brand’s West Broadway location, he helped the company open the Aveda Institute here.
It was while working as a hair colorist at Manhattan salon Arrojo Studio that one of his clients told him about a friend who was the casting director for a new show that would eventually declare: “Five gay men, out to makeover the world — one straight guy at a time.”
Douglas said the most rewarding aspect about his career success has been the people he sees on the street who thank him for opening up a dialogue about homosexuality, or simply making them laugh. “The guys on the show express a genuine gratitude,” said Douglas, and “fan mail [says], ‘Thanks for being
Douglas’ immediate plans include a beauty book targeting women called “Beautified,” which will cover topics such as hair and skin care, nutrition and diet. The Clarkson Potter volume is due out in the fall.