Guy Tang | Knowing who you are

Guy Tang grew up in a small town in Oklahoma (U.S.). A shy boy from an Asian background, who tried to fit in with the rest. So he behaved different from who he really was. By now he is a famous hairstylist and colorist with more than 2 million followers on Instagram and travels the world over. Recently he was in Amsterdam to promote his new colour brand #Mydentity and I spoke with him about the really important things in life.

“After I literally I flew out of the closet, I could embrace who I really was”


A lot of people think about money in relation to happiness. This is so wrong! I know people that are rich but very unhappy. Happiness has nothing to do with how rich you are. And then, there are so many people that want to be famous nowadays. But where are you famous for? What is your purpose? Those questions you should ask yourself. Happiness comes from being yourself. Own who you are, live your best life, take care of yourself and make people feel good.

Be naked with yourself so you can be naked with others


I always try to be in communication with the people around me. My friends and my team. If there is a situation, I talk about it, confront it head on. That way things can be fixed before they start festering. I want everyone around me to be happy and the only way to achieve that is via good communication. I miss that sometimes. People post things on social media, but forget to talk to each other. It would avoid so much drama if people would talk more. Not only would that make us happier, but it improves the happiness of everyone around us. But to know yourself doesn’t make you necessarily honest with yourself. Being honest is also very important. Be naked with yourself so you can be naked with others. That’s why I called my last collection #Naked.

I lost my shyness when I got to know myself and could be proud of who I was

Embrace yourself

When I was about 12 years old, I had an obsession with Barbie’s and My Little Pony. But I was told that I was not supposed to do that. It was pretty rough. I tried to pretend not to like it so I would fit in. This was the reason I never had the chance to know myself. I was too busy trying to fit in, the entire time of growing up. It took me many years till I got to know who I am.

I was 21 when I finally became a hairdresser and 27 when I came out of the closet. Actually, I flew out of the closet, breaking the doors open and owning who I really am. Owning every imperfection. I feel it is not about accepting who you are, it is about embracing who you are. You hear a lot of people saying ‘accept yourself’ and then I think: ‘nah, accepting means just that you are dealing with it. Embracing means that you own it, be it and be proud of it. And now I can be proud of who I am, of every aspect of myself. And when I could do that, I gained confidence because I didn’t care anymore. That’s why my YouTube channel is about more than just education. It is hope for so many people. It’s a place where people feel safe.

“It is not about accepting who you are, it is about embracing who you are”

Building relationships

In just a short time of styling or colouring someone’s hair, you can change the way someone feels. It’s not just how they look but it’s the relationship you build with them. When I have a client, I am not just providing a service. I talk with them and build a relationship with them. By listening to them and hearing their vulnerabilities, I learn a lot about myself as well. That’s why being a hairstylist is more than just providing a trend or a service. It’s a combination of everything.