Hairstylist Andre Walker was born on October 19, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois to Woodrow Walker and Fanny Walker. He attended Kohn Elementary School and Lindbloom Math and Science Academy in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from there in 1974. Walker earned his certificate in cosmetology from the Pivot Point Academy in Bloomingdale, Illinois in 1977.
After graduating from cosmetology school, Walker was mentored by Chicago-stylist Leigh Jones and began working as a hair stylist for the beauty salon at the I. Magnin & Company department store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, under the leadership of stylist Rudi Hooker. In 1980, he established his own studio, the Andre Walker Salon, which he operated until 1987. Walker then joined Harpo Productions as a hair stylist in 1985, and worked as Oprah Winfrey’s personal hair stylist for her many television appearances and for every cover of O, The Oprah Magazine until 2015. Walker also styled the hair of former First Lady Michelle Obama, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and was credited with creating Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry’s signature short pixie haircut. In 2013, Walker and Dianne Hudson, Oprah Winfrey’s executive producer, founded Andre Walker Hair LLC. Two years later, the company launched a new hair care system for naturally textured hair, called The Gold System, as well as The Andre Walker Hair Typing System. Walker also served as an industry advisor to select fashion and trade media outlets, promoting hair care science and education.
In addition to his career in the hair care industry, Walker also published Andre Talks Hair! in 1997. Walker has been the recipient of several awards, including seven Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for his work on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was nominated fourteen times for the award. In 2008, Pivot Point Academy awarded him the L.E.O. Award, which honored the achievements of beauty professionals influenced by school founder Leo Passage. The following year, Walker received the Thurgood Marshall Fashion Icon Award. In 2016, he was presented the Bronner Bros Industry Icon Award as well.
Andre Walker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 6, 2017.