Spinning off from Style Network's Jerseylicious, we now have Chicagolicious debuting on reality television. Detailing life at AJ's hair salon, this show spotlights AJ Johnson himself as well as the rest of the gang employed there. AJ's counts celebrities among its clientele, including Jennifer Hudson and Iman.
From designer cuts to makeup, this show gives viewers the behind-the-scenes treatment that will keep them coming back for more.
Newly out extension master MaCray Huff exposes his private life on the show, and Windy City Times went on the set to get to know our local stylist.
Windy City Times: Hi, MaCray. Where are you originally from?
MaCray Huff: I am from Virginia.
WCT: How did you wind up in Chicago?
MH: I always wanted to live in the city. I just packed up my stuff and moved from my parents place. I just wanted to live in a big city and every time I came here I had fun. I knew New York would be too much for me and L.A. was too far away.
WCT: That's how I picked Chicago, too. This is a great place to live.
MH: It is!
WCT: What was your journey to work at AJ's?
MH: I took a class at Vidal Sassoon for cutting. One of the girls there told me about AJ's. I just went over there one day with my resume and told them I needed a job. I told him what I could do so he hired me.
WCT: What area of the city do you currently reside in?
MH: Right now I am in Rogers Park. I used to live in Boystown, of course.
WCT: Do you have a favorite gay bar?
MH: I like Roscoe's, but I have a lot of fun at The Lucky Horseshoe! [ Laughs ]
WCT: I heard you are coming out of the closet to your family this week. Did this show coming out encourage you to do this?
MH: Yes. I am always myself, even with my parents. I am like how I am now but I haven't necessarily sat down and told them. I didn't want to be on TV being somebody else. I didn't want to have to hide things. People know I am gay so I wanted to be honest about it upfront.
WCT: What do you think your mother's reaction will be?
MH: There will be some crying, I am sure. I don't know if she will be mad.
WCT: You have to keep me posted.
MH: This is going to be a surprise. She might handle it better than what I think. I am sure she will throw a Bible verse in there…
WCT: We are cut from the same cloth, you and I! I wish you the best of luck.
MH: Thank you.
WCT: So in the salon, is your main thing cutting hair?
MH: I don't specialize in anything. I try to master everything and do it well. I went to Vidal Sassoon so I know how to cut. I do color also. When I was hired at AJ's I was brought in as an extension specialist.
WCT: It sounds like a lot of work. It's tedious, right?
MH: It is tedious but it's a lot of money. I can cut someone's hair all day for like $90 but I can do this in two hours and get $450. It is way better. I would like to do them all day but I like a variety.
WCT: Do you have a website of your own?
MH: I do, through a small website but now I am doing my own that will be macrayhuff.com . It is not up and running yet because I have been busy with all of this filming. I design clothes and accessories. I redo sunglasses, too, so I will have all of that on there.
WCT: Do you want to become active in the gay community and do some fundraisers?
MH: I really would. I want to do stuff like that but first I want to get this out of the way with my parents. I am ready for it to be over!
WCT: How has it been with the cast of Chicagolicious?
MH: I can be really crazy sometimes so I didn't know people would except when I would say something stupid. My favorite word is "bitch," so I wanted to make sure that was okay. At first it was weird but we know everybody so we have gotten used to it by now. It feels like nothing now.
WCT: Did you watch Jerseylicious?
MH: I watched a little bit of it but not really… [ Laughs ]
WCT: That can be good either way! It can be good to get ideas or sometimes to just be yourself if you don't watch it.
MH: Exactly. I will be watching it now.
WCT: Have you told your friends about being on it?
MH: When it was announced last week I was finally able to do that.
WCT: When I was an extra in the background, we couldn't even announce what show we were doing.
MH: Really? Where did you film?
WCT: It was a bar scene with AJ and this pretty girl with short hair.
MH: Her name is Laura Mitchell. I did her hair for the Masquerade Ball. I am so glad you got to see her before. Here is what we did with her hair. [ Shows photo on phone ]
WCT: Wow, very impressive. Is that a wig that you styled?
WCT: You definitely have a lot of talent. I look forward to seeing more creations on the show. Anything else you want to say about the experience?
MH: I am having the time of my life!
Chicagolicious starts snipping away June 11. Cut over to www.mystyle.com for details and listings.