While flipping through Cosmopolitan's November issue at the salon, you might see your hairdresser -- in the magazine.
Northwestern High School alumnus Richie Childers is Mr. Cosmo North Carolina. He will vie against others from across the country in New York this week for the title of Cosmo's Most Eligible Bachelor of the Year.
If you don't subscribe, don't scour the supermarket magazine racks and can't wait until your next hair appointment, check him and other bachelors out on Cosmopolitan.com under "Hot Guys" or catch NBC's "The Today Show" on Thursday morning. The winner will be announced at a Manhattan banquet that night.
"Business is booming," Childers said as he styled hair at the Baxter Center's Dolce Lusso Salon in Fort Mill last week. "I don't know if it's because of Cosmo or not."
He said it with a grin that makes you understand why one of his female customers nominated him for the title. It's a masculinely dimpled grin with a touch of crinkle around the eyes, accessorized with dark brown eyes and a finely chiseled nose.
He's never been in such a contest before. After graduating from Northwestern High School in 1997, he did land grading and worked in a fabricating shop.
Then, a former girlfriend introduced him to someone who convinced him he could make a living styling hair. After a year of school, he worked a few years for the Carmen! Carmen! salon in Charlotte's Ballantyne area.
That's when a client said she wanted to nominate him Mr. Cosmo North Carolina.
"I just went along with it," he said. "She said it would be good for marketing, and I agree."
The client took pictures, and he won the state title.
When he moved to the Baxter Center salon, the team of beauticians there got into it. They dyed his hair, eyebrows and lashes a darker brown.
"He definitely is the cleanest, neatest, more detailed stylist here," said Kimberly Rowland, who did her internship with him.
The 6-foot-tall, 180-pound Childers is a former football and motocross aficionado who lifts weights at the Baxter YMCA at least two hours a week, has the six-pack abs to prove it and is proud of them.
Expressions, a photography studio down the street, took his Cosmo pictures, both with and without shirt.
While the Cosmo contest is fun and will provide his first trip to New York City, his true goal is to win the North American Stylist of the Year Award. Unlike Cosmo, it does not require him to be good-looking.
"I wear my heart on my sleeve," he quipped, displaying a tattoo of a large pair of scissors surrounded by a tribal pattern on his left upper arm. "My job is my fun and my passion."
He describes his style as "trendy, edgy, wispy."
"No updos," he said. "I don't do weddings."
Like most of the guys in the Cosmo contest, Childers is in his late 20s. In real life, he said he's done with the bachelor lifestyle.
"I lived the freewheeling bachelor style for awhile," he said. "You spend a lot of money going out at night."
Now, he's saving money to buy a house "sooner or later." The top Cosmo prize is $10,000.
"If I win, it will be sooner," he said of the house. "I'll pay off my bills and make a down payment."
Customer Ashley Horn, 20, described him as "just a funny, down-to-earth person."
"You never have to worry how your hair will look when he cuts it," she added, "and it lasts a really long time."
Childers said he'll be "very excited" if he wins, but "not too disappointed" if he doesn't.
Mr. Cosmo South Carolina, by the way, is Trey Moore, 21, an actor/model in Spartanburg.
The November Cosmo hits stands Tuesday.