How did you get your start in hairstyling?
I started doing hair at 15 years old,assisting for [L.A.-based celebrity hairstylist] Arthur Johns. After seven years, I decided to go off on my own and entered the world of freelancing and music videos. Now, after having been in the industry for almost 30 years, I have developed 20 year-long relationships with some of my clients, styling celebrities like Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway and Charlize Theron.
The way I approach hair is different. I look at the individual and try to help them find their voice and tone and who they are as a person. I feel hair is one of the greatest accessories and it should be celebrated! So why not explore different parts of that both in colour and haircuts? What I do on one celebrity, I won’t do on another. Everyone has their own feeling and voice, and I think that’s incredibly important. I love our community because we are soldiers of creating confidence and change, and not letting people stay stagnant.
What tips do you have for working with celebrities on their red carpet hairstyles? Where do you source your inspiration?
For me, it’s about creating an entire image. I always ask the following questions: What are you wearing? What is the actual event? What does the carpet look like—is it big or small? What are you promoting? I think about all those different things and then start pulling images based on what they’re going to wear. I also ask them what [eras] they like and the trends that are speaking to them. I then start building around that. I love red carpet events because they allow you to tell a story that is told around a visual, which is such an incredible and beautiful art form. For me, hair is just a different medium.
What advice do you have for hairstylists who are looking to grow?
Mentorship is an incredible and impactful thing for us as artists. It’s important to team up with the right person and go out and assist. Read up on hair history—you need to know your references! We can learn a lot from people before our time to help us execute different ideas and make them more modern. Say yes to every job. You need to do a lot of “bad” hair before you do great hair. Don’t be afraid to try different things and play with different textures. Follow the people you love on Instagram. We have a great platform of people who can inspire you while giving tips and tricks. Don’t ever get comfortable thinking you know everything.
Education is one of the most incredible parts of life and I think that you’ve never reached your full potential. People tell me I don’t need to because I’m “at the top of my game,” but I think that’s why I’m at the top of my game—I’ve never stayed complacent and I always want to continue learning.
You’re the creative director for Virtue, a brand that’s been getting lots of buzz. Tell us about why you decided to work with them.
Virtue is unique because it uses a technology called Alpha Keratin 60Ku, which was founded by a scientist named Dr. Luke Bernett, who found a way to extract the entire proteomic protein from human hair. I have helped with the line’s product development as the brand’s creative director and am able to make a difference by helping to create transformations with a virtuous and honest line of products that deal with problems by adding a solution.