What first drew you to the hair world? When I was in kindergarten I decided to chop all my hair into a bowl cut because I thought it would make me stand out. I felt very defined by my hair and specifically wanted mine to look different. When I was 14 I got my first job working as a receptionist for my childhood hairstylist once a week. I loved the vibe of being in the salon and watching the stylists, how they all seemed very free and expressive via their work and personal style. I asked my boss what I should do if I wanted to do hair, and he told me to go to the Sassoon Academy in LA to attend cosmetology school as soon as I could. It was tunnel vision for me after that.
After attending the Sassoon Academy in LA, you continued your training in London and New York. How do you think that living and working in these different cities has influenced you? Starting off in their LA Academy showed me early on that hair is a form, a design, and should be approached with intention and refinement. When I got to London I was so inspired. I hadn’t been around that kind of extreme fashion or art world before. I got there and thought, ‘wow, I actually fit in here’. I felt that the people I met in London truly valued individuality. I chose New York because it was the closest thing I could find to London without needing a work visa.
Living and training in both these cities, I was fortunate to learn from so many more of Sassoon’s masters and go deeper into how I can follow these strict formulas, then use that knowledge to break them and create something new. I’ve always been inspired by Vidal Sassoon’s personal story, how he redefined the hair industry without asking for permission. He created his own system, and built an international empire with a group of like-minded creatives based on that. Vidal Sassoon basically turned hair cutting and education into an art cult. I can’t think of one hair education platform that doesn’t use some aspect of his format.
Who or what is currently inspiring your work? Most recently, the work of Julien d’Ys. I’ll always be inspired and intrigued by people who take the road less travelled to their success. Seeing his work in person at the Comme Des Garçons exhibit at The Met sparked something for me. I left thinking, ‘I have to make some crazy wigs now, if he can do it, why can’t I?’ It put into perspective how my art and hair work can co-exist. It was right on time because I had been feeling a bit scattered by all the work I wanted to do creatively, and I realized that there was no need to choose.
Favourite cut or style? Right now, I’m into braids, mostly because I finally cracked down and got good at doing them. You can basically do anything with braids. I decided I was going to come up with different braid projects and reach out to specific muses for them so I could practice. For cuts, I’m into shaving and/or dyeing designs into the hair right now, also precision cuts, always. I like the boldness it takes for someone to commit to wearing something elaborate on their head until the next time they cut or dye it.
What does hair mean to you? It means that I get to make a living expressing myself creatively. That I get to interact with people from all different walks of life and share these vulnerable one-on-one moments with them. It means I always strive to be better and push the envelope with my work, and never get trapped in a comfort zone.