Dasi understood from an early age that hair is not just an accessory; that great hair is the key to feeling beautiful. Mastering skills in cutting, coloring, styling and extensions.
1. How old were you when you became obsessed with hair?
Around 10 years old. My sister was born a couple years before that, and I became obsessed with creating these bizarre creations in her hair. I would make these rather elaborate, over the top braid and bobby-pin up-styles in her hair, which of course I loved (and felt so impressed with myself), and then she would look in the mirror, shriek at the monstrosity (couture) I created and pull it all out. I definitely thought she was my personal barbie doll. I remember when I was around the same age I had a small closet in my bedroom. I made a cardboard sign that said “DB’s Salon” and taped it to the wall outside of it. I would make my sister sit in there while I braided her hair. Not knowing that story a good friend of mine designed my logo, with large lettering “DB” in the center of it. Now that sign is on the door of my studio. Young minds are powerful! And I’m pretty sure my sister approves of the upgrade.
2. When did you decide “okay, this is it, I’m going to be a professional hair stylist?” Who were some of your mentors or inspirations when you got started?
Actually my hairstylist decided for me. I was 18 years old, making the usual gripes to her that someone that age does “what am i going to do with my life etc” and she just called it. She said “why aren’t you in beauty school, you do all your friends hair anyways.” I guess it was just too obvious that i didn’t ever think of it. So I enrolled in beauty school, and as soon as i started doing hair I knew that this was it for me. It encompassed everything I needed to be happy and have longevity in a career. Variety, creativity, being challenged, and most importantly making people feel good. Nothing beats seeing someone have a little extra pep in their step after they leave my chair.
One of my first mentors was hairstylist Tali Weiss. When we met, I was 18 years old and she was in her mid twenties (which to my sheltered ass seemed like middle age). I had just moved to Florida from a very small town in Northern California. There was no one that looked or acted like her where I came from. I was raised in the boonies, very sheltered. She was everything I ever wanted to be, that I didn’t know I wanted to be. She was unapologetically badass, had pink hair, tattoos and tons of sass (confidence). Appearance and attitude aside, she was also incredibly innovative and talented. I was inspired by her creativity and self assuredness. I learned a lot from her.
3. What were the early days of your career like?
When I first started doing hair, I was living in Gainesville FL, which at that time had a very thriving punk scene. I was always fascinated by extensions (even before I was licensed). I remember creating some really wild hair pieces for a fashion show being held at the local punk bar. I also made some pieces for a “punk” wedding, for a couple that wanted their look to be more avante garde than traditional.
I worked for little to no pay. I said yes to everything, just to build my book and get as much experience as possible. I was just trying to soak up knowledge every opportunity I could.
4. Looking back, is there anything you would do differently in your journey as a hair stylist? Any decisions you made when you were younger that you would not make today, knowing what you have learned so far?
I would have checked my ego sooner. I would have shadowed as many amazing stylists as possible, and diligently watched their techniques, style of doing things. Assisting is free education. I didn’t get that. I was just so eager to be on the floor doing hair. Now I pay thousands of dollars annually to take classes. A lot of those are not even hands on. They are just observing techniques from stylists whose work you admire. Thats literally what assistants do all day long. Observe. But, also, everything I have done has brought me to where I am now, and I am really happy with where I am and what I have built. So there’s that.
5. How do you communicate with the photographer you’re working with on a shoot to achieve his or her goals?
I ask for story or concept boards before we shoot together. That really helps to dial it in and get on the same page. I have zero ego working on shoots. I am incredibly detailed oriented. My primary focus is the model looking perfect, I stare at every strand of hair to the point of obsession looking to see if any single strand is going to mess up the shot. If there isn’t a PA close by, I’ll hold the light reflector, a prop, fan the model, etc. My communication style is – I’m out of the way, but close by, and ready to do whatever is needed. I definitely have my role on set as the hairstylist, but will also happily jump in wherever needed. My goal is to do my job well and be as helpful as possible, so the photographer can focus on getting that perfect shot.
6. What skills did you learn early on that you still use today?
Knowing when to turn away a client and when to say ‘no.” Sometimes clients bring in photos of hair styles that would absolutely not work with their hair texture and life style. Just giving them “what they ask for,” if it’s something that will look terrible once they style it themselves isn’t going to help either of us. Also there’s some individuals whose hair is just too damaged to add color or add extensions to it. I redirect those clients to a style that would better suit them and I explain why I am suggesting that. I want to empower my clients, for them to look and feel beautiful, so it’s important to have good judgement.
7. Tell us what a dream job is for you?
Styling for fashion week in Milan. The mecca of everything that inspires me. Fashion, couture, avant garde, beauty. My brain would be tingling and my heart would be singing!
8. What are the three tools in your hair styling kit that you can never, ever be without?
Mason Pearson “Mixture Brush”, Bobby Pins, Elnett Satin Hairspray.
9. What advice for young hairstylists who are just starting out and want to be where you are, at the top of the industry?
HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE. This is a survival of the fittest industry. You have to want it. Don’t have an ego and say yes to everything. Work hard, work long hours, and do so happily. Practice, practice, practice, and always continue to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Also, do some squats! A strong mind, back and booty goes a long way!
10. What is your favorite quote?
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr Seuss