1. How old were you when you became obsessed with hair?
It started as a young child. My mom would lay on the sofa and I would brush her hair for hours as she napped.
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?
When I was 10 years old I got my first big boy professional haircut. I have naturally curly hair and the hair stylist blew my hair straight and I loved it. When I washed my hair the next day it returned to its curly state and I hated it. My mother took me back to the salon so the stylist could show me how to blow dry my hair to recreate the look he gave me. I mastered styling and when my sister had a similar experience with her newly feathered cut my mothers figured I could handle her blow dry. So every morning I would have to do my sisters hair until she learned to do it herself. So it was that point I knew hair would be my life. In CT you have to have your 9th grade education in order to start accumulating hour to get licensed, so in 9th grade I started hairdressing.
One of my first mentors was my aunt Marilyn Willis she would often do the family’s hair in her kitchen and I always loved watching her. She would explain what she was doing and I would soak it up. The ironic thing was although she was super talented at that time she never got her license and I actually inspired her to go back to school and get it. We actually ended up working together in the same salon.
3. What were the early days of your career like? Did you have to test a lot in the beginning to build your book?
I started my career in the 80s, donut was a fun time for hair. New wave was the rage and creativity was free flowing. Right after graduation school I started working for a product company doing platform work and traveling the country.
Early on I became friends with a model at the time. His name is Ray Lata. Ray started to do photography and asked me if I would test with him. As he grew as a photographer and booked jobs, he would book me and we worked as a team. I really do owe my career to him. He also played a huge part in me getting my first agents in Boston, NYC and Miami.
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 you would not make today, knowing what you have learned so far?
I would have to say that other then having a few agents that where not the best fit for me I have no regrets. I believe that making mistakes help you become a better person because your learn from them.
5. How do you communicate with the photographer you’re working with on a shoot to achieve his or her goals?
Communication is key for a successful shoot. It’s not only important to have a conversation with the photographer but the stylist and makeup artist are also important to creating a story. Once everyone is on the same page and shared the vision magic can me made.
6. What skills did you learn early on that you still use today?
A great blow out and fingers waves.
7. Tell us what a dream job is for you?
My dream job is a great location with a great team creating beautiful images. Another thing I enjoy is education. For 4 years I served and Loreal Paris hair expert. I loved being able to educate consumers on how to feel beautiful. L’Oréal was one of the best experiences of my career. Currently I’m the spokesperson for a company called Pro Beauty Tools. They make professional quality styling tools at a very affordable price. I love being able to make every woman feel beautiful.
8. What are the three tools in your hair styling kit that you can never, ever be without?
I think a blowdryer, flat iron, and round brush are a must .
9. What advice for young hairstylists who are just starting out and want to be where you are, at the top of the industry?
What I would advise anyone going into this industry is to really figure out what you want to do and follow the path that works for your vision. Take advise with an open mind. Realize that only hard work will get you rewarded. And never stop learning.
10. What is your favorite quote?
“Define your own success”