The Approachable Expert
After starting my career at the age of fourteen, I worked my way up from little wash and set salons in rural Pennsylvania and Connecticut. My journey took me to Beverly Hills and the Giuseppe Franco Salon.
I thought, “Wow, after all the hardships I had to go through to get here, I’ve made it to the top.” The daily bullying I endured for 3 years at school almost made me throw in the towel a few times. I am lucky enough to have a mother who gave me an inner strength and determination not to let the opinions of others dictate what I could and could not do with my life. I also have a father whose reaction upon hearing for the first time, “…your son wants to be hairdresser …” was “so”?
Little did I know at the time, that within just 2 years lightning would strike. In the course of just a few short days life took me from sunny Canon Drive, Beverly Hills to Munich, Germany and the beginning of what was to become a seven & a half year adventure as the personal hairstylist to Sir Elton John.
That job took me around the world, several times over. I met and got to work with some of the top names in the fashion, music and film industries… Gianni Versace, Valentino, Lagerfeld, Gaultier, Crawford, Auermann, Minnelli, Taylor, Stallone, Michael,Stewart,Springfield(Dusty), Rupaul, Minogue, Avedon, Gormann, Dougdale and Weber just to name a few.
The first time we checked into the Ritz Hotel in Paris, I thought, “Not too shabby for a small town boy.”
My job was to keep Elton looking great for all his concerts, interviews, photo shoots and public appearances. It was an experience that not only showed me the world, but changed the ways in which I saw it and my place in it.
I had the pleasure of meeting so many fantastic & creative people on my journeys, all of them left some mark on me. My mind and esthetic views were expanded exponentially. I became influenced by the fashion and hair I saw on the streets of 90’s London – the subtle refinement and mastery of the sublime of the French. The immense beauty and care with which even the most mundane of objects are presented in Japan. From Istanbul and Buenos Aires, Moscow and most everywhere in-between, I discovered new cultures. I met so many new people and found new ways of seeing the world, including a new understanding of how very similar we all are, no matter where you go.
In 1997 I moved to Paris, France where I received my Master Colorist degree from L’Oreal Professional – Paris as well as my diplomas from Makeup Forever and in Image consulting. I had the luck to work with one of the top French hair designers, Mr. John Nollet. The training and insights I received from him were extraordinary. I became proficient in hair color, hair extensions and styling. I had the amazing opportunity to work with some of the top actresses and directors in the French film industry, including Monica Bellucci, Claude Lelouch, Fanny Ardent, Chantal Louby, Alessandra Martines, Rosy de Palma, Ludivine Sagnier and Chantal Thomass, of the famous lingerie line.
I was also hired as a freelance stylist with “La Tribu Des Creatures”, “The Tribe of Creators” a special events planning company. I designed hair events for Dannon, Vichy, Luis Vuitton, Orange and Canel +. I also did makeup and designed hair for runway fashion shows. Some of the designers I worked with included Olivier Lapidus, Wolford, Yahya Al Bashri, as well as the 2008 UEFA European Cup finals Opening ceremony Bal, Switzerland.
In 2005 life once again threw an unexpected challenge my way. I was invited to volunteer to do makeup for residents at a medical facility specializing in the care and treatment of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. What started out as a once a week/3 hour assignment turned into me taking over the in-house hair studio and and being responsible for the grooming and haircare needs of 85 residents.
I was given carte -blanche and was able to run the salon in a way that I felt not only kept my clientele looking good but also brought them a different kind of human contact. Unrestrained by the social protocols one would have learned being a native of France I was able to connect to these special people on a very personal and profound level. I played music on my portable record player, alternating between French/English. Singers and music from the 30’s/ 40’s that they remembered mixed up with some good old disco that got every ones toe’s tapping and heads bobbing to the beat!
Image consulting, which for me is a natural progression from hair and makeup, is a tool helping my clients to develop their personal image through teaching self knowledge and the skills needed to present themselves to the world in the best possible light. I love pulling together all that I’ve learned and use it to put smiles on faces and help people in so many different ways.
My goal is to show them how to best maximize their assets, gain confidence when making decisions regarding the choosing of which colors will best impart a healthy, dynamic complexion. It Includes hairstyling, makeup and finally how to have a wardrobe that fits impeccably as well.
I now have the opportunity to bring all of this to my clients. Nothing in this world brings me a greater sense of joy and accomplishment than when I see one of my clients look in the mirror and light up, the inner light comes shinning through and I see eyes that are sparkling. I watch that person walk away with head held a little higher , the walk a bit more confident and a final turn of the head and smile that says ” I am ready to take on the world”!