HOUSE OF DAME BLOG » Celebrity/ Fashion Hairstylist
I am obsessed with hair, Dames! Obviously you all know that. With hair obsessions comes obsessions with other’s work. When I’m in L.A., I work with some seriously talented artists. One of them is the secret behind many celebs’ wigs, and I don’t mean that jokingly, I mean that literally. So many stars rock wigs, you would have no idea! My girl Lilly is responsible for coloring a lot of them. So, I thought I would introduce her to this lovely audience and let you into the world of Lilly Olmedo.
THD: When did you know you wanted to be a hairstylist?
Lilly: I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser at a young age. At our family functions and parties I would walk around with a small suitcase full of hair combs, brushes, hairpins, rollers or any other item I could use in hairstyling. Then I would ask my parents’ guest if I could do their hair as they sipped on their cocktail and engaged in conversation. My mother tells the story of how they would all fall asleep as I played with their hair and would always wake up with some extravagant, wild hairdo.
THD: How long have you been doing hair?
Lilly: I’ve being doing hair professionally for almost 20 years
THD: Do you consider yourself to specialize in service?
Lilly: I don’t believe in specializing in one part of the industry. I personally enjoy doing it all, always putting the integrity of the hair first. I always make sure to engage and consult with the client before any service. I’ve always been a visual learner and see my job and hobby as an art form. I don’t like to proceed in coloring without knowing what the haircut would look like first. The haircut and styling is very important in color placement. I feel it’s important to know the way the hair lays, moves and is worn on a daily basis before applying your color. You need to make sure and also pay attention to the clients face, body, style, and lifestyle — how to bring out the person’s best features and how to help balance one’s beauty by placing either your layers, fringe, or highlights in the right position. This can only come from providing both services to your client.
THD: What is your approach to hair color?
Lilly: If I see someone walking in the streets, I find myself paying attention to the movement in body, hair, expressions and their surroundings. I instantly find a way that would make them shine even more by simply adding a new tone, color, treatment, cut or something as simply changing the part in their hair. I’m inspired by many things. I see color ideas in nature everyday. I often have dreams of coloring; I stay updated through fashion, art and music I try and always stay creative dabbling in many art forms. Inspiration comes from everywhere. I love to travel and always come home feeling even more inspired. With winters inspiring cool tones and the warm tints touching of a summers day or with a natures visit to the mountains its natural earth tones taking an active inspirations to my craft.
THD: Who has the been the biggest inspiration in your career?
Lilly: I’ve been very fortunate to work with many top hairstylist and have always been inspired by all of them. I now work at Goodform Salon with some of the most talented stylists, who, on a daily basis, inspire me. From stylists who have been doing hair for many, many years to up and new comers who are just getting started. It is important to always be open to learn new techniques from other stylists who are just as inspired and excited for our profession.
THD: Who was the first celebrity you worked for and what did that feel like?
Lilly: I was working with Robert Ramos over at Estilo Salon when I met and worked on my first celebrity, Bette Midler. It was such an ah-ha! moment for me for I have always been a huge fan of hers. She is an amazing woman in every way — I absolutely adore her! I’ve had the privilege of working for many celebrities since then like The Kardashians, J-Lo, Katy Perry and many more.
THD: How did you start coloring wigs? Is it a different process than a client in your chair?
Lilly: The wigs are something I do on the side. I am a full time hairdresser at Goodform Salon. The process to coloring wigs is very different than working on a client. The hair is much more delicate and very touchy when it comes to applying color on it. It can very easily turn on you if you’re not careful. What can be done with one color application on a client might take up to two or more on a wig. It’s definitely more time consuming and a delicate process. I am a perfectionist and won’t send it off unless it’s perfect.
THD: Can you let any secrets slip and let our audience know some of the clients you have colored wigs for?
Lilly: I’ve colored wigs and extensions for many celebrities. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to say for whom.
THD: Can you share the craziest story of something that happened that could have been awful but ended amazing?
Lilly: I had to color a couple of wigs one late night for a celebrity, which we won’t mention today, when one of them completely turned on me, leaving me with peachy orangey highlights. Needless to say I totally panicked I felt defeated and scared for I had already been working on it for hours and was in its final steps. Not wanting to mess with it anymore until I was sure of what my next step would be, I went home and that night I fell into a deep sleep from exhaustion. I dreamt of myself trying different techniques and solutions to help solve my problem. It was definitely a nightmare at first but, eventually, I found myself formulating the perfect color solutions for the wig catastrophe. I guess that’s were the saying comes from “Follow your dreams, they know the way”. The wig turned out beautiful and everyone was completely happy with the outcome.
THD: Any advice you can share to an up-and-comer that is inspired by your story?
Lilly: My advice to any up-and-comer in this industry would be: work hard and make sure you have the passion for the art of hairdressing. If you don’t, then you’re simply just cutting hair. After all hairdressing is not a job, it’s a craft!
Thank you so much, Lilly, for this inspiring interview. I love hearing the inside of another hairdresser’s mind. For all of you interested in following, sharing, visiting, or making an appointment with Lilly, you can find her at Goodform Salon, Los Angeles. 323-658-8585. IG: @lillys_cut, @goodformsalon
The Hair Dame
It’s Feature Friday, Dames! We really dived in this week. We picked out a hairstylist from Wisconsin doing some cool things and we wanted to share him with you! Check out our interview below.
THD: When was that first moment you decided you wanted to do hair?
Josif: I never really wanted to do hair at all really, it was my sister that did hair and coached me to believe I had it in me! The artist side of me was very involved in drawing and painting and I had won several contest with my art so she said to me: “You should really try hair as your canvas.” I did. First three years were interesting but then I was recognized by a local salon owner that saw my talent and off to the next level I went [artistic director for salon team].
THD: Who were your first mentors and who did you aspire to be like in your career?
Josif: Xennon of London, I wanted to be him really bad, he was so gifted and so funny and his talent was always in the lead. He was a leader, creator, stylist, long hair genius. I followed him to shows and read everything about him I could. Dream came true when I was sent off to Chicago where he worked and taught for a one week to work and learned under him. It truly was surreal and a dream come true, that week changed me! From that point on I viewed my career way more exciting and had direction on where I was going to take it.
THD: How long have you been doing hair now?
Josef: Thirty-two years.
THD: What is your philosophy or your approach to hair?
Josif: It’s very import that you learn the building blocks to create a look, very similar to an architect. You really have to know how to design a shape on paper so you can see the finished result. Nowadays it’s very organic and unforced as opposed to the 80’s when styles were forced — by that I mean heavy bleaching, perming and curling.
THD: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Josif: I was one of thirty that were chosen through a series of auditions that traveled around the USA back in the 90’s. Similar to American Idol; I would call it Hairmerican Idol. After many auditions, only thirty stylists were picked to be the first design team of its kind in the country for REDKEN. It was two weeks of intense training to go out and show the country a whole new approach on how they could up their game and become true designers of haircutting.
THD: When did you start working with Redken?
Josif: Right from the start of my career I became a expert at their product knowledge. Three years later I became a Redken national platform artist.
THD: Is there an element of beauty that you are very passionate about? How does it relate to your personal approach in your career?
Josif: I’m very passionate about changing peoples lives: seeing someone sick or depressed and knowing that putting your hands on their shoulders, giving them an amazingly honest consultation, reassuring them through it all that they’re really going to love it and feel better, and seeing their face and hearing their words when they see themselves for the first time is kick-ass cool. All done by the gift of having been given hands. We are the one of the last professions in the world that touches without gloves.
THD: What are your future goals?
Josif: Well, so far I founded and have run Salon CTI and Day Spa for the last 17 years, The Salon Professional Academy for 11 years, the Joyriding Project nonprofit for 10 years, and Trimhunger nonprofit for 3 years.
THD: Future goals?
Josif: … To keep on giving.
THD: What is your advice to an up-and-comer?
Josif: Be honest to your guest, treat them as if you were a doctor and they were coming to you in need, and always remember their hair is your patient and, if it’s sick, prescribe antibiotics. They come to you for that. And no chewing gum, never discuss politics, religion, or relationships, keep it real.
THD: What about yourself would you like our readers to know about you?
I have been married 34 years, and would not be here if it wasn’t for her [Josif’s wife]. She shares the industry with me and is a philanthropist as well. Two beautiful daughters who are so talented, and love everyone in my life, they’re all there for a reason.
THD: What is the one piece of hair advice you universally give to every client?
Josif: Don’t use age as an excuse, you can wear whatever flatters you facial features and body shape and lifestyle! Go by that. Best advice? The phrase “Am I too old to wear that?” should not exist in your vocabulary.
THD: Thank you so much, Josif! This was an insightful, awesome interview!
Dames, check out Josif’s salon and non-profits:
Follow his socials:
IG: @hairmister facebook @josifwittnik @trimhunger @joyrising
The Hair Dame
THD: Hi, Nikki! I know your on set right now in Puerto Rico. Is there anything you can tell us about this upcoming movie?
Nikki: It was a lot of fun to make and hopefully that will translate!
THD: How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a model/actress?
Nikki:I knew I wanted to be an actress in the 5th grade. I had an emotionally rough childhood and acting gave and still gives me an outlet that allowed me to escape my reality to one where I knew the outcome and could freely feel. As for modeling, I used to look at my moms old portfolio and started modeling at 16 in Miami when I was old enough to drive myself to castings. Haven’t stopped since.
THD: When did you decide to take it seriously, and what changes in your life did you have to make to do so?
Nikki: I auditioned for my first school play in the 5th grade. I then auditioned for a performing arts middle school about an hour from my house for the theater program. I was accepted and attended there for 3 years but because I had to take a car, 2 busses and a train to get there (one way), I wanted to go to a high school close to my house. I did theater there as well as community theater. When I was 16 I got my license and as soon as I could work, got a job to put money in my gas tank. I worked at Starbucks on the weekends at 5am and enrolled in the OJT (on job training) program at my school during my senior year so I could leave early to either work or go to castings. Then at 18 I auditioned for a performing arts acting conservatory in NYC and received a scholarship there and moved shortly after graduation. I modeled while in school and after 3 years in manhattan I moved to LA!
THD: What is your daily routine like?
Nikki: 5:15 am – wake up, eat breakfast, feed the dogs
6:00 am – head to the gym and train either with my trainer @mrmvtfit or on my own
7:15 am – walk the dogs and get ready for the day
If I’m not working on set, I’m at castings or auditions. But generally I’m in bed before 10.
THD: What has been your most exciting job so far in your career?
Nikki: I got to work on The People vs OJ. Probably the most surreal moment was sitting in a trailer in the middle of Cuba (Cuba Gooding JR.) and David (David Schwimmer) . I remember thinking: “Never forget this moment. This is insane”.
THD: What has been the most disappointing moment?
Nikki: To be successful in this industry you must always forget your disappointments!
THD: What is your philosophy on taking jobs? Is it about money? Advancement? Will you do anything? Do you have limits or restrictions?
Nikki: I made a career plan for myself at 15. It was extremely strategic. Pay your dues. It was like a ladder. I worked for free when I was young to get a book and a reel started. As far as restrictions and money, let’s just say I’ve got a great team who handles my stuff!
THD: What is your dream job?
Nikki: I’m living it!
THD: Who is a role model to you? Whose career would you like to emulate?
Nikki: My mom. Hands down!
THD: What is your favorite hair product?
Nikki: Right now, Morrocan oil. The salt water is drying my hair out and it’s been helping!
THD: What do you think about hair extensions and how does it affect your self-esteem or how do they make you feel?
Nikki: Love them! Definitely a fan of the temporary ones. Who doesn’t wanna feel like a damn Kardashian?!
THD: What is any advice you have to young girls that want hundreds or thousands of followers on IG and want a successful career in modeling and acting?
Nikki: I started at 16. There was no Instagram or social media or anything. I walked into agencies (30 lbs heavier) and was told by 30 and 40 year old people that I was too fat. I’d walk into casting offices and get rejected daily (still do!). I lost weight after working out and eating right and I’m so happy with my body now. And I still get told no. Now I get told I’m too skinny, but by people on Instagram. The moral of the story is: be happy with YOU! when you are, no one can hurt you!
A big Thank you to Nikki Howard for collaborating with us this month. Stay tuned as she will show all the Dames out there how to use your Secret Extensions by The Hair Dame and all her little tips and tricks with them. She is such a DAME!!
Amalia Moscoso, The Hair Dame
Newheart Ohanian is a fashionista to the core of her being. She’s a wardrobe and fashion stylist to the stars, the trades, and magazines. Her work is found in Cosmo, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and many more. Her aesthetic is unparalleled and her energy is consistent. This Dame treks all over New York City on a daily basis meeting with publicists, showrooms, and clients alike. Somehow, she always looks the part – chic from head to toe. We introduced her to Secret Extensions by The Hair Dame and this is what she had to say.
You can follow Newheart’s work on IG @NewheartNYC
To purchase your Secret Extensions By The Hair Dame, click the SHOP button above and do yourself a favor and get a HairClutch as well. HairClutch is a 3-in-1 storage and travel solution for hair extensions as well as a styling assistant.
Let us know any questions you have in the comment section.
Hey, Dames! Guess what? We have some exciting new vibes coming your way… we’ve got a new exciting collaboration coming up with none other Blondes Who Eat: Kristi, Erika, and Morgan! They are some fab dames that love to eat, but, most of all, to look hot while they are doing it. Here are some behind the scenes shots of our fun shoot this week. Stay tuned for our tutorials for their hot hairstyles next month. You won’t want to miss their impressively easy ways to create multiple looks!
- How long have you been in the hair business? I have been in the hair industry for over 15 years! I started shampooing at a small salon in my hometown in high school and was obsessed with braiding and creating photo shoots with my little sister as my model!
- What made you come up with the idea for the beach waver? As a celebrity hairstylist I was continually asked by clients, friends, and beauty editors how to get the “beachy” wave. I tried to teach them how to use a curling iron by holding it backwards and upside down, but it was always really difficult to get the look yourself. I thought, there must be a better way! I sketched out the idea for a curling iron that you could hold upright and it would create the same pattern as wrapping. My sister and I then began a three year research and development process to create the Beachwaver Pro, the rotating curling iron!
- What was your first step in getting it started? Research! We worked with a whole team of designers, engineers and 3D printing companies to create a prototype based on my original sketch.
- What was a crucial decision you had to make in the beginning and how did you not let it define your business? We had to make the decision to outsource to a design firm or research and create everything ourselves. My sister and I are adventurous, curious, and hard-working and opted to learn as much as we could to complete the process ourselves. This was an incredible challenge that created a strong foundation to grow into a successful business.
- How did you attain your first big retail account? I was working with clothing designer Rachel Zoe when she was launching her collection on QVC. At the time, I had the idea for an easier curling iron. During one of her promotional TV segments, Rachel urgently needed two models to wear her clothes and show off her jewelry in New York City. Since I was there with her already, she asked me to go on camera! I had never modeled before and rarely wore 5 inch heels. Needless to say, this was an interesting day. I got to know the marketing director from QVC that day and started talking to him about my idea for a curling iron that rotated to make it easy for you to get celebrity looking waves. He loved the idea and the next time I saw him with Rachel he introduced me to an event planner that was bringing talent in to QVC. Once we had our prototype ready, we met with the beauty buyers and they loved it!
- Were you nervous the first time going on QVC? I was really excited and at the time didn’t know much about the process. We had booked three models to demo the Beachwaver on camera and one of these models was one of my best friends that I had studied abroad with, Jamin! She kept me calm and was practicing with me backstage before the show! Luckily, I had two beauty shows that day so we got to go on air 2 times the first day! They estimated a new company gets 5-6 airings in the first year and we ended up with close to 50! Now I love going live!
- What would be the top 3 most important things when launching your business? Research, patience, and dedication.
- How much time do you devote to styling hair as your business grows? I style hair everyday, whether it’s a celebrity, my sister or myself. I honestly love it and feel so lucky that I have a career that is so creative and such a unique form of art. On Instagram, I started my New Year’s resolution on January 1 to create 365 days of braids for no reason other than I love styling hair!
- Have you had an “epic fail” yet and how would you say it has made you and your team stronger? Selling out too fast! Understanding logistics and shipping has been a huge learning curve for us and has taught us so much about the world! We now appreciate getting our mail quickly, the intricacies of groceries being available, and all of the hard-working people that help our society function.
- As a stylist, who has been your favorite celebrity client to work with? I love clients that are open to creative and new hairstyles. Lea Michele loves when I do braids and intricate updos and Jaime King is always up for a strong “look,” inspired by her years in fashion! Honestly, each job and every celebrity is unique and it always ends up being a fun, collaborative effort with the makeup artist and the clothing stylist!
- What client or job was your “ I made it” moment? The time I flew to Alaska to do a photo shoot in the glaciers and on top of the mountains was an incredible experience that fulfilled my dream of traveling and styling hair! The best part was after I returned from the trip they decided they wanted to shoot more photos at the beach in Costa Rica! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was and truly felt in that moment that I had a dream job.
- What are your favorite styling products? I love Aussie! I’ve worked with them for over 9 years and love how versatile and lightweight the products are. There are multiple benefits in a lot of the products, like a mouse that has a built in conditioner and a dry shampoo that has built in volumizer.
- What are your favorite brushes? My favorite brush is the On Set Styling Brush. It is a nylon boar bristle blend that smoothes and polishes every style.
- What are your favorite styling tools? My favorite styling tools are my Beachwavers and Ceramic Iron. I developed these to be the exact specs that I love to use. The Beachwaver is a rotating curling iron with a ceramic rod, digital temperature clock and an extra long barrel. It is completely different from other curling irons. It has a motor and three computer boards with customized full length internal heaters and a fast recovery time. With it’s innovative technology comes simplicity, so not only does it drastically reduce your styling time, but it it does all the work for you. There is no straining on your wrist, and you always get a beautiful, red carpet look in minutes. I can style hair and loose, beachy waves or glamorous old Hollywood waves with one tool. For updos, my clients are obsessed with the Wrap Up because I rarely need to use bobby pins! When they take the tool out it’s easy and gives you relaxed waves overnight!
To learn more about Sara Potempa’s product line visit: Sara Potempa’s website