As my last experience in NYC, I worked for one of the best hairstylists in the world at O'rlo Salon (Orlando Pita). Working at O'rlo salon along with George Casson and Joey Martino was a life changing adventure in many ways. Let me explain.
When I interviewed for the job at O'rlo, I was interviewed by Orlando himself, which is unheard of in my industry at that level. Orlando said "I've looked over your resume, and congrats on being featured in Allure magazine, but why make a change now?"
My answer was simple. I promptly replied by saying "There's so much more to hair that I have not experienced." Orlando smiled.
Little did I know I was in for a hair-raising experience, literally! Working at O'rlo was easily the most challenging endeavor of my career. I was shown a side of hair styling that left me humbled. The message was clear: being a good hairstylist consists of three major things.
One is your God-given skills (Orlando was self-taught).
Two is that quality comes first. I was encouraged to do half my usual amount of clients on a daily basis, but to do all the work myself (no assistant doing my color or blow-drys).
And three is that as a good hairstylist, it's all about producing the best quality work possible. Put skill and quality first, and then money after. In other words, a great haircut should be able to stand on its own, without the help of smoke and mirrors
(and chandeliers, marble bathrooms, and chinaware, for that matter). What can I say? There's only one Orlo.
Yes, I was blessed with clients who would sacrifice financially to afford my prices, in exchange for my creative view. And I also enjoyed my success outside of the salon (editorial, Fashion Week, etc.). However, I always felt like something was missing. My co-workers and friends knew it too, because I did not keep it a secret.
After moving to Miami and having some time off to reflect, what was missing came to me like a hurricane. As much as I enjoy working on women who can afford to have their hair done, what about the women (young and old) who can't afford everyday luxuries like clothes, food, and a place to live? Does this make them "less beautiful" than others?
As I came to the crossroad of my love-hate relationship with my purpose as a Hairstylist, I realized my biggest challenge would be to exist in an industry that sends this clear message: that to be beautiful, you must look a certain way.
I've decided to commit to finding a way to break away from this fallacy.
This quickly brought about my new mantra. I repeat it to women everyday: "A woman's strongest asset is her individuality."
For me, this mantra is meant to remove the myth for our young women that to be beautiful (and accepted), you must look like everyone else. Please know that you are beautiful as you are and you don't need me to make you feel beautiful. A blow-dry only lasts a day, but inner love for yourself lasts a lifetime.
Being blessed with creative abilities, I find it important to work through organizations to share my creative gift with women who cannot afford the pleasure of my professional experience. This means extending my hair care to women and girls in orphanages and hospices.
I invite anyone who knows of any group of women in South Miami that can use my services. It would be my pleasure to help.
I invite you to write me with any questions, and I urge other hairstylists to make a difference by sharing their skills with the less fortunate.