Posted on March 3, 2014
Hair colorist Rhett O’Donnell has tended to the needs of glitterati at his West Hollywood salon making him the go-to guy for a long list of celebrity clients. From humble beginnings, Rhett rose through the ranks to become one of the most respected colorists in the business.
Tell us about what interested you in hairdressing?
I went to the salon a lot with my mom. I loved the smell of hairspray and perm solution. I’m sure it was toxic but I always loved it. By the time I finished high school I wanted to train at Vidal Sassoon. My mom wanted me to attend university so we came to an arrangement. If I finished four years at university and still wanted to do hair she would foot the bill. Four years later I got in my car and drove to Los Angeles to begin training at Vidal Sassoon.
Why did you choose Vidal Sasson?
My mom who said if I was going to do it I had to go to the best.
When did you decide to become a colorist?
One of my teachers, Patty Song, was not only incredible at what she did, but she was a perfectionist. I realized that being a colorist was a respectable choice. We weren’t gum-chewing high school dropouts; there was serious money to be made.
When did you open your salon, Helmet?
I opened the salon a little over eight years ago. I typically travel to my client’s homes. The salon is a base to work out of for clients that prefer the salon setting.
You are discreet about your celebrity clientele. Was this a personal choice?
Unless that celebrity chooses disclosure, it’s not my job to do it for them. I prefer to keep their information confidential. I believe a satisfied client with gorgeous hair is the best promotion.
When clients say they want their hair to look like a certain celebrity or model how do you navigate that conversation when it’s a drastic change?
I listen to what they want. I like to educate clients on their hair potential. I don’t want to see my clients walking out with weakened hair. You can appreciate anybody’s hair but you also have to be realistic with your choices.
What about when you’re working with brands and have to make drastic color changes to a model’s hair?
I know the model has to work after today. I feel terrible but you know they made the decision to be on set that day so it must be worth it to them. I don’t negotiate with the brands that hire me for that type of work, I follow their direction.
When doing color for film, who is involved in the decision process?
The client, studio, director and the producer are all involved. It places me in a delicate negotiating situation because they all have creative input but the decision lies outside of the actor most of the time.
How does that usually end?
The client will always get the color they want. Only one of three things will happen. They either use the actor’s real hair or they are persuaded to change what they want or they use a wig.
You work a lot with wigs for celebrities and musicians including Tina Turner and Cher. Can you talk about that process?
That’s a relatively new thing. It began within the last eight years. I honestly can’t pinpoint when it started occurring.
There are a few reasons wigs are brought to me. The first is color correction. The art of color and the art of wig making are two different practices. The wig will usually match the color requested but is not exactly what the client needs. So, I do a lot of color correction. The other reason is color changing. A performer has a wig and they’ve changed their natural color so they need the wig to reflect that.
What are the challenges of working with wigs versus natural hair?
I work with wigs that are handmade and measured to fit the performer’s head. They cost thousands of dollars, but sometimes the wigs are tinted with an upholstery color or who knows really. It’s not a legit color. You never know how a wig will react to certain color treatments.
What advice would you offer to a woman?
If you are not satisfied with your colorist it’s best to go elsewhere. A lot of people feel bad as if they’ve betrayed their colorist. It they’re screwing your hair up you can go somewhere else.
I would also say research the person who’s doing your hair like you would a doctor. If the first pitch they offer when doing your research is a list of celebrity clients, it may be wise to consider alternatives.
What do you want women to know about you?
I want my clients to have the best hair they can.
What are you doing now?
I’m building a commercial division to place colorists and stylists with the clientele they’ll perform best for.
For more information check out Helmet
Posted on February 20, 2014
Morris Pendlebury was scouted during a shopping excursion in Leeds and signed with Premier Model Management. The Yorkshire-born model is racking up a slew of edgy editorials in magazines such as L’Officiel Singapore and Bon in addition to advertising campaigns for Barneys New York. I caught up with Morris to find out about what he hopes to get out of his career and the highlights so far.
You were discovered in Primark in Leeds. What went through your mind when you were approached by the scout from Premier?
I wasn’t really sure what to make of it at first. It’s not really an industry I thought I would be going into. I honestly thought it might be a joke.
Coming from a small town in North Yorkshire what were your initial impressions when you began modeling?
I thought the whole thing was kinda strange at first. But really, who else at 17 has such great opportunities for work and travel?
What are your aspirations and goals for the future?
To have a successful life.
What do you hope to get out of your modeling career?
To work with some of the industries best. It’s amazing to see the way that people work and just to be involved in the creative process. I would like to travel more and live in New York for a while.
How do you handle the pressure and rejection that comes with modeling?
Every job comes with a certain degree of pressure and rejection so modeling is not actually so different in that respect. You might not always be the look that a client wants. You can’t get every casting you go to and after time you just learn to thrive under pressure.
If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing?
I would probably be at university racking up student debt and spending money that I don’t have.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Working with some amazing photographers like Paolo Roversi and Tim Walker and designers like Hedi Slimane. Having the opportunity to travel the world is something I wanted to do since I was young too.
What have you discovered about yourself through modeling?
I have gained a greater sense of appreciation for where I’m from. I didn’t really see the positives until I left and came back. I’ve also learned I can cook but I’m still learning to clean up.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I have A-Levels in math and science and I would love to study chemical engineering at university.
Morris is represented by Fusion Models
Posted on February 13, 2014
Justin Gelband, dubbed the model whisperer, is responsible for the covetable bodies of top models Miranda Kerr, Candice Swanpoel, Erin Heatherton, Behati Prinsloo, Anne Vyalitsyna and Maryna Linchuk, to name only a few. I caught up with Justin to talk about fitness and his new project Model-Fit.
What motivated you to get into personal training?
I was an athletic kid. I played tennis, soccer, swam and ran cross-country. I went to Rutgers university and studied Exercise Science and Sport Management then I worked for the Metro Stars and interned for the Director of Marketing and Sales.
I moved to Los Angeles and worked at a 24 Hour Fitness. An advisor asked me if I wanted to start personal training. It wasn’t what I wanted to do in the beginning but after watching other trainers I was inspired to help women use their bodies properly and get in shape. That was around 1999 and I grew from there.
What is your philosophy on fitness and wellness?
They are the same for me. It is about the individual. Everybody is different. I look at their life-style, health conditions, injuries, genetics and goals. From that I create a workout based on that individual. Model-Fit is about being the best you can be with the body you’ve been given. I created a class where I would be able to see how people move and create a system out of it.
Typically, when people attend classes they’re all doing the same exercises. How many people do you know that can do all the same stuff? You can’t really. If you break it into a more functional workout with specific exercises for their body it makes it more individualized even though it’s in the class atmosphere.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions you come up against when you start to train people?
Mainly that everybody is trained the same way and there’s no difference between people. Women and men are different and women cannot do the same exercises as men. Not because they’re not strong enough, but because they’re not meant to. Women are not meant to do pull ups and push ups. They’re not built for squats and running mans and leaps. You train them based on the individual. They’re trying to look their best and they’re doing all these lunges and squats and kettle bells. It is just bulking them up and then they wonder why they’re not losing any weight. That’s number one.
Number two is nutrition. Nutrition is everything. Ninety percent of what you do is what you eat. Every day we look at our obesity rate in America and it’s growing. Last year the obesity rate was 38 percent and this year it’s at 41 percent; that’s crazy. Almost 50 percent of our population is obese and it’s because of our diet. I started working with Dr. D’Adamo about seven years ago. He’s the guy who created Eat Right For Your Type. I found that if you give yourself a chance to eat things once or twice a week that you enjoy, your body will stay lean and in the best shape it can.
Why the blood type diet? There are four different blood types. What other nutritional plan can you give somebody that breaks it down to four types of people? When I started researching the blood type diet and trying it on clients it worked most efficiently.
Most people suffer from pain, guilt and fear. They live in pain so they feel they shouldn’t exercise. They live with guilt because they eat something or they’re not feeling the way they think they should. Then there is fear. Everyone is fearful that if they don’t do something they won’t get to the next level. That’s not the right way to think. You have to think positive thoughts.
When you encounter someone who is struggling with these issues, how do you motivate them?
It’s all in the head. I mean, you can do it through exercise but you have to teach them to believe in themselves and give them motivation and discipline. They must feel that no matter where they’re in their life they can gain results out of what they’re doing.
A lot of people take time off and then they won’t go back to exercise. Once you try exercising for two weeks, most of the time you’re hooked. It’s about getting the person to move whether it’s walking, swimming, riding or hiking. For me, I would just start with food and cardio. Cardio is movement and the motion of the body. If you get someone to do cardio and you get them moving it doesn’t matter if it’s only 15 minutes per day. At least you’re getting them to do something. I created Model-Fit to show you don’t have to have a gym. You can do it in your living room.
What would you recommend for a woman who is afraid of the gym but doesn’t have the means to have someone like you come to her home?
You can grab tennis balls. You can get bands for five or 10 bucks at the store. Do you all hear what I’m saying? You can just use your own body weight. It’s about changing the movements and modes of exercise. Not only am I creating this gym, I’m creating an interactive site so I will be able to help women and people at home gain that trust, not only in me, but in themselves. Like you said, it’s really hard for people who don’t have the money and don’t have the experience of being able to go and get a trainer and do that. I always I recommend getting out and doing cardio.
I’m creating short videos for people to do at home so they don’t feel alienated thinking that I only work with supermodels and famous people. I work with a lot of different people and that’s why Model-Fit opens March 1. I want to give back to the people. I do have an incredible job and I have been able to train the biggest models and celebrities in the world but it was something that I fell into. I got into training models and celebrities because of the health issues. I wanted to teach the girls how to eat right and how to exercise.
Learn more here
Posted on February 6, 2014
Widely considered one of beauty’s leading colorists, Christopher-John has created memorable hair color for some of the world’s most celebrated models, celebrities, advertising campaigns and leading designers. Christopher-John has attracted a loyal client following such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Amber Valetta, Donatella Versace, Madonna, Elizabeth Hurley and Queen Noor. His work has featured in editorials and campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Dior, Gucci and the covers of fashion bibles Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
Let’s start at the beginning when you knew you wanted to go into hair.
When I was in sixth grade I cleaned two barber’s houses after school. I started coloring my own hair probably in the eighth grade, bleaching it and playing with henna and mixing in spices like paprika and nutmeg to get different colors. In high school I started doing hair for extra money and then I supplemented and paid for college doing hair. I feel like I’ve always been in hair in some respect.
You moved to New York in 1987 and by 1993 you were working for the most influential hairdresser in the industry. How did your relationship with Garren start?
My first client had a friend who was opening a salon but she couldn’t tell me who it was but she wanted to introduce me. I met him and after several interviews Garren hired me as his sole colorist. His biggest concern was whether I could take direction and I said I could.
What was your initial impression of him?
I was very impressed. I’d never met a hairdresser who was so serious about what he was doing.
Did you have any idea at the time what this relationship meant and what it could mean working with him?
I knew it was going to take me to a whole other level and that I would be working in the fashion industry and that was very exciting to me.
Color is specific for each personality, desire and reality. How do you impute the vision?
With Garren, his project and clients, it’s very directional. He is the Creative Director.
Is the relationship more collaborative with your clients?
I take into consideration their career, their lifestyle, what kind of money they’re looking to spend, their personal style and the level of maintenance they want. I won’t do anything that isn’t going to make you look prettier.
What are your thoughts on women embracing their grey hair, like Kristen McMenamy did, versus coloring it?
Someone like Kristen McMenamy is such an exception to the rule. Her grey hair just sets her apart from other models. She happens to have really pretty grey hair and it has a good texture; a lot of people don’t get that. Grey hair almost has a life of its own. Ninety nine percent of the time I would advise color.
It’s more youthful. When keeping grey hair I would put low lights in which can really improve the texture.
You were responsible for the color changes that transformed some models careers. Which in particular stand out?
The biggest change I did with any model was giving Karen Elson her signature red.
You were working with Steven Meisel and Garren on that change. What was that discussion like?
There was no discussion. They knew exactly what they wanted.
Are there any women in particular you wish you had a hand in creating their look?
Definitely Marilyn Monroe. I got to work with Madonna for many years starting with her as a platinum blonde then to red, then black, then strawberry blonde and then we went back to blonde again. You can’t ask for much more than that. I would love to have worked with Jackie O too.
What would you have done with her given the opportunity?
Oh, she’s so classic it would have been hard to improve upon. I just would love to have been a part of it.
Do you subscribe to the idea that a color can make or break a career?
Oh yes. One example of damaging a career is a supermodel I worked with. I took her blonde then she dyed her hair black for a job. She looked beautiful but she wasn’t getting as much work. A year ago she asked me to make her blonde again. She said that clients were giving her feedback that the dark hair wasn’t working. Throughout her career the busiest periods were when she was blonde.
How do you take a model from black to blonde without damaging the hair?
Very carefully. It’s like three days of work providing you want to leave hair on their head.
Do you ever advise an alternative like wigs?
Oh yeah and there’s Photoshop, but for some reason that is never a part of the equation. People don’t want to hear that. There are girls who will refuse to color their hair like Kristin McMenamy. She will not color her hair; it just is what it is.
What advice would you give to a woman who doesn’t have access to your services?
A lot of high-end salons have classmates supervised by senior colorists; that’s an option. There are also a lot of great products in the drugstores that are very user friendly. The rule of thumb with those products is to not go two shades lighter or darker than your natural color.
What message do you want a new client to take home?
I’m very patient and I’m a very good communicator. I don’t put my desires above my clients.
Follow Christopher John on Facebook
Posted on January 27, 2014
Leebo Freeman launched onto the modeling scene by opening Mugler’s AW11 menswear show. He has since walked for Vivienne Westwood, Jeremy Scott, Dsquared2 and Frankie Morello and shot editorials including Vogue Homme Japan, W Korea, L’Officiel Hommes Germany, Wonderland and Hercules. When he’s not treading the runways, Leebo enjoys working on his music and building his acting career. I caught up with Leebo to find out what he’s doing these days.
How were you discovered?
A mutual friend on Facebook introduced me to my lovely mother agent Kevin Holloman.
If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing?
I’d be pushing my music as much as I could and I’d probably still be in a band getting the most out of life.
How do you handle the isolation that comes with modeling?
It’s tough at times. I love people and having close contact with friends and family. Other than that, I have a good system and I don’t mind being one my own, sitting back and watching the world buzz.
How do you define success?
Happiness for a start. If you are happy then that’s all that matters in your career. As long as you are pausing yourself and not letting your time pass by without taking advantage of opportunities and taking steps forward then you’re always a success.
How do you handle the scrutiny and rejection that comes with modeling?
Well to be fair, I don’t really care what people think about me or what I’m doing. I’m going to do everything to the fullest and if that doesn’t fit what someone wants then on to the next and keep pushing forward. I think people get caught up trying to please everyone and by’eck that’s impossible!
What do you do to decompress from the pace of modeling and refocus?
Well, I recently got a wee dog, Vash, and love muckin’ about with him; animals are such a great energy. Of course working on my music always takes me away no matter where I am.
What have you discovered about yourself through modeling?
That if I truly want something I will have it. As well, I’m getting good at being alone.
What are your goals and aspirations for the future?
As much as I can do with music. Acting is another true passion so I’m sorting stuff out with that this year. I want to make a comfy home as well, a nice base to come back to.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Despite my general positive outlook on things, I have had very dark moments where I thought I’d give up on everything. It is always my intention to redirect my thoughts into positive ones, but sometimes I can feel quite trapped and haunted by dark thoughts. I’m all about real experiences and true feelings in life. I want to know at the end of my days that I have lived life to the fullest. I’m okay with these moments though they are not the easiest.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about modeling?
Definitely that it’s easy and that models live some glamorous life where everything is done for them. It’s a lot harder than the TV makes it out to be in more ways than just the work aspect.
On another note, I don’t feel bigger than anyone or on some untouchable level or any of that wank stuff. So anyone should feel free to reach out. Ask me something, tell me something, or if you see me boppin’ about don’t be afraid to say hello or have a hug. Let’s be happy and make this life count. Much love and positive vibes!
Leebo is represented by Adam Models