The Best Laid Plans - Celebrity Hairnisa and Editorial Stylist Dana Gibbs
I came across Dana Gibbs and dana’s loft HAIR a couple of years ago while doing some research, I was looking for African American stylists, possible mentors who’ve broken the mold and transcended race and stereo-types to become top stylists in the industry. Dana’s name was one of those names that kept popping up so I was absolutely delighted to find her on Twitter and even more thrilled when she agreed to do this interview for BeautySchooled. Read the interview to discover how Ms. Gibbs paid her dues, how you can too, and what she’s stirring up across the pond.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?
Dana Gibbs: I have been in this industry for almost 20 years.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to be a hair stylist?
Dana Gibbs: It kind of just happened; I used to work in my boyfriend’s mother’s hair salon as a receptionist. I would watch her do hair and I loved it. So one day I got one of my friends to let me cut her hair, and I showed it to my boss and she suggested that I go to school. And the rest was history.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Other than a cosmetology school have you had any additional training or education that you believe has helped you to stand out amongst the sea of other hair stylist?
Dana Gibbs: I have taken classes on hair coloring with companies like L’Oreal and Joicio and they have helped me hone in on my skills as a colorist, but I think that working with some of the best in the business such as: Tippi Shorter and Ted Gibson has played a major part in my growth as a stylist. I have worked in several different states in this country and everywhere I have worked I try to surround myself with the best stylist out there. I feel that great stylists feed off each other.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Interesting how Ms. Shorter’s name keeps coming up in my hairstylist interviews, that’s clearly a testament to her as a stylist. Tell our readers about your first big break, what was it?
Dana Gibbs: I remember getting the job of doing the extras for a Nievia video called Laundromat, on the set of video I met the man who would later become my agent.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for?
Dana Gibbs: I would say that my niche is hair coloring. It is very hard to color the hair of women of color, we have a lot of red undertones in our hair and even some of the best colorist out there has difficulty coloring our hair without damaging it. We don’t have to walk around wearing orange hair. It was my goal to master this and I think now I have it down.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Dana, that’s an awesome niche, I definitely understand where you’re coming from, I know I’ve been very reluctant to color my hair for the reasons that you mentioned. You’re a busy lady a salon owner and you do session and video work too. Please give your readers what a typical working day is like for you, if there is such thing.
Dana Gibbs: A typical work day for me now is I get up about 5-5:30; I meditate for about 15 minutes. Then I have my coffee and answer emails. By 9, I am returning phone calls or I am heading in to my salon. If I am shooting that day, I will grab my kit and head to the set. I am usually at the salon until about 9pm, in that time between clients I will talk to my publicist to map out our goals for that week, I will speak with photographers, makeup artist and models to produce test shoots as well as send out product packages for magazine editors.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Okay, you just made my head spin, it’s awesome that you start your day with mediation, I’m sure that’s what helps keep you grounded and on top of your game. Dana, what would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and hair stylists specifically?
Dana Gibbs: I feel that the biggest misconceptions about hair stylists are that we are not professional and we don’t handle our business well. Yes, there are some out there whom are always late and don’t keep up on their skills, and these few make it bad on the rest of us who try to maintain a professional image. Most of the stylist that I know are very professional and make continuing education a priority to stay current and innovative.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming makeup artist and hairstylist wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?
Dana Gibbs: The main thing that my colleges and I always discuss is how no one now days wants to pay their dues. It took me at least 5 years paying dues in NY before I was called to be key stylist on projects. Working with celebrities does not happen overnight. And although the job can be glamorous at times, it’s more hard work than anything else. Most of us work 15-20 hours a day for days straight. I would suggest that anyone who wants to break into this business to assist someone who is working with celebrities now and put the time in and it will pay off in the end.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! That’s some awesome advice! So what’s next for you Dana I’ve been hearing some buzz about something on Twitter, any projects in the works that you can share with the readers?
Dana Gibbs: Right now I am working on going Global. I am in London right now working on building a clientele here and possibly opening up a salon here; as well as getting my products, “dana’s loft HAIR”, to an international market. I am also working on instructional DVD’s for not only the cosmetology student but for the lay person as well who would like to learn more on how to take care of their hair.
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you hire assistants, mentoring for young artists or provide any workshops or training?
Dana Gibbs: I am currently putting together classes for up and coming stylist because a get a lot of emails asking for this. I want to train stylist to be great assistants so that they can become great celebrity stylist, so the classes will train them to become celebrity stylist from the assistant stage forward. And yes I am always looking for assistants.
That’s incredible! Thank you Dana so much for that wonderful interview, for more information on Dana Gibbs, dana’s loft HAIR, and dana’s loft HAIR products and education please visit Dana’s website and be sure to follow her twitter for hair tips and behind the scene peaks at some of her photo shoots.
Ciao for now… Class is dismissed!