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Off To Wonderland With Hair Stylist, Michael Angelo

Feb 17, 2011 By Amy

The idea of getting your hair done in Wonderland seems pretty exciting, no matter what your idea of “Wonderland” actually is. Luckily, hair stylist Michael Angelo already has his own idea of this make believe world within his Wonderland Beauty Parlor. Angelo, who can be found on set with Steven Meisel, Mario Testino or styling Agyness Deyn‘s tresses, recently sat down with MyFDB to talk about his beauty boudoir, photography skills and his industry start.

When did you know you that hair styling was your career calling?
There was never a time I didn’t have my hands in hair. From my sister’s Barbies to my friends in the high school girl’s room, I have been playing with any hair that I could get my hands on for as long as I can remember. I was really torn about whether to go to school for art or for beauty. I think that’s why photography, especially beauty photography, is such a great outlet for me…It’s the best of both worlds!

What current projects do you have in the works?
I completed a HUGE project last year. My first solo photography exhibition, called The Lipstick Portraits, benefiting the Somaly Mam Foundation. [I] used red lipstick as a thread to connect 60 subjects in a stand against sex trafficking. It was a non-profit effort that took me away from Wonderland for a little too long… So this year, getting back to business at Wonderland, building Wonderland’s online presence, and my relationship with Ford Artists (who I just signed with) will be my focus.

How did your hair salon, Wonderland Beauty Parlor come to fruition?
Wonderland came to fruition after I’d worked at Robert Kree (a wonderful West Village neighborhood salon), Prive (a trendy SOHO salon), and Stephen Knoll (a really elegant uptown space). I wanted to combine the best of those salons into one studio that I could call my own.

Also, what was the interior design concept behind Wonderland?
The design of Wonderland is a snapshot of some of my warmest memories: my grandmother’s flower farm, beaches in Brazil, patisseries in Paris, the mermaid lagoon in Peter Pan. It’s intentionally lighthearted, to remind our guests what we do should be taken lightheartedly, and can be taken lightheartedly if they’re in capable hands. Too often I hear discussions around the business of beauty that should be reserved for the ER or the psychotherapists office.

Given photography is also one of your passions, how do you find time to step behind the lens?
It’s SO hard. It takes a ton of discipline, careful calendaring and a fierce commitment to not wasting time watching trash TV or reading gossip mags. Sometimes it also means being a little anti-social and negotiating well with my husband. I really try to make every second of every day productive. Time is really our most limited resource, so I’m very careful with it.

With a lot of your photographic works associated with charitable shows, what inspires you about an organization to get involved and do more?
Photography allows me the opportunity to “talk” about issues that I simply can’t address with scissors. My fashion and beauty shots often touch on social issues. A recent editorial closed with a shot of two women using guys as footrests in a not-so-subtle message about girl power! I have the freedom to be just about anything I want to be, so working with organizations that help to ensure the freedom of folks who don’t have the luxury of those choices really helps me feel balanced. I spend my days frolicking in glitter and hairspray, so if i didn’t do something to stay grounded I think I’d be a nightmare.

Lastly, what advice do you have for aspiring fashion industry hopefuls?
EVERYONE will have an opinion on what you should do and how you should do it. The truth is this: all ANYONE knows is what other people have already done. If everyone did what others have already done, what a boring world it would be. Listen to all of it, because we learn from history, and take what makes sense to you, but stay true to yourself, your vision and your dream.

Great advice and thanks so much to Michael Angelo for taking the time to share your insights with MyFDB! For more about Angelo and his salon visit his official website.

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