NIMMI MATHAI chats up with San Francisco-based hairstylist Omar Antonio about the trendsetting styles in the hair industry.
Ever wondered how celebrities have perfect looking tresses all the time? It’s the hairstylists who manage everything from cut and colour to style and texture of celebs and get them ready to take on the world. International Sebastian Professional Expert Omar Antonio from San Francisco is one such hair expert who’s known for his trendsetting and extraordinary skills in the hair industry. Omar’s artistic background consists of fashion design, drawing, sketching, painting, and of course hair and make-up. A proud owner of ‘ME’, an Omar Antonio Salon in Benicia, California, he does beautiful colour, precision haircuts, extensions, and everything in between. But on stage is where his true talent and passion shine.
Omar was discovered by Sebastian in 2004 and was introduced to the artistic team led by Robert Lobetta, after which he freelanced with the team for two years. “That experience was one that words cannot explain. I travelled the globe doing numerous runway shows, fashion weeks, photoshoots and inspiring thousands of hairdressers around the world,” he says.
During his recent visit to India, we met up with the esteemed hairstylist and got an insight into his world of hairstyling, as well as his thoughts on what inspires him and keeps him going and about the biggest trends of 2019. Excerpts from the interview:
Q) Tell us about your professional journey. What motivated you to take up cosmetology as your career?
Ans) I wanted to have a career that would make me excited when I woke up every morning; a career that would allow me to be artistic. And hairdressing was perfect for that.
Q) You attended Miss Marty’s Cosmetology School in downtown San Francisco and went on to start a store of your own called ‘ME’.
Ans) I wanted to create my own artistic team; I trained all my stylists and we went on to become the A Team.
Q) How did you make a foray into the Indian hair industry?
Ans) I was discovered on social media. I am on the Sebastian Professional International artistic team which gave me a platform to showcase my skills.
Q) You have created some iconic and inspiring looks in your career. As a hairstylist, where do you derive your inspiration from?
Ans) I derive a lot of inspiration from the young generation, the millennials and their style and punk. I am also inspired by music, fashion, visionary artists such as Tim Burton and, of course, by my four beautiful children and their smiling faces.
Q) You have been responsible for redefining the way people look at hair and think about their looks.
Ans) It makes me really proud the way I teach and inspire people through my works.
I wanted to create my own artistic team; I trained all my stylists and we went on to become the A Team.
Q) How would you compare hairstyling in India and other countries?
Ans) What I have noticed is that a lot of the Indian hairstyles and looks are inspired by Bollywood, but this is very specific to India.
Q) As a hair veteran, can you share some special tips to maintain the health of hair?
Ans) My best and all-time hair tip is: Rinse your hair with cold water to seal the cuticle.
Q) Who do you look upto as your role model in the industry?
Ans) I look upto my fellow artists on the Sebastian International artistic team, as that exposes me to different cultures. I also look upto Renato because he’s young, new and fresh and it is a treat to see him grow as a hairdresser.
Q) Is there any celeb you look forward to styling?
Ans) The celeb I look forward to styling is Lady Gaga.
Q) What would you describe as your biggest hairdressing moment?
Ans) Being added to the international artistic team for Sebastian Professional is my best hairdressing moment.
Q) What are the biggest hair trends that will rule the year 2019?
Ans) Globally, I see more of plaits, buns and DIY hairstyles ruling the year 2019.