“So, who have you done?”
I get this question a lot, having worked at some of the most glamorous salons in New York City. They’re as known for their appointment books brimming with celebrity clients as they are for their fabulous hairdressers.
My goal was always to be among the very best in the hair-coloring field, and for decades I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most talented people in the entertainment business. I’m very proud of my status as a “go-to guy” when it comes to creating memorable looks for actors, directors and models while keeping their hair in optimal condition.
While honing my skills in my native Australia I had the pleasure of collaborating on visionary film projects, advertising campaigns, theatrical productions and music events. My career-making moment came when the opportunity arose for me to be involved on the movie Strictly Ballroom with a young Baz Luhrmann. Up until that point, the Australian film industry was steeped in historical dramas and reality-based story-telling — in other words, the hair looks were far from inspiring. But Baz wanted the characters in Strictly Ballroom to be defined by their dramatic hair color. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to help him realize his creative vision.
My work with the Sydney Theatre Company introduced me to many fine actors, including Toni Collette, who was required to play down her natural beauty to portray the frumpy protagonist in Muriel’s Wedding. What a fun transformation! Conversely, managing the manes of music stars like Kylie Minogue, Keith Urban and the Divinyls’ Chrissy Amphlett was all about maximizing their sex appeal.
Shortly after relocating to the U.S., I was asked to do the color for a young Carolyn Murphy. It was a Bruce Weber shoot for Italian Vogue — not bad for a new arrival! Then Stephanie Seymour asked me to be the featured hair-color expert for her book, Beauty Secrets for Dummies. I’ve also had the pleasure of looking after the locks of the stunning supermodel Sasha Pivovarova.
Among my favorite projects: coloring a wig for Geoffrey Rush for his stellar New York theater performance in Diary of a Madman, and re-teaming with Baz to do color for his Broadway engagement of La Boheme and for the titular talent in Baz’s remake of The Great Gatsby, Leonardo DiCaprio.
Have I ever been starstruck? Yes: When I first came face to face with two extraordinary women of whom I am an unabashed fan: Bette Midler and Madeline Kahn.
But I sincerely mean it when I say that my job is to make sure that every single person who sits in my chair emerges feeling like a star, whether they’re famous or not. My life’s passion and work is to create hair looks that allow my clients to be the best they can be — on stage or off!