6 comments / Posted on by Rebecca Brown

 

Danielle Priano is the celebrity hairstylist behind some of Hollywood's leading ladies and fashion's hottest runways. 

Whether it was working with Mariah Carey on her tour Down Under or styling the locks of Victoria's Secret angels, Danielle has built her career upon sheer hard work and determination.

Amuze.com caught up with the hair guru to discuss her favorite products, the three tools in her hair kit she just can’t live without, and how got her break into the biz.

How did you get your start in the hair styling business and why did you decide to pursue it as a full time career?
Hair styling was the only thing I was good at. If I wanted to feed my kids, I thought it was smart to make money doing it. My family was already part of the fashion industry - my uncle Timothy Priano was one of the first hair and makeup agents 35 years ago. I owe the start of my career to him and my sister, they were my biggest fans. So you might say it’s in my blood. I started by enrolling in cosmetology school. At the time, it was Libbs Beauty School on 34th Street in Manhattan.

I didn’t have the easiest upbringing. When I was 14 I moved to California, then Oregon, and then back to New York. I was a bit of a troublemaker. My biggest challenge was sitting still and going to school because my brain didn’t work like everyone else’s. I knew I was different but I didn’t know why. Years later, I realized it’s because I’m an artist and we function differently. The highest year I completed was 8th grade. I’m pretty sure everyone in my family thought I’d amount to nothing, but I proved them wrong - even with all the odds stacked against me, I made it. 


When I graduated beauty school, I went to my uncle for a job, but he encouraged me to first gain experience by assisting in a salon setting. I never really handled authority figures well, so I knew that in the long run I would have to be my own boss. As you can imagine, my days in the salon were short lived because as an assistant in a hair salon they expect you to clean, make coffees, and refill the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom. In my mind, I was thinking: “I didn’t spend all that money on cosmetology school to become a hair salon’s janitor!” Since I refused to sweep and clean and run errands, I was fired. I remember the receptionist telling me that with my attitude I wasn’t going to make it anywhere.

After that, I went back to my uncle and basically begged and pleaded with him to hire me. And he did…but not as a hairstylist. He made me work in his office to understand the business side of it all before he gave me a chance. I did that for a few months and lost count at how many times he fired me. He explained that I would have to assist all the hairdressers at his agency for free and when he felt I was ready to go out on my own, he would tell me. I held down a job evenings and weekends at Bloomingdale’s and slept on my sister’s futon until I could afford my own place. But I did it. What new artists have to understand is that assisting reputable hair stylists at the beginning is the most important aspect of a successful career. You learn everything on set watching established celebrity and fashion stylists. But you have to be willing to put in the time because the rewards are well worth it.


What’s the hair style/s you’re most well known for?
Probably loose beach waves - my first break in the industry was with the Victoria’s Secret models who I often style with this signature ‘do.

How would you describe your personal style?
Rock 'nRoll-inspired. I have about 20 leather jackets and my wardrobe is all black and grey with blue, beige, mauve and muted color accents. I always wear a high heeled black motorcycle boot. I hate flats.

What do you like to splurge on? 
Jewelry and shoes.

What inspires you to create statement hair looks for your celebrity clients?
I’m inspired by the clothes the client is going to be wearing and the make-up artist’s look for the client. It’s a collaboration between all of us. That’s what makes your work stand out - being on the same page as your co-workers. Learning to take constructive criticism is also crucial. We always have to work as a team.


What has been the most surreal moment for you? 
When I did a mini tour in Australia with Mariah Carey. She brought me and the make-up artist on stage as part of her performance! The energy you feel from the stadium and the roaring vibration of the stage from her fans screaming was unreal.

Who was your first celebrity client and how did you land him/her?
Mariah Carey! She had her hair and make-up done everyday and had two sets of artists: the ones who did the daily events and the ones who focused on performances and appearances. I started out as part of the ‘daily team’ and we immediately hit it off!

If you could only use one hair product, what would it be and why?
R+Co foil spray because I can use it on any hair texture as both a prep or finishing spray.

What are the three tools in your hair kit that you just can’t live without?
My Harry Josh Pro Tools  Pro Dryer, GHD flat iron, and Mason Pearson brush.

What is your current hair obsession?
An amazing hair cut that you can make versatile with long bangs and uneven layers. Going with the natural texture of your hair is key.

What was your first job?
My first job out on my own was with Candice Swanepoel for Victoria’s Secret. At the time, I was assisting hair dresser Thomas McKiver. Something came up and he couldn’t finish the job so they asked him for a recommendation to do so, and he suggested me. I completed the job and they loved what I did. I have been working with Victoria’s Secret and Candice ever since! Thank you, Thomas!


Do you have a secret hair how-to tip for us?

One of my secret hair how-to tips is how to get sexy beach waves without using any hot tools: First, group hair into four sections and prep with Ouai Wave Spray. Then, twist each section in opposite directions and pin. Let set as is. When you take the sections out, your hair will look amazing!

Do you have any hobbies?
Cooking. I’m vegan and I love to cook for my family. I’m convinced that cooking is an art and being that I am an artist, I use that skill when I’m being a chef at home.

What's your favorite product in your kit?
I love the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, R+Co foil spray, and Tresemme hair spray in the pump.

Who's your style icon?
I don’t have one specifically, but I love the style vibe of supermodels. They are like chameleons and can transform into pretty much anything.


What's the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
You are only as good as your last booking. Don’t ever think that you’re not replaceable and that if one door closes another will open. That’s not the case. Always stay humble, hungry and grateful. Those traits will ensure longevity in this industry.

What is one thing our readers would be surprised to hear?
Talent is only 20% of why you become successful. The other 80% is personality. You can be the best hairdresser in the world but if no one wants to be around you, that’s a problem. We’re always learning and the moment that you think you know it all, there will be someone that comes along and reminds you that you don’t. We have to keep an open mind and be supportive of each other.

If you could style the hair of one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Angelina Jolie. I think she is one of the most beautiful women in the industry. I've loved her from the days of “Gia”. I even named my daughter after her!

Favorite quote?
Let your haters be your motivators.

Favorite book?
Marley and Me by Rita Marley.

Favorite artist you’re listening to right now?
Jah Cure. I love reggae music

 

THE QUICK FIVE 

Balayage - Yay or No?
Yay.

Bob or Lob?
Lob.

Milk or Dark chocolate?
Dark.

Fitbit or Apple Watch? 
I don’t have either..but if I had to choose, I'd go with the Apple watch.

Tacos or Thai?
Thai.
 

Follow Danielle on Instagram HERE.

6 comments

  • Posted on by Tita Abraham

    Great interview my beauty; stay humble and never forget your roots. I always love you.

  • Posted on by Ruthann

    Hey cousin,Danielle you did my hair once with a flat iron and that was the best thing for me. I use it all the time. Thank you and keep up the great work. Your personality has always been lively and enjoyable.

  • Posted on by Ruthann

    Hey cousin,Danielle you did my hair once with a flat iron and that was the best thing for me. I use it all the time. Thank you and keep up the great work. Your personality has always been lively and enjoyable.

  • Posted on by Pamela Priano

    Always believed in Danielle!

  • Posted on by Pamela Priano

    Always believed in Danielle!

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