As comfortable on skates as on the salon floor, Canadanative Eli Thomas has achieved many of his goals. At the celebrated salons of Jose Eber, Fred Segal Beauty, his eponymous salon, Thomas Chance Hairdressing, and now at Byron Williams Salon, he combines his passions for hair, hockey and music by styling the famed manes of sports figures, music makers and Hollywood celebs including Wayne Gretzky, Christian Slater, Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Rancic.
BORN: Halifax, Nova Scotia. You won’t meet many of us; it’s a very strong culture and not many of us leave.
MY HAIR NOW: I had it to my shoulders for the last couple of years but now I’ve undercut it with a long mop on top. It’s a dapper hair cut.
MY STYLE: I’ll move from very simple— jeans, T-shirt, boots—to suits. I am on the traditional side but I can get away with a little more flare because I do hair.
STYLE ICONS: Herb Ritts, Montgomery Clift and Lapo Elkann, Chairman of Fiat.
BEST PART OF MY JOB: I meet such an amazing cross section of people. It is the most electric, most charged, most exhausting profession possible.
TOUGHEST PART OF MY JOB: Being a hairdresser is like being a bartender on steroids. I’ve had clients get a phone call in the chair finding out they have Stage 4 cancer. People go through heavy stuff and you’re often the person with them in those moments and it can be hard to see them in pain.
MY PERFECT DAY: It starts with great sleep and exercise then some meditation and reminding myself how lucky I am. Then, work with hair, have dinner with friends, get out in nature and laugh really hard. I live a perfect day every day.
FAVORITE BOOK: Anything by Malcolm Gladwell. I learn so much about the human condition from his books.
SECRET TALENT: I grew up playing hockey so I can probably skate better than any hairdresser you’ve ever met.