One of the highlights of the L’Oréal Professionnel 110th anniversary celebration weekend in Paris, France, was a presentation by Adir Abergel, Creative Director of Virtue Labs and celebrity stylist (Charlize Theron, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Saoirse Ronan, Reese Witherspoon, Rooney Mara, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Green and Kristen Stewart and so many others are his regulars.)
Abergel is the REAL DEAL. He has more than 640K on Instagram with a page chock full of celeb love, magazine covers, award shows and makeovers. Just check out @hairbyadir. You will get a feel of what it is like to work with true “A” listers and a sense of the behind the scenes world of red carpets and special appearances.
“I love what I do,” Abergel said to the salon pros assembled at the Palais de Tokyo Museum where the event was held. “We are warriors and healers. We are a community of people who empower others.” Abergel acknowledged that he was humbled and honored to present to the standing room only crowd. As he shared his story and journey in what he admitted was his first Power Point presentation, he agreed that he has come a long way from his humble beginnings in Israel before leaving for the United States as a young teen for what was supposed to be a “Better Life.” Although his original dream was to be a dancer, he connected with his first mentor, famed celeb stylist Arthur Johns, who steered him in to the hair world where Abergel ultimately found what truly turned out to be a FANTASTIC life.
Abergel can’t say enough about Johns who he assisted for seven years. “He was a magician,” Abergel says. “He created beautiful, memorable and iconic styles on lovely people. They were all the celebrities of the time!” Johns was the go-to stylist for Zsa Zsa Gabor, Tina Turner, Julie Christie, Olivia Newton-John, Chaka Khan, Liza Minelli, Farrah Fawcett, Jennifer Beals, Carrie Fisher, etc. etc. etc. Adds Abergel, “They ultimately raised me.”
I sat in on Abergel’s presentation and had a follow up interview afterward. He adores what he refers to as his “hairdresser community” and wishes success for everyone. We chatted about some of the most important “notes” that he believes have contributed to his success.
Here the very lovely Abergel shares seven key nuggets of inspiration, including tips and lessons learned, that he hopes will help every beauty professional on his or her own journey:
- Let things happen. Don’t try to force anything. Not only in hair, but in your career. Allow the energy to flow. It will lead you in the right direction.
- Find someone who believes in you early in your career. It will make all the difference in your future. If you have the passion and mentorship you have the power to be successful. Do your research and work with people that inspire you. You have to be with the best if you want to be the best. You want to make sure to surround yourself with people that elevate you and make you think bigger.
- As hairdressers, we have the power to help people find themselves. Each one of us has such a specific DNA and what we have to try to find what makes each person special and NOT homogenize each client. Find that individual - find their essence. Your job is to be of service to people and make them feel and be special.
- The gifts are in your hands – through your research and your mind. Once you know the basics of hairdressing and hair history, the rest is in you. Know the techniques and learn to not depend on “things.” Be prepared in the event your bags don’t make it! (Once Abergel’s suitcase with products didn’t show up for his prep with Jessica Biel. Instead of panicking, Abergel grabbed champagne to use as a volumizer and table salt and water to use as a texturizer.)
- Stay uncomfortable to learn. Every time you think “I got this” make sure to step away and challenge yourself. Every month my assistants and I learn something new – a style or technique. For example, last month, we had an expert come in to teach us how to do corn rows. Afterward we all worked on doll heads and had a competition! (Spoiler alert - Abergel won.)
- For inspiration, I go to the library once each month to look through archives, old books and magazines. I also watch people on the street. It's amazing how much that can inspire.
- You can’t be interesting if you’re not interested. This is hand’s down what it’s all about. Make sure that you ask questions and listen. It really is the most powerful tool you have.