Photographs: Courtesy of J.R. D'Angeles' Instagram.
J.R. d'Angeles is a celebrity stylist from Los Angeles who got his start from performing a blowout on the right person, and ended up creating a wildly successful T.V. and Film career styling on set! He owes much of his inspiration to his mother and uncle, who are both veterans of the industry and started him on the path of styling at a young age. He now owns his own salon and juggles his duties behind the chair and behind the camera. Learn more about JR and the tips he has to break into the industry and stay on top of the hair game!
Can you tell us a little more about your background? What drew you to hair styling?
I am a product of my mother, who is semi-retired Hairstylist, and an uncle who was a Barber; basically I come from a family of hairstylists. I began helping them around the salon when I was very young. I grew sweeping the floors as a child and helping around the salon as a kid. My father would drop me off after school, and I would just do what I was told. Due to my upbringing, the hair business was instilled into my brain, body, and hands!
What is your favorite technique to use?
I LOVE cutting and coloring hair, so much that this is not considered work to me anymore! I won’t lie; I didn't love it at first because I felt as though I was forced to do it. But as time went on, I loved the accolades I received and the inspiration I got from clients asking for new, innovative, looks. I am competitive by nature and am always eager to step up for any challenge!
What has been your biggest defining moment in your career?
My biggest break through happened on a busy Sunday in the salon. As I was working I got a referral from someone who was simply looking for a blowout. She just happened to be a girlfriend of one of the producers of America's Next Top Model. Her friend (the producer) must have loved my style because I got a call from him the next day and was asked if I would like to be a hairstylist for Tyra and the show! Since then, I’ve been doing TV shows for more than10 seasons! I’ve done work for The Bachelor, Dancing With the Stars, the KTLA Morning Show and so many more. Once you start working on one show, you get recognized and people start finding you and calling to work on all kinds of projects. I consider myself very blessed in this regard.
Specifically, how did you get into celebrity styling?
I keep it sharp! Everywhere I go, I look and watch as fashion emerges whether I am at a nightclub, a fashion show, a hair competition, social media events, watching movies, or simply walking in and around Hollywood. I live in Hollywood and if you’ve ever been there, you know what I mean! I'm always searching for an edge, to keep me ahead of this game. Nobody walks into a salon to ask for 1983 unless it’s a theme party!
How does colorpHlex change your styling abilities?
colorpHlex actually allows me the freedom NOT TO CHANGE because of it's strength! I used to work with one of the leading "Bond Builders;" it totally slowed me down. I suppose that's ok if you don't need to do more than two people a day, or if you are just starting out. However, the other brand didn't give me protection against breakage or melting!
I average 10 to 12 clients a day and I just don’t have the time to slow down, especially because I LOVE working on at least 10 clients a day! colorpHlex allows me to be myself... whether I am quick or sometimes even Quicker...HA!
It also allows me the security of knowing that my client has my favorite Bond Builder that will protect their hair, without me having to change or take up more of their time. It's business as usual for me. As an owner of a busy salon, I want to make sure all of my stylist are protected and won't cause undue chemical damage to any of our clients. Time is money to most of my clients here in Hollywood, they want out of the chair as soon as possible, there is a ton of traffic in L.A. and everyone has a place to be!
What is your favorite part about being a celebrity stylist?
Well, it only took me 20 years to become an overnight success! (Not my favorite part.) I really do love when other stylists call/text me for advice on coloring, or cutting techniques, or ask industry questions about how they can get to where I am, traveling from city to city, working on T.V. shows or films!
Which do you like to work on more photo shoots or set work?
I love them equally!
T.V. sets usually have a minimum of 8-hour calls while photo shoots are usually much quicker. There are so different to me, but I love being able to pick and choose between the two!
I love seeing my work on a T.V. screen, it validates me. I have proof that is saved in time; it is historical and makes me feel like I am accomplished! I love that as stylists, we are a part of this machine of artists, or colleagues that create and produce entertainment for the whole world to see. I have to be accurate, and precise, quick, and that brings pressure and responsibility because people depend on you to do your part well, so that all the parts fit perfectly.
The hard part of this job is that sometimes you have to go to far away on location shoots and are taken away from family and friends for long periods of time. It involves sitting around waiting in hot places that have lots of mosquitos, sometimes in environments that are very cold and wet and you need to make that hair pop! These challenges are all part of the job, and part of the reason why I feel so blessed to do the work that I do!
Who has influenced you most in your career?
My main influences, throughout my entire life have been my mom and dad, who showed me that hard work always pays off!
Industry influences include: Vidal Sassoon taught me the foundational principles and the art of hair cutting through classic techniques. Robert Cromeans and Mitch Stone taught me to believe in myself and inspired me to be a great leader in the hair industry, and Tracy Cunningham, Michael Canale, Guy Tang, Myra Castillo, and Breanna Eitile inspire me to be the best hair colorist I can be!
My biggest accomplishments so far have been working on an Emmy award winning show, and with Oscar Nominated Artists! However, being seen on T.V. as an America's Next Top Model Hairstylist, it made me feel like I was on top of the world! I like reading my name on the credits of T.V. Productions I’ve worked on, but seeing my face on the T.V. screen of ANTM set, that was historical for me!
If you could talk to yourself at the start of your career, what advice would you give your younger self?
I would say to chase every dream, because you are probably in love with whatever it is! Do your absolute best at it, and hope it pays well. Fun fact: I was in a Boy Band for 10 years, it was lots of fun, but It didn't pay well at all.
What is some advice you can offer the next generation of stylists?
The Hairstyling industry never gets boring. There are too many facets; Cutting, Coloring, Styling, Barbering, T.V., Film, Stage, Commercial, Union, Non-Union, New Media, Student, Behind the Chair Stylist, Owner, Educator, Editorial, and Mentorship. The best part is that throughout all of this, you are and helping people inside and out.