I have an insatiable hunger. I started my career with a six-month advanced training program, and since I've been behind the chair, I attend at least two continuing education classes a quarter. I believe that to deliver an authentic service in this industry; it is crucial to stay current with what is happening in the beauty industry. I was a member of the Gene Juarez Artistic Team which focuses on editorial work, fashion shows, and platform work for three years and had work published in Seattle Met and 425 Magazine. I also am a strong believer in giving back when you can. In 2016 I volunteered for 12 weeks in a salon in Cambodia where they teach victims of human trafficking hairdressing. I was an instructor and mentor as well as helped build the curriculum for the classes. I try to volunteer once a month donating services to different organisations like Casa Latina and Mary's Place here in Seattle as well.
Ruben, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Hair Stylist?
Honestly, I became a hairstylist because I grew up in a small conservative town and the salon that I went to (called Fashion Cuts) was the only place I felt comfortable being myself. I was a pretty flamboyant kid, so I knew I was different. Chatting with the stylists and getting my hair done, I loved it!! I didn't have to hold back any of it. So I decided to try beauty school. And it turned out I loved being behind the chair just as much! I want to be a strong hairdresser; I want to be a teacher and inspire people and create a space where people can be comfortable to be themselves.
Who is your inspiration in life Ruben? How do you keep inspired?
My sister is my inspiration in life. She's the smart one; I'm the fun one :). She pretty much raised me by herself during my teenage years while going to school full time and having a part-time job. She is an incredibly modest and authentic person. She has three degrees and is a hard worker. She inspires me to set goals, work hard for them, reach them, and set more, and stay authentic. As far as how I stay inspired at work I love to travel! I try to go on at least one big trip a year. Mostly has been Asia! I have recently gotten into photography, and that has helped with strengthening my eye! I am in love with my camera!
We all make mistakes Ruben; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Hair Stylist; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
I can't think of a specific situation but think the biggest thing I wish I could go back and do over would be to Be a better listener.
Ruben, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Hair Stylist, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?
I book on the hour which gives me plenty of time to deliver a good service. We have front desk support to help with booking appointments and management if there are any issues, so I think having a strong team keeps the plates spinning.
Please tell us, Ruben, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Hair Stylist?
A week before I went to Cambodia for my volunteer work I got called in to work a fashion show. It was during a day where I was fully booked, but they needed me to be there. My mentor was ill, and another lead stylist was out of town. I was so panicked because I was leaving for three months and my clients had prebooked their appointments to see me before I left. I had to quickly call them myself and luckily they were all able to either come in early before my shift or later on other days. I had to quickly work on a concept with the team for the show. It was a Nordstrom bridal event, which turned out great! But it was a very stressful and fast week! Luckily I get to work with incredibly talented people!!
Ruben, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
Again I can't think of a specific time, but with clients when I'm trying to persuade or meet in the middle, A very thorough consultation and imagery are *so important. Using those tools, I can usually either persuade or meet somewhere in the middle.
Ruben, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Hair Stylist. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
Oh, we did a charity event called Hope Heart where clients had to buy tickets, and we put on a fashion/hair show. It was so theatrical it was so fun. There were hundreds of clients plus most employees showed up, so it was a full house at the event centre. It was my first time on stage, and I had to transform a long layered hair cut into a bob in 10 mins. It was an incredible experience. And the bob turned out great!! I almost passed out afterwards haha.
Ruben, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I guess I'm pretty lucky because I worked on a creative team and now I do freelance work. I'd say the logistics are the most difficult part and the photographs are the most exciting.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Hair Stylist?
Do not let the fear of being vulnerable keep you from creating. It will always be scary to be vulnerable, create anyway. Listen to the people you admire and to everyone else pay them no mind.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Any editorial work. Fashion shoots. Runway work.
Photographer: Vivian Hsu Photographer: Jennifer McintyrePhotographer: Ruben Manzo