Team Spotlight: Opal, Madison Hair Designer

What’s your story? 

Well, I grew up in a small town called Iron Mountain, located in the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan. I have one older brother, and we have a very close, best-friend type of relationship. We have a very large extended family, everybody is super loud and Italian. At Christmas time it’s like either everyone is shouting or we’re busy shoving raviolis in our mouths. 

What got you into hair?  Were you pursuing something before becoming a Hair Designer?

I’ve been interested in the Cosmetology/fashion/creative arts type of field for as long as I can remember. I knew I was going to go to hair school/art school or something of the sort. The only other career path I ever considered was psychology, because human behavior and interaction has always interested me. With my career as a hairdresser, I get to do both and it’s fantastic. What I love about our industry is how many different creative outlets are available. I initially began my career by diving into the fashion industry, that’s what sparked my fire. I moved to California, networked by taking many editorial hair styling classes and working for free assisting their artists basically just to meet people. And by doing that I eventually got paid to work on photo shoot sets on my own, and it was a blast. Since then I’ve enjoyed being back behind the chair, developing relationships with my clients.

What do you consider to be your specialty?

Color, for sure. I spent about 4 of my 8 years specializing in hair color only. It’s where I feel most creative and free, and reminds me of painting on a canvas. I’ve since enjoyed getting back into hair cutting as well – but color is where I have the most fun. Free-hand techniques such as hair-painting/balayage/color melting are my favorite.

Any hair myths that you find true or false?  If so, why?

 “I have to wash my hair everyday because I have an oily scalp.” NO NO NO!
It’s a process to transition from washing everyday, but I PROMISE with time/dedication/the right product regimen, you can help control your oil production. It’s like the same as when people have an oily face, they commonly refuse to use a face lotion after cleansing, but that’s actually triggering MORE oil production. The more you dry out your hair/scalp by over-washing, the more oil production will be triggered.
My current favorite Aveda product for this is the Be Curly Co-wash — I wish everybody would use it, curly haired or not. It’s a super gentle way to cleanse and simultaneously condition your hair and scalp, without over cleansing it like shampoo does. I’ve nearly replaced my shampoo with this product, (only using shampoo once every 7-10 days)  and still condition my ends afterward.  My hair and scalp have transformed since this product has come about, hair has never been this silky – I love it.

One thing that might surprise people about you?

 I’m a bowler! I’ve been competitively bowling since I was about 12 years old. I was on our high school’s bowling team and made it to state finals four years in a row! I still bowl weekly on a casual Monday night league and enjoy occasional tournaments. The best friends and memories I made bowling all those years are arguably some of my most treasured memories from childhood and teen years.

Favorite thing about/to do in Madison?

 The food! Madison has so many great restaurants, and I’m a total foodie, I’ll admit it. I get reeeeeallly excited about good food. I love to watch all the cooking shows like Top Chef and Master Chef. Whenever I go to a new city, I love to try all the cool restaurants. Madison has so many, I’m looking forward to trying all of them now that I’m living here. Other than that, I just think Madison is a really beautiful city. I love the big lakes and the capitol, it’s just gorgeous and charming.

When you’re feeling down, you know you can turn to ____ to brighten your day.

Well, when I was living in California I would have said “the beach” hands down. I spent a lot of my time going to the beach when I lived there as I found it very therapeutic. I’m still finding my groove here in Madison, but typically doing anything outdoors is what makes me happy. Whether it’s hiking, ice skating, swimming, or just hanging out at the park, getting outside is what makes me feel happiest.

On your off day, we can find you doing ____.

 Well, in the winter so far I’ve been doing a lot of bowling on my off days. It’s something that gets me out of the house, but also out of the cold. In the summer I like to be outside as much as possible, and since I can’t catch any waves with my boogie board on Lake Mendota, I plan to spend my off time learning how to sail!  I’m very much looking forward to getting out on the water.

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