Every client is a VIP– at least that’s the minimum treatment clients get from French hair artist Mehdi Moussaoui. He has been in the industry for over 28 years, and his spectacular work has taken him around the world including Morocco, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia. Currently based in the Philippines, Mehdi is our Bound for Style brand ambassador who has brought the highly sought-after French touch to the local beauties.
Why do you think you decided to become a hair stylist?
I’ve wanted to become a hairstylist since I was kid because my parents’ friend was a hair salon owner, so I used to go there weekly. It is a bit funny, but the smell and odors of hair products always attracted me, and I was always fascinated to see the ladies in the salon getting their hair done and their looks changed.
How did you get your start in the industry?
When I was 15 years old I went to high school, but I couldn’t forget my dream to become a hair stylist so behind my parents’ back I looked for a mentor to teach me. When I found one I decided to leave school and to start hair training with my mentor. Of course my parents were mad because for them, we earn money with our brain and not with our hands.
When did you get your big break?
My big break was years ago when I was based in Morocco, when Naomi Campbell called to book me for one week because she was going on vacation in the country. It was the first time I met a top model, and it was also the start for me doing hair for models. Nothing happens without a reason.
What is the best thing about having a career in the beauty industry?
The best thing is being able to see different clients and work with different hair textures. It’s always a challenge to be able to give each client the best result. My favorite is the before/after makeover, when you see the client’s smile and the light in their eyes upon seeing the difference.
What is the worst thing about having a career in the beauty industry?
The worst and also the most funny thing was when I was based in Morocco, when an ambassador’s daughter was in France for the movie festival and asked me to go there during the day for her hair. As I am always a bit naive I told her I had to find a flight, her answer was “My private jet is waiting for you, YOU HAVE TO COME NOW!”It was my first time to travel on a private jet, then a driver picked me up at Nice airport and drove me to her hotel. Her hair was perfect and she showed me 2 gowns and asked to choose for her. I chose the black one but she decided to wear the red one. Then she said “Thanks you can go back to Morocco now, I will send your salary!” She is someone who likes to play with people and I was just the game of the day. The cost didn’t matter, she was just happy to see me.
There was this other time I was booked for a Hollywood actress and I waited outside her door 4 hours. She never showed up!
What inspires you?
In terms of hair anything can inspire me—a color, a smell, a photo. Hair is my life and when you are passionate about something, even a small thing can be an inspiration.
Which iconic hairstyles do you love?
I am addicted to the short bob.It is a classic haircut but to create the perfect bob is the most difficult haircut to do. Also, as a French man, I am addicted to updos like styles of the 60s to 80s icons like Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and all this big hairstyles. It’s very Frenchy and it never gets old.
I am also a super fan of highlights and colors. For me, a hair stylist is an artist. You get new results each time.
You’ve already worked with an impressive number of clients. Is there anyone that you would like to work with whom you haven’t yet?
To be honest, I am not impressed about any name or celebrity. My philosophy is simple; for me, every client in my hands is a celebrity and a VIP. I won’t make a difference of quality between an everyday person and a celebrity. I see each lady as a celebrity and I am proud about their trust in me.
Do you think this is a skill that successful beauty professionals are born with or is it one that can to be cultivated and perfected?
For me you are born with the talent, it is inside you. Throughout my career I’ve trained many young stylists, and one time a student’s family spent big money to send him to the best hair sessions, and he was still a bad hair artist. I’ve seen some kids playing with their friends’ hair at 8 years old and creating some amazing hairstyles. For me we are all artists– hair stylist, painter, sculptor – we are all born with a gift from God in our hands.
How can young men and women who are aspiring to work in the beauty industry begin their journey?
We all have to work throughout the day with a smile. We are in contact with clients everyday, and that is the best we can give.Sometimes a client will forgive you for a small mistake on her hair, but will not forgive you for not smiling or for a bad talk. Our clients are stressed and they came to us not only for a haircut but to have a private moment, to confide in someone they trust. Our job is to make that moment magical. It is also for that I always look at a regular client as a new client every time.