In this Marie Claire exclusive, we talked to the Wella Professionals Top Artist Aubrey Loots, where he spills everything from runway backstage life to getting a foot in the industry door.
Q: How did you get started with hair styling?
I started when I was 16. I worked in a video store on weekends across the way from a salon and would watch people getting their hair done. They looked like they were all having so much fun and everyone seemed so happy when they left. I became friends with some of the stylists and that’s what inspired me to become a stylist.
Q: What are some of your personal signature looks, and which iconic hairstyles do you love?
I create looks for the runway all the time and the one attached is one of my favorites that I created. My favorite iconic look is the 5 point Sassoon classic and also Twiggy.
Q: What are the trendiest styles in Hollywood today?
Texture and braiding is the Hollywood look right now. I love the undone look so anything that is structured like a bun or a braid which is then deconstructed – a little messy.
Q: Is there any celebrity’s hair you would absolutely love to work on?
Angelina Jolie. I think she looks good in a variety of different styles and she would be fun to play with!
Q: What do you love working on more – backstage for a runway show or an on location photoshoot?
I honestly love both but if I had to choose I would say for sure backstage for runway! Nothing beats that adrenaline rush!
Q: What’s the life like backstage? Can you share a bit of the process you go through when styling – are you a planner or do you come up with ideas on the spot?
I have been doing runway for fashion week for many years now, and it all depends on what the designers want. At times they give you creative freedom which is my favorite, and other times they let you know exactly what they want and you execute it that way. Either way I am very much a planner but I also leave room for spontaneous creative ideas.
Q: Can you tell us the best moments you’ve had, the highlights in your journey as a hair stylist?
I love teaching and sharing my passion with others. I feel so blessed to be able to inspire hairstylists around the world through my craft! Highlights have been – becoming a salon owner, my first ever runway show, becoming a Wella Top Artist and traveling the world.
Q: Being in Malaysia, if it’s not raining, the weather is constantly humid and hot. Any tips for working with Asian hair in this humidity?
I grew up in South Africa in a city called Durban on the Indian Ocean and it was also humid not like Malaysia but our own version of it. Moisture, moisture, and more moisture is the best solution for humid climate. It could be something as simple as a leave in conditioner.
Q: Which hair products or tools do you absolutely swear by (and are constantly in your kit)?
EIMI by Wella Professionals because it has a good range of products that cover everything I need to create any type of style I want. Tools, my Mason Pierson brush from London.
Q: Lastly, like everyone else in the industry, I’m sure you have started somewhere, and have been through ups and downs. If you could go 23 years back to the start of your career, what advice would you give yourself? What advice do you have for aspiring up-and-coming hair stylists?
If I went back 23 years ago I would say to myself take more risks no matter what. It will pay off because you will learn regardless if something works out or not. Say yes to opportunities; don’t let fear stop you. The moment I started to believe that and let go of fear of failure, my career started to really take off. You are going to make mistakes throughout your whole career so why should that stop you? Making mistakes is the best learning opportunity.
This article appears in our November print magazine, be sure to pick up a copy from newsstands!