How Adrian Marco Got to the Today Show by Hairdressing
Story at a glance
- Adrian Marcovecchio is a Stylist on the Today Show for Ambush Makeover, an expert in barbering, hairdressing and networking in the beauty and salon industry. He works along some of the biggest names in beauty and the world including Chris Appleton (Hair dresser to J.Lo, Kim Kardashian) and Sir John (makeup artist to Beyoncé), among others.
- Adrian spent the first four years of his career learning, working in apprenticeship programs, and doing hands on assisting. He spent two years under Eiji Yamane, the protégé of the late great John Sahag, and two years under Julian Farel.
- You must have the fire and passion to do hair. Love people and remember why you got into this industry is to change lives, to change the way people look and to make them feel great about themselves. People say that a woman’s hair is like her crown. You can totally change a woman by just giving her a new style and a new look. You must love what you do in this industry.
Adrian Marcovecchio is a Stylist on the Today Show for Ambush Makeover, an expert in barbering, hairdressing and networking in the beauty and salon industry. As an expert in the salon industry he shares his hairstyling journey and how he found and landed salon jobs – and at the Today Show.
Adrian Marco (for short) is an expert in hairdressing. But before that, he was a master student. Adrian spent the first four years of his career learning, working in apprenticeship programs, and doing hands on assisting. He didn’t take any short cuts in becoming the best at what he does, and it’s paid off. Adrian is not only an expert behind the chair, he’s changing lives as an expert in complete makeovers on NBC’s The Today Show. Adrian is a part of a team that conducts Ambush Makeovers on audience members.
Adrian now works along some of the biggest names in beauty and the world including Chris Appleton (Hair dresser to J.Lo, Kim Kardashian) and Sir John (makeup artist to Beyoncé), among others.
We got to spend some time diving into how Adrian’s done it… here’s what he had to say..
What inspired you to go into cosmetology and what were the early days like?
“I was actually born and raised in Staten Island, New York. I went to cosmetology school at 18 years old right out of high school. I used to cut the guys hair. That’s how I got into barbering and after I graduated, I was telling my father that I would love to be a barber. And my father was a big influence saying you need a career you can’t just work at the corner barbershop; I want you to have a career. So he said why don’t you do hair for women, children, men – everyone. And I thought it was a great idea so once I got down to school I fell in love with doing hair for everyone.”
Tell us about the early days in your career.
“Immediately after beauty school I had a good friend of mine from beauty school who was working in Manhattan on Madison Ave and 59th. When I graduated, he reached out to me and said we’re looking for an apprentice for the salon. [I spent] two years under Eiji Yamane, the protégé of the late great John Sahag, a huge hairdresser in the 1990s who was a great hairdresser known for the dry cut technique. So I learned my apprenticeship from Eiji himself.
I assisted him for two years and every Monday he would teach class so I assisted him every day and would watch him and observe and I would hand him his iron, scissors, everything he needed – spray bottle… I was in the haircut as he was cutting. It’s like I was cutting with him because I was already thinking ahead of what tool he needed. I would also practice the tapering technique and he would show me hands on what to do and how to see the haircut. He was a great mentor.
I left after two years and I went up the block to 61st and Park at a beautiful salon and spa named Julien Farel, which I also learned and assisted for another two years. They were known for doing the US Open, and I was just like Wow! I would love to learn here as well. And ya know to be the stylist for the US Open is a great opportunity.
I learned the French method of how to style hair. Julian Farel showed me how to style and make beautiful, voluptuous, big bouncy hair… you know had a had a pin curl hair, roller sets, you know just beautiful work. Beautiful styled work.
The first four years was just learning different techniques. I was very young, so I had all this time to just really learn, so when I got behind the chair, I was fully confident and knew what I can do.
Eiji was more of a very disciplined, strong mentor. Very strict. You know if I got something wrong he like hit my hand with a comb, like you ‘gotta focus’. He was Japanese, so his culture is very like ‘you gotta get it right’. Like focus and stop messing around. Which was nice because I like that hard, “you can” type of learning. And Julien was just more very laid back and it’s all about the style, how you treat the client, and just listen to the client – let her talk and be elegant. Two very good mentors.”
What advice would you give people who are up and coming to be able to understand the journey that you’ve gone through you know and what it takes to get where you’re at?
“To have the fire and passion to do hair. It’s really: love people and remember why you got into this industry is to change lives, to change the way they look and to make them feel great about themselves. People say that a woman’s hair is like her crown. You can totally change a woman by just giving her a new style and a new look. You have to love what you do in this industry. Always be teachable. Always ready to learn.”
Tell us about a time you felt especially stuck or like you didn’t know if you were going to make it?
“You know, when Eiji would tell me ‘why aren’t you getting it, focus, focus.’ I would sometimes think ‘I’ll never get it, I can’t do this, I’m terrible. I belong in the barbershop, what am I doing here on Madison Ave?’ Then also with Julien, I was supposed to be on the floor there and he brought his friend in and he got on the floor. So there was no trust. A lot of things I was contemplating, and you know you gotta stay strong, remember what why you’re here. Just to love doing hair and love people. And no matter what happens, just never give up continue and go after your goal.”
What are you looking forward to in your future?
“Continuing doing this. Trying to keep the show alive. Also one day I would love to open my own spa. I would love to – and I’m not sure where, but just to bring that elegant New York feel to wherever I am. That’s my dream – to open up my own spot one day.”
How much of this in your career would you say is attributed to what you know vs. who you know?
“A lot of it is who you know for sure, and just being at the right place at the right time, but also to show what you know as well. It’s more to love [and] to just be a great hairdresser and the rest will come. But just love what you do and love people. Love the client.”
The beauty industry is vast, and Adrian’s story is an example of the work and dedication to the love for both the people and the craft that it takes to become successful in the industry. He uses his love for changing lives and empowering people through his artistry as a hairstylist.
Adrian is a graduate of The Academy NYC A Paul Mitchell Partner School. You can catch Adrian and his makeover partner every Thursday changing lives with ambush makeovers. Find Adrian on the professional network for the beauty industry, Handsome App @Adrian Marco to ask him questions directly.
Spend time learning. Master the art of being a student, an assistant and an apprentice. Always be teachable.
Have the fire and passion to change lives and make people feel great about themselves
Don’t be afraid to move, change techniques, find new mentors, and go after new opportunities.
So what’s your “why”? Why are you in the industry, creating works of art through hair or makeup? What keeps you going?