Whether proving just how flawless curly hair can be or slaying Kendall Jenner’s hair for the red carpet, Andrew Fitzsimons’ work is just as entrancing as his dreamy Irish accent. Known for perfectly detail oriented red carpet work and breezy touchable hair, we were quick to wonder just how a man as dashing as Andrew made his way to the hair world in the Big Apple. Keep reading to fall in love (and learn a thing or two) from this Mane Master.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I was very lucky to have an incredibly supportive mother who, when I asked for help finding a summer job at the age of 13 in my native Ireland, found me a position at her local hair salon. After a very short amount of time, my responsibilities grew in the salon because of my love for getting to know hair and having fun with the clients. With my new found natural aptitude for hair, when September rolled around and school was back in session, I made the decision to pursue hairstyling full-time at just 14 years old. Of course my mother wanted me to finish school but I was adamant. Somehow at such a young age I knew I had to trust my instincts and proceed in the direction the universe was telling me to go. From there, I did a full training apprenticeship at the leading hair salon in Dublin, then at age 16 got my first agent and started working on editorials and film/tv. At the age of 18 I moved to Paris to study and live my fashion dream. I got an agent and started working in the fashion capital on fashion shoots, Paris fashion week, and immersed myself in anything art, fashion or beauty related I could find. At 21 I moved to New York to take my career to the next level and since then have traveled the world, worked with such incredible, inspiring people, and now am loving the dream I saw for myself at 13 years old.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
The biggest career challenge I had to overcome was by far myself. Because I started in the industry at such a young age, I really grew up and made all of the mistakes a teenager makes, while molding my career. I had to learn to be assertive, that my opinion matters, and not to let people stifle my creativity. To trust myself and therefore give no alternative to others than to trust me and my abilities.
Who are some role models who have inspired you?
I absolutely ADORE Serge Normant. I think he is an absolute genius. His incredible talent aside, he has built a career on positivity, kindness, cooperation and love and I respect him so much for that. Also, this might sound a little weird but my other is RuPaul. I remember looking at her as a child in the Mac Viva Glam campaign and thinking she was the most perfect creation on the planet, and I still do to this day. She and Grace Jones have been my archetypes for beauty since I was a child. And the way RuPaul went from a talented teenage partier to a spiritually enlightened, focused, light-giving, professional media mogul (can you tell I love her a little too much?) is exactly how I see my story-line going. Minus the dresses and heels.
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
I don’t know if I’m known for one particular style or look on particular. My love is to collaborate with my client or with an editorial team and bounce around ideas and come up with a look that works with all other elements whether it be the dress on the red carpet or the look for a fashion shoot. I never want to over-power a look with my ideas just for the sake of it being about the hair. Sometimes it’s about paring things back and letting it be about the diamond necklace with the tightest, sleekest, most perfect chignon anyone has ever seen!
Which hair products or tools are always in your kit?
I love Serge Normant’s products, they are the ultimate to me. His dry shampoo is incredible and his hairspray is so light and divine! I also use a lot of Paul Mitchell, they have by far my favorite mousse. And they just launched these incredible vegan, boar bristle brushes that I have fallen in love with. I work with extensions almost everyday and my favorite by far are by EasiLocks, such beautiful hair and beautiful, natural shades that I can match up to any hair so easily!
What is your favorite Instagram account to follow?
My favorite Instagram account to follow (apart from @maneaddicts of course!) is probably @theartofshade_ it’s not fashion or beauty related, it’s just little clips from tv shows when someone is being particularly shady in a creative way, always good for a laugh or to cheer me up. Also sometimes I stalk my boyfriend @JeffreyBChapman ‘s account because I love looking at him.. Is that weird?
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Honestly the advice I would give 18 year old me would be to stay strong, trust your gut because the universe loves you and will always look after you. Also be a little kinder to your liver in your early 20’s…?!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
The best piece of advice for work was, always be on time, don’t complain because nobody cares (especially in New York) and be kind to EVERYONE.
What advice would you give to new stylists?
My advice for new stylists is trust your instincts, they are there for a reason. Don’t be afraid to take chances, great things only happen when you do. And most importantly PAY YOUR TAXES!!
What is the next chapter for you?
The next chapter for me definitely includes philanthropy and advocacy work. As a feminist who works in the fashion/beauty industry I believe it is my duty to do as much good for women as I possibly can. I want to celebrate the individual, real beauty of women, not just the beautiful illusions we create to add color to the world. I think all people are unique and beautiful and I want to illustrate that to the next generation, that they are enough, their skin is beautiful, their hair is beautiful and they do not have to conform for the world, the things that make them different are the things that make them special, no matter what size, color, gender or sexuality they are.. They are perfect. That’s what I want to do.
Follow @andrewfitzsimons for more #manespiration.