What do Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Chloe Moretz, and Margot Robbie have in common? Aside from ethereal blonde-beauty, the answer is Christian Wood—the ultra-talented stylist responsible for primping their manes to perfection. Here, the Londoner-turned-Angeleno reflects on gaining creative momentum in a new city and expresses thanks for the one person who taught him to care none about his creative career choices.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I first started in the industry by assisting Sam McKnight. I worked with him full-time assisting on shows, editorial and advertising campaigns. This was the only way, in my opinion, to start my career. I was really lucky as these positions are scarce but I learnt so much about technique, set etiquette and business management from Sam. He’s a true master and such an amazing person.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
My biggest career challenge was moving from working in the fashion industry to celebrity. I thought it would be a lot easier and people would be more willing to work with me straight off the bat. It took some time to establish myself and work out how different both industries are. Moving to LA from London was my biggest challenge both professionally and personally. In London, creativity is thrust in your face daily. LA is quieter and way more spread out, you have to search out your influences and creativity although even in the short time I’ve lived here, LA is really taking on its own platform in the fashion and art world.
Who are some role models who have inspired you?
My biggest role models are number one, my Grandma, she taught me everything I know about good taste, being fearless with your creative choices (even if others don’t like or get it) and not to second-guess your self, something I find really important in my job. I’d say Sam was my biggest role model in the hair field. He taught me to work hard, be a perfectionist but also have fun, laugh, and enjoy your work life as it’s such a big part of your day.
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
I’d like to think (in my head) I was known for simple, classical, beautiful hair. I like hair that makes people the best version of themselves, that’s glamorous but still modern, nothing too fussy or intricate. I love old school Hollywood waves or a slicked chignon with a sharp parting.
What was your last major makeover that you’ve done?
The last major makeover I did was cutting Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s lob into a shorter choppy, textured bob. I was new to working with her and it was just before her Mad Max premiere. I was a little nervous and praying inside, “Please don’t let this be the last time I see you.” Lucky for me, she loved it and rocked the red carpet.
Which hair products or tools are always in your kit?
- Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
- Christophe Robin Instant Volumizing Mist and Prickly Pear Oil
- Ouai Dry Shampoo
- Kerastase Hairspray
- Mason Pearson Brush
- Harry Josh Pro Tools
What is your favorite Instagram account to follow?
My favorite Instagram account is probably Kelly Wearstler. I’m obsessed with interiors and she’s my ultimate icon. In a sea of blonde mid-century wood and fig leaves, she’s really out there with pattern, color, shapes, and texture, which I find so inspiring as a hair stylist.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
My biggest advice 10 years ago would be listen to yourself and your intuitions. There will always be agencies, other artists, friends and family etc… giving you advice telling you what to do. Sometimes this dilutes your vision or worth and it’s so important to listen to yourself and follow what it is you really want to do. Also, I probably would have said take more holidays and enjoy life because that job will always come around again.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? What advice would you give to new stylists?
The best piece of advice I received was, “It’s not how well you are doing, it’s how well people think you are doing.” In a world of social media, this couldn’t be more true—it’s all in the perception of how you put yourself out there.
My biggest advice is assist, assist, assist—it’s the hardest work, but in my opinion the only way to learn. It’s a really difficult task but opens up so many more doors and possibilities.
What is the next chapter for you?
My next chapter for me is probably keeping on the same path, I still feel new to the LA so growing as an artist, working with new people achieving my personal career goals. I’d love my own range one day and I have a huge passion for interiors so maybe I could dabble in that. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a Christian Wood cushion or tea towel in Target one day.
Follow @cwoodhair for more #manespiration.