If you’ve ever lusted for the bombshell waves or steamy bedhead flaunted by Victoria’s Secret Angels, you’re admiring the talent of Danielle Priano, the lingerie-clad crew’s right-hand hair woman. Long before she was jooging the manes of Adriana Lima and Mariah Carey (another one of her heavy-hitter clients), Danielle was fired from her first post-beauty school job as an assistant. Clearly, the hiccup hindered her none—whether she’s making Mariah’s ‘do in LA or jetting all over the US and beyond (think: VS Fashion Show in Paris), she continues to make her mark. Keep reading to learn how she achieved the success she basks in now and why she’s a big believer of speaking your mind in this business.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I grew up in the fashion industry since two of my uncles, Thom Priano and Garren, are famous hair dressers. I’ve always felt really lucky to have been exposed to the industry since I was little. I’ve also loved doing hair and felt like I was naturally really good at it. I went to beauty school to study further and started working in a salon as an assistant after I graduated. It wasn’t the best experience to say the least-I had to wash and blow dry everyone’s clients and sweep hair. All I could think about was how I didn’t spend all of that time, money, and energy at school to be a janitor. I refused to sweep and in the end, I got fired. I then called my uncle who took a chance on me, which in the end really sparked my career.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
I’m so appreciative to have grown up with such successful uncles in the industry, but have come across several challenges with sharing the same last name as them. It definitely helped me too, but many people thought I was favored and received jobs that I didn’t deserve. Don’t get me wrong – they definitely opened doors for me, but the key is to not just have the door opened for you, but to keep the door open on your own by maintaining those relationships you get exposed to. I always tried to work twice as hard to prove I was deserving of the job and assisted for many years to put in my time – I didn’t have anything handed to me which can easily be assumed.
Who are some role models that have inspired you?
I have a few! My uncles definitely are on my role model list. My sisters and I were like hair models to them and always looked up to them growing up. Regardless of how successful they are, they still remain so humble and are very supportive of my career choices.
I also look up to Nicolas Jurnjack – I have never met him but am so inspired by his talent. His work is beyond!
Last but not least, I have to give a shout out to my sister, Michelle Priano! She is my biggest fan and so supportive. She is constantly exuding positive energy and always sees the good in everyone. She is an amazing mother and such a hard worker. I could go on and on about how smart, funny, and beautiful she is, but in short – no one can make you feel more inspired and supported by your own sister.
Do you have a signature look or style that you’re known for?
My signature look is definitely beautiful, natural, sexy hair—by default because I work with Victoria’s Secret.
What was the last major makeover that you did?
The last major makeover I did was on a dancer for a TV commercial – she was booked with brown hair and showed up with purple hair! The client was not happy to say the least, so I had to think quickly and get her back to her brunette hair color with bangs.
What tools/products do you always have in your kit?
R + Co Prep Spray and Frizz + Static Control Spray, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, Tresemme Non-Aerosol Hair Spray, my Hot Tools, and my Mason Pearson hair brush with a wide tooth comb.
What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
Advice I would give myself ten years ago – definitely to be more confident and to not be afraid to share my opinion. I was always trying to please the team and agree with the direction regardless of what I thought – even if I didn’t agree. I was scared to speak up because I was young and didn’t want to get shot down. Now I know, you can’t take things personally and sharing your opinion is totally valid. Believe in yourself, because you are there for a reason and have a say in things too.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? What advice would you give to new stylists?
The best advice I received was from a friend in the industry. She told me to remember to stay confident in myself – people are already worrying about how they walk and talk that they are too busy to see any of your flaws.
Advice I would give to new stylists is to work hard and don’t ever give up because you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Set a goal and don’t lose track of it. Remember to have good energy – this business is 80% personality and 20% talent. Make people laugh and feel beautiful- leave a good impression and stay positive. Never be late and never talk about another artist’s work – and always support each other!
What’s the next chapter for you?
I love what I do for a living and I am very lucky to be able to wake up every morning and make money doing something that never feels like work. The next chapter for me is to create my own hair product or tool. I’m doing my research and am taking my time to make it perfect – stay tuned!
Follow @daniellepriano for more #manespiration.