In a country full of kangaroos, Australian doyenne of hairstyling Renya Xydis embodies more of an octopus—a multi-faceted Mane Master whose talents traverse all tress-industry territory. Founder of three salons in Sydney, including Valonz, Renya juggles the role of Global Ambassador for Wella and Mizutani, while also serving her high-profile clients’ cutting needs worldwide and keying shows at fashion weeks for over a decade. The fact that this star-of-strands landed her first cover at the age of 16 (starring Nicole Kidman) is no surprise. Ahead, Renya recollects the race to the top, her scrumptious strategy to silencing self-doubt, and how to navigate a successful career through today’s social media-stuffed generation.
How did you get your start in the hair industry?
I started at the age of 14 and my boss was into editorial hair so my first cover at 16-years-old was Nicole Kidman after she did a movie called BMX Bandits.
Who are some of the role models who have inspired you?
I’ve been blessed to work with Eugene Souleiman since 1998 in Paris, Milan, and New York. My first fashion show was Balenciaga. And I’ve worked with so many great artists since then–Sam McKnight, Guido, Luigi Murenu.
Do you have a signature style or look that you are known for?
Sexy hair is my favorite but if you go to my Instagram you’ll see I do out-there hair. I love being creative but I pride myself on embracing the imperfection in the perfection.
How do you deal with self-doubt and the competition?
Self doubt, well, I just eat cake to get over it. But I have so many celebrity friends and they always doubt themselves so I just realized that everyone does it. It’s human nature. It sort of keeps me going and in a better way. Competition empowers me. It pushes me further and further. Something weird inside of me wants to prove myself and do better.
How has social media impacted the industry and what’s your advice to stylists who utilize their Instagram accounts?
Look at everyone, but don’t try and be like everyone else. I’ve noticed stylists look at one account and want to copy what they see. You’re a creator and an artist, do your own thing. Take bits and pieces but never copy.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
I don’t think I would change much of what I did. I’m proud of the fact I got what I have by knocking on peoples’ doors, annoying people, networking, talking myself up. But one thing I wish I did was create a product.
What advice would you give to up and coming stylists?
Never say no and don’t be sensitive. If you’re doing nothing, don’t be on your phone—come watch me, concentrate, be a part of the team, and be ready to help me whenever I need. Keep in mind that it’s not a hair expo, it’s a hair show so forget about perfection. We’re not an army, we just want to know that the hair suits the model, so nurture and love the hair you’re working with.
How do you define success?
Hard work, never stop, smiling a lot, and spoiling myself.
How do you balance work and personal life?
I don’t, ha! I’m obsessed with my family so I just make it work, but I’m always tired, haha.
How do you think the current political climate is affecting the hair and fashion industry?
As long as we as women can rock our career out and bring up families while making our dreams come true then everything is good.
What is the next chapter for you?
I’m really happy about directing. I’m loving education at the moment. I have three salons in Sydney and I’m loving that I’m a creative ambassador for Wella Global.
Follow Renya Xydis @valonzhaircutters for more #manespiration.
SHOP THIS STORY