Allow us to introduce you to celebrity hairstylist and salon co-owner, Tanya Abriol. To call this woman a badass is an understatement. Tanya has been slinging hairstyles for 20 years, starting beauty school at the tender young age of 16. She trained under Arthur Viecco and Michelena Toscano at Umberto salon in Beverly Hills and worked alongside Teddy Charles, Kevyn Ryan, David Babaii and Neeko Abriol, the latter who is now her husband.
Fast forward a decade and now she counts Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hayden Panettiere and Sara and Erin Foster as just a few names on her roster of A-list clients, and co-owns and manages the wildly successful Salon Sessions in Pasadena. At first, you might think that Tanya has some sort of superpower–allowing her to stay totally calm in a line of work that is anything but. But then you realize it’s her talent and continued emphasis on personal and professional growth that keeps her sane. Tanya recently attended our first free Mane University class sponsored by Bumble and bumble. Below, we get a deeper look into Tanya’s past and what’s in store for the future.
Why did you want to get into the hair industry?
As a child my father would take us to Mexico for the summers to spend with our families. I have two tias (aunts) who are hairdressers, and to keep me busy they would take me to work with them to sweep hair and watch novellas in the back room. Seeing everyone always so happy to have their hair done was what sparked an interest.
The school system I was in during high school wasn’t one that encouraged college, or a degree, but at a young age I was super driven. I got lost in the class room, with all the ruckus I put my head down, got all the credits I needed and by the age of 16 I graduated.
The only thought I had was to make money and “make something of myself.” Honestly, the only options I “thought” I had!?! were to go to mechanics school, barbering or beauty school. Since I was familiar with hair, that’s the road I chose.
Where did you study and who did you train with?
I attended Marinellos. Once I left there I headed straight for Beverly Hills; I trained under Arthur Viecco and Michelena Toscano at Umbertos. Still two of the baddest hair dressers I know. When I started doing freelance, my mentors were so inspiring, humble, badass, caring people. For a time period over eight years I worked with Teddy Charles, Kevyn Ryan, David Babaii, and Neeko who I married .
Who is your icon in the industry?
I’m not being biased when I say this, but my hair icon is my husband Neeko. He truly is one of the greatest hair masters I know. I’ve worked with the best, and I show love to them all. But Neeko is just a special, special hair dresser. He truly understands hair and it crosses over on so many levels.
Have you taken hair classes or attended seminars before?
I have taken seminars–I go to business seminars, color classes, styling classes–literally this week I am going to one. I love them. They show me where I am in my techniques, my craft, the good and the not-so-good.
What did you learn at the most recent Mane University with Bumble and bumble?
What I learned at Mane University was how to lay hair wefts around the hairline to create more weight, which I loved. They made it so doable, applicable.
Has Mane University helped you grow your salon business?
What was great about the environment was how many people I saw that I hadn’t seen in years, I loved that. Scotty–who was up on stage demonstrating his styling techniques–used to work at the same salon with me when he first came to LA. I didn’t know he was doing demos and I was so excited and proud of him. I did meet a few new faces, too, it was such a great vibe.
What is the importance of continued education as a stylist and salon owner?
The absolute bottom line TRUTH about continued education is… the moment you STOP… you stop growing.
Why do you like working with bumble and bumble products in your salon?
I love using Bumble products in salon is because they’re super solid. They do what they say they’re going to do! They’re a great price point and there are so many product options for my clients and they never have a reason to not take at least one piece home.
What is the biggest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advise I ever got was from Neeko, He constantly tells to me, “keep doing the best you can. What got you here isn’t going to keep you here.” I apply that in every area of my life.
What keeps you motivated?
What keeps me motivated are so many things, wanting to be an example to my daughter Nekai, my family, they definitely keep me motivated, all the amazing hairstylists that work at our Salon Sessions. Most of all I personally honor life so much, I truly want to live it to its fullest and all that it has to offer.
What did you think about this recent Mane U being free?
I think it’s great to have surprise events gratis–the more excitement and fun around education the better.
Make sure to keep up with Tanya here, and read our city guide on Salon Sessions.