Jose Eber Interview
(Hairstylist to the Stars)

Of all the hairstylists in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Jose Eber is probably the most famous.

His personal clientele list includes Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, Farrah Fawcett, Linda Gray and Clint Black.

He owns four salons, three in California, one in Texas; has his own hair care line; is the author of two best selling books on hair; was the contributing beauty editor for ten years on "Hour Magazine;" has made numerous cameo appearances in major motion pictures as well as frequent guest appearances on top rated TV shows like "The To­night Show," "Good Morning America," and "Entertain­ment Tonight;" serves as a national spokesperson against domestic violence on behalf of the Sojourn organization and devotes a significant amount of time supporting char­ities including AmFar and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

We are honored to present an interview with Mr. Jose Eber — Hairstylist to the Stars.

Q. Mr. Eber, what qualities does a good hairstylist have to have?
A. It's a combination of personality and talent. Number one, the talent has to be there, and you also have to know how to deal with customers. Personality is as important because clients confide much to a hairdresser. Besides doctors, we are the only ones who get to physically touch clients. So, it becomes real personal. They must have an incredible rapport between the client and the hairdresser. Kindness is very important. Not trying to intimidate the client who is sometimes totally lost sitting in the chair and he or she is very nervous because they're really depending on what the stylist will do. It's understanding the individ­ual. Being very open, and understanding the need of the person sitting in your chair.

Q. Do you still work on the hair of your clients or are you more of an administrator these days?
A. I'm doing both. I'm still working hands on, but I have four salons right now, but I'm opening many more, so I'm keeping very busy.

Q. Do you ever get nervous when you're working on the hair of a famous person?
A. No, no, because clients are clients. Being in Holly­wood for 20 years now obviously I've worked with very famous people over the years, and I still do. Maybe the first time when you meet them you maybe get over-excited because yes they're famous. You grew up watching those actors and actresses and all of a sudden they sit in 3'our chair and you're gonna cut their hair or whatever. You maybe get intimidated slightly the first time but then when you know what you're doing, everything is fine. I'm not getting nervous at all anymore. Most of the time you work with celebrities, what happens is everybody around the world will see the works. Obviously those celebrities Jose Eber will be seen and you know you will be criticized for what you do. So you better do the best job you can, and that's what I always do anyway, whether they are celebrities or not. I've always tried to give a hundred per cent of my knowledge towards my clients. I tried to make them look as best as they can and try to make them feel good. It's bottom line. A good hair cut, a good style, a good whatever will make somebody feel great. It just doesn't have to be females. A male can be the same thing.

Q. You cut the hair of both men and women?
A. Of course. All my salons cater to men and women.

Q. Whose hair do you cut?
A. Usually it's Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Victoria Prin­cipal, Farrah Fawcett, Lisa Hartman, Clint Black. I've done every major actor in this town. What keeps me going in this town is that I really don't talk too much about my clients. Being in this town, obviously trust is very impor­tant. You were asking what makes a great hairstylist, besides talent and personality, the trust factor is very important. Hairdressers and clients talk a lot. A person will tell you a lot about themselves. This is something my clients feel very good about, trusting me. So I usually don't ever even like to talk about them.

Q. Will you cut the hair of people who are not famous as well?
A. I will consult. Me personally I have a closed client list. I'm so busy already that anybody who wants to see me personally I will give them a consultation. Then, one of my stylists who has been trained by me will actually do the work.

Q. When you hire someone to work for you, how do you know that person will measure up to your standards?
A. First of all when I hire somebody obviously they will have to bring me a bunch of models. They're going to have to show me their work on many people. When somebody walks into my salon and says, "I wanna job," I'm going to tell them bring me two or three, or four models. Not pro­fessional models. I'm talking about people. I want to see your work. Then I look at the work. Then when the work doesn't live up to my expectation, but I still see some tal­ent there I will tell them you can start working for me but you will have to assist for awhile until we give you proper training, until you really do the work we expect you to do. Very rarely do I hire somebody who just like starts right away without proper training.

Q. At the age of 15 you were a hairstyling appren­tice at a Paris salon, where you "quickly realized a success." What exactly does that mean?
A. I was very sure of myself. You have to have an eye for what looks good. I was discovered at a very early age that I had a good eye. It, was something that really came natural to me. Since the day I started in this profession, I felt very secure about what I was doing. I knew I was going to be very successful. I didn't know to what degree. Obviously nobody knows that, when you're so young. But I just knew that I would be successful.

Q. When you came to L.A. where did you start working?
A. In Beverly Hills. In a very small salon. I came here 20 years ago and very easily started to build a clientele. It was all word of mouth. Again it goes back to when I start­ed, when you're sure of yourself, it comes across. A client who comes in to see you, they feel very comfortable when you really know that's what I'm going to do to you, that look is gonna be the best look for you. You have to have this attitude of being, of not being like Oh my God what do you want? You never ask a woman what do you want? or an old man. You suggest what you see. And when you're very sure of yourself, it comes across, and then the client feels very secure, sitting in your chair knowing that the person who is gonna work on you feels real good. You want somebody who feels good about what they do and very secure about it, not somebody who's like a nervous wreck and you sit. in the chair and they don't even know what they're going to do to you.

Q. Did you ever just want to be a barber?
A. No. I didn't think it was as creative as being a hairstylist.

Q. How did you make the move up from a small salon to owning a state of the art salon? Did you have a financial backer?
A. No. I opened one salon in Beverly Hills with a partner. He was a hairdresser himself. We opened one large salon in Beverly Hills. Then I expanded and opened one in Palm Desert, one in Dallas, one in Orange County. Then I decided it was time to expand the salon in Beverly Hills and moved to Rodeo (Drive). I was not on Rodeo Drive from day one. It was just natural growth. All of a sudden the years go by, and I never had a financial backer. You just work hard. You can take the profit and put it in your pocket or you take the profit and expand your busi­ness. That's what I did.

Q. Before you was Jay Sebring the most famous Beverly Hills hairstylist.
A. Yeah. I didn't know him, but I heard about him. You also had Jon Peters. He became a major movie producer. You have Vidal Sassoon. I mean every couple of decades there's a big name coming out. It's just not something that you plan. You don't plan success. Obviously I was ambi­tious and trying to reach success, but you never know to what degree you will reach it. In my case 1 didn't know what kind of success I would have. 1 knew 1 was going to be successful. But, there's all kinds of success. You can be successful and do very well for yourself or you can reach what I've reached. It's much bigger than I ever expected. But I guess timing has a lot to do with it, the place where you are has a lot to do with it. I would have been some­where in the Midwest in the city no matter how good I am or no matter how ambitious I am, I could've reached suc­cess just to a certain degree. Being in Hollywood obviously it's much more publicized when you have success for busi­ness and a lot of famous people come in. It's gonna be pub­licized to the max, because people want to know these things.

Q. Do you charge by the hair style a person wants or by the hour? How does that work?
A. I charge by haircut. My haircuts are $200. When I go on house calls then I charge by the hour. When I go to a star's home or go on location for a particular project, then I will charge like $250 an hour and go up to ten hours a day.

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