CHENNAI: “I think I’ve given everyone in my family a really bad haircut,” confides Henry De La Paz. This is ironic because in Hollywood, everyone from Kristin Stewart to Shakira has trusted him with their tresses. And movie stars aside, everyone wants a piece of this hairstylist and his scissors. This was quite apparent on his recent visit to Chennai, courtesy the Warren Tricomi chain of salons. The stylist who flew in from New York over the weekend and did some snazzy snips for a lucky few over at the Leela Palace Chennai, tells us that he wasn’t always the hair god that he’s considered today. But he was, as far back as he can remember – crazy about hair. So when no one would allow him to experiment on theirs as a toddler, he recalls, “My grandmother used to say that I would cut fringes on everything at our house…curtains, pillow cases, you name it.” CE caught up with the master of the mane over a fun, candid chat. Excerpts from the interview:
We hear you’re going to be doing a little bit of travelling while you’re here. Where are you headed?
I’m going to Mumbai and Delhi to do some training at the Warren Nicomi salons there. But honestly, I wish I had more time to do some sightseeing, maybe go to Goa or the Taj Mahal. Also, one thing I’ve wanted to do for a while is to watch a bharathnatyam concert.
Are there any actors in India whom you would like to style?
Yes! I’m a big Bollywood fan, I watch movies on Netflix at home all the time. I think if I got the chance I would definitely want to style Priyanka Chopra or Deepika Padukone. I already know what I would do with Priyanka’s hair...probably something that would shock India a bit.
Don’t leave us hanging here (laughs)
I’d do a platinum bob with some really choppy bangs. It’s pretty experimental, so we would probably try different looks with wigs on her.
Do you spend a lot of time on your own hair?
(Laughs) No, and I hate hair products!
So what do you recommend to your clients?
I think coconut oil is great. Leave it in your hair for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash it out, it rebuilds the hair and gives it plenty of shine.
You’re going to have a lot of fans here with that suggestion. Let’s talk movies. You’ve worked with some huge names, what’s been your most memorable shoot so far?
That would have to be my first box office movie – 500 Days of Summer. I had just moved to LA to do a movie that had got cut, when I found out that there was a movie being shot in my apartment building! I got talking to a few people there and someone said ‘Oh you do hair?’ The next day I was assisting the head stylist.
What do you think you would have done, if not hair?
Probably a therapist, I think I am already one. Everybody needs to sit down and vent to somebody…somehow it’s always to the hairdresser! I’m saving all those juicy tales for my book though.