My hair stylist, Allie Paronelli, is a rock star. Okay, maybe not an actual rock star, but she comes really, really close. She’s sought after and in demand, and her work is constantly featured in national fashion and beauty magazines. She’s worked with Amber Heard, Marlee Matlin, Jane Krakowski, Mandy Moore, Lisa Kudrow, Bryce Dallas Howard, Tom Welling, Kevin Costner… (You get the idea.) She trained at the Chris McMillan Salon before joining the Jonathan and George Salon (formerly Neil George), where she’s a master stylist.
I’ve been going to her for the past three years, and she is the first hair professional I don’t try to micromanage. She not only listens, she takes great care with the work she does. When I first started coming to her, I would want to go over in detail what she was planning to do (a result of just how traumatized I was from past hair experiences), but now I just sit right down and let her work. I leave her chair looking and feeling wonderful– the very best version of me.
But none of that is why I wanted to interview Allie for Germ. The reason I wanted to feature her is because she’s lovely in every way, because she is as warm as she is talented, because she IS amazingly talented, because she’s so young to be so successful, AND because she’s successful in her chosen field. She works hard to live her dream, and that’s inspiring.
What made you want to be a professional hair stylist? Is it something you’ve always had a passion for?
I wanted to be a hairdresser for as long as I could remember. I was fascinated by hair even when I was a child. I would ask about hair color and texture. I wanted to know how women had short hair one day and long the next. Who knew it was extensions! I gave my first hair cut at the age of 4 to my little sister. Not my best work…
Were you met with support when you first started?
I didn’t have a lot of support in the beginning. My parents wanted me to go to college. Most of the adults around me agreed. It took a lot of convincing. But I understood where everyone was coming from. It came from love and wanting me to really think about my future.
If you could go back to when you first began and give some words of wisdom to a younger you, what would they be?
Don’t be so competitive. Your time will come, you have a long career ahead of you. Enjoy your youth. I was always trying to grow up so fast. My best friend is still constantly reminding me that I’m young and I can slow it down… It’s just starting to sink in.
Who did you practice on the most– family? Friends? Yourself? Any funny stories or “mess up’s” that stick out to you (that you care to remember and share)?
Friends and Family for sure. Most of my family lives in the same area so I had lots of models. The best mess up story: I was so excited to sign up for cosmetology school, I wanted to start cutting hair right away. So I convinced my sister to let me cut layers on her. I had no training of any kind… It didn’t go over well… Everyone was in tears by the end of the cut. I don’t know if you are keeping track, but that is two hair cuts my sister had to grow out.
Do you ever talk people out of certain styles they want because you don’t think they’ll like the result?
Of course. As the professional, I give my honest opinion. I want all my clients to leave happy. I ask a lot of questions when consulting, and ultimately I listen to my intuition. (Author’s note: Allie has– thankfully– talked me out of bangs on more than one occasion.)
What is your favorite type of hairstyle to create/cut?
I love long hair, long layers.
Did you do anything with your hair when you were younger that you later regretted?
OF COURSE! I was obsessed with hair. So I experimented a lot!
What is your advice to young girls and guys who want to change up their hair but are not quite sure what to do?
I am a visual person. So I look at photos in magazines, blogs, pinterest to get inspiration. I start looking for photos that I gravitate to. Take these photos to your stylist and make the decision together. Have fun with your hair– it grows back!
What advice could you give to young girls and guys who want to get into your field of work?
Ask yourself why you want to do hair. My cosmetology school teacher said on the first day, “Out of 40 of you, 4 of you will actually turn this into a career.” Who knows where that information came from, but it was true. I think a lot of people think being a hairstylist is easy. Although it’s fun, it’s hard work too. If there’d been social media like we have now, I would have researched top hairstylists and salons and reached out to them. Asked my questions about the industry. I’ve had aspiring hairstylists email me questions. I love it!
What is your favorite aspect of the work you do?
I get to be creative everyday. I get to be social and make people happy. There are so many aspects of hair styling… you can work in a salon, work in film, fashion shows, editorial, weddings, red carpet, travel, style, cut, color. It all really depends what you are drawn to.
(Thank you to Germ Beauty Consultant Amanda Alcala for the questions.)