Q&A With Michael Johnson
1-DT: Michael, tell us how your career got started?
MJ: The short version, I was a punk back in the 80s and did my own hair and my friends hair. Plus I had gotten so many bad hair cuts and no one knew how to cut it…so I passed a beauty school one day and signed up to Pivot Point in Chicago, IL (1987).
So, I credit the Punk culture allowed me a lot of creativity and experimentation with hair.
I also learned from the people I assisted like Frederic Fekkai, I learned how to deal with upscale clients, gain people skills and speed. My first job was with Diana Ross with Fekkai.
Second, was assisting Bruno Pittini where I learned to style and do great cuts. I also assisted Orlando Pita where I learned to style and sculpt hair.
2-DT: How do you stay inspired and creative?
MJ: Walking the streets of any major city is inspiring. A lot of trends come from the streets, that you can use as your inspiration. Plus 30 years of experience you start to learn and observe trends before their popular.
3-DT: Is having an agent super important?
MJ: I think agents are important, especially for hairstylists, fashion stylists, and makeup artists. We have less time with the clients in pre-production so we need someone to speak for us. Also, they can negotiate money, help us get paid in a timely manner, and a buffer between clients.
4-DT: I know you have your eyes on expanding…what does that look like for you?
MJ: I definitely want a salon, I have a lot to give, but exploring new territories. So, I am looking to expand into new markets and challenge myself. It keeps you fresh and gives you something to look forward to.
5-DT: What lesson would you share with younger people?
MJ: This is what I teach assistants. I respect your talent, but let me show you my way and then you can break the rules. Assist others to learn and grow.
It’s important to know the basics and classics looks to build upon.***
6-DT: What are some of your other passions?
MJ: I love to travel to learn about new cultures, foods, and people. I have a true passion for yoga and capoeira as well.
7-DT/MJ: Finish this sentence, the shift I would like to see in the world is, “ not everyone needs to be a star, follow your passion and what really makes you happy”.
8-DT: Travel, is such a huge part of our jobs. Name your top three places in the world?
MJ: My top three actually four favorite places in the world are:
- Mexico City, because I love everything about it: the food, colors, scene, affordability, and the 80s NYC vibe it still embodies.
- I feel the same about Tel Aviv, Israel it's on the same level as Mexico City for me.
- The third choice would be Paris, France. I love the air in Paris, it allows me to open up more.
- And my final choice is Belfast, Ireland. I just love all the places in Ireland. The people are amazing, inviting, and very sincere.