We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Hayes- Fiedler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
The most difficult decision I ever had to make was leaving a salon that I saw a future with. In my eyes it was the place where all my dreams were a reality and everything I dreamt of as my ideal life/ home in the hair industry. I am grateful for the opportunity because I met some amazing people there ( 2 of which are still very dear friends) I got to work with and along side some of the industries most iconic and extremely talented artist. Some I look at today and am so wowed as i see them leaving a legendary mark out there. It was hard to accept, I was young and I had many years under my belt, especially for my age. I know how hard I worked and what my level of talent was, yet there was no room for me to grow. I needed to grow somewhere else, navigate my own dreams and stay true to myself as an artist and a person.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My mother had first recognized my love for beauty and fashion which started out in middle school. I used to cut out cool outfits and hairstyles from teen magazine and vogue and put them on my binders, locker door and even my mirror or my vanity and walls in my bedroom. All the cool girls had short hair in middle school. It was the 90s … think butterfly clips, the gap and two heavy highlights in the front… o yea and sun-in( that’s a whole other story). I had wavy hair that was only getting curlier and I was still in denial that it wasn’t straight like most of my friends (Britney spears and flat irons weren’t a thing just yet). I begged my mom to take me to cut my hair…. after weeks of persuasion, she took me to a young cool salon at the time called “Hot heads” where a young stylist cut my hair. She explained to me short hair was going to be more work for me bc of my curly hair. I still had no idea what she was talking about so after lookin at a few styles we decided on one. One that made my curly hair look like a triangle when blown out! It was not like the hair in the photo. I went home so upset, I couldn’t go to school like this. I begged and pleaded with my mother again and she let me take one day off of school. She told me its going to take a long time for this cut to grow out, so do everything you can to make this day off count and figure out what I was going to do to go back to school and make this look work for me. I went through every teen magazine I had, I found scissors and started cutting my hair like it looked in the one photo I loved. I took the product the stylist gave me and my brushes and blew dry my hair … it took awhile but I was impressed and when my mom came home she was in shock. She asked how I paid to get my hair recut and who drove me there while she was at work to get it fixed. I knew she didn’t believe me when I said I did it myself, so i brought the garbage can full of hair and showed her. She was so impressed she asked me to cut her hair and my sisters. It was then she realized my talent and encouraged me to do my friends hair and makeup for dances and just to go out on the weekends. In high school I was having a hard time with the stress of school and focusing on my future she pushed me to go to beauty school. She said even if I wanted to go to college, you never can have too many degrees in life, so I did.
I graduated high school and that summer graduated from Pittsburgh Beauty Academy with a degree in Cosmetology. I was already working at one of the newest and biggest salons in the city. I had a friend working there and ended up getting yet again another bad hairstyle and she had the owner whom she worked for fix it. Gino offered me a job that day and this year will mark 20 years I have worked for Izzazu Salon. I worked for both of the owners, they were young and were platform artist doing hair shows in New York and all over the east coast. I was there for 3 years when one of their friends Jo Blackwell, the biggest name in color education came to our salon. Im not sure if I really impressed her or just asked every single question there is about everything in her career and hair color history but she offered me a job with Loreal professional at the end of the class. I have been an educator with Loreal now since 2008. I traveled the east coast following in all 3 of these mentors foot steps bouncing to world renown salons in New York Dc Boston Florida all over sharing my passion for color and the Loreal Brand all while everyone I met inspired me and taught me just as much as I taught them. I went to Los Angeles on a girls trip to visit 2 friends that moved there. One was a hairstylist and was working for a super talented stylist, a stylist that took her backstage on concert and tv shows with the pussycat dolls and other artist to even the Louis Vuitton fashion show in Paris! I caught one glimse of this side of the world and I was sold. Not to mention the palm trees and beautiful weather. I was never one for the snow, even growing up in it. 2010 I moved to LA ready for the busy wild life on sets runway shows and tv. I was quickly thrown into hair for commercials, the MTV music awards and behind the scenes for runway shows for Balmain for example. As much as I loved styling and the set life.. I really missed hair color and a salon atmosphere. To make a name for myself I worked under a celebrity colorist. We did hair for tons of celebrities, he was even interviewed for a few of them often on Pop sugar and good Morning America to name a few. We even traveled to Dubai. It was long hours and sometimes no days off. I loved it and I learned what was then the beginning of the color trend Balayage from the best. After 3 years it was time to venture off on my own. Get behind the chair again myself, build my own clients and create my own looks. I took a job under Robert Vetica at his boutique salon which was in the SLS hotel. Robert was a set stylist and again noticed I know how to style hair. I stuck to just color and specialized to hone and perfect my skills more. I also picked back up extensions which launched my career In Pittsburgh before I left. And the rest is really history. Color and Extensions are my passion. Extensions are really about the transformation and/ or the glamour for me. You can go from a short look to long gorgeous locks in a few hours. Or a natural cute hairstyle or ponytail to a volumous look in under an hour. The transformations with hair and color is such a unique statement just as important as the clothes you wear. And as far as my favorite color technique, I don’t think Balayage will ever go out, especially in California. It can look so natural or dramatic depending on the technique and product that is used. Artist are reinventing looks with Balayage every year. You can get some inspiration from the surfers all over the coast of California. You’ll never know if it was done by a great colorist or the sun that naturally painted their hair.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My cousin was just In LA a few weeks ago and we had quiet the itinerary…. even with a few covid restrictions lol. Lets start with nature… My favorite beach is Manhattan Beach. I just look the liveliness of the beach town with all the shops and the restaurants. Malibu is also a favorite Nobu and Maestros Ocean Club are my favorite! I love sushi but I also love a good petite filet oscar style, not to mention they make the best espresso martinis in all of Los Angeles. Hiking is a must to take in the views of LA and ofcourse to see the Hollywood sign! I usually do Runyon Canyon bc that’s my neck of the woods but with my local friends there are few great ones in Malibu with a waterfall and some secret LA neighborhood walks to take in the architecture. Speaking of Hollywood and views… I obviously took her to Craigs so she could get in a few celeb sightings and watch the paparazzi in action. Craigs makes the best dirty martinis and when I use to work at a salon around the corner I use to ge a side of grilled chicken and the grilled artichoke for lunch at least twice a week … best artichoke in town.. also the best chicken parm. Such a classic. I love Cecconis but ended up taking her to Harriets for a view. They had a Dj and the food was delish.. it was prob the closest to a nightclub feel as you could get with the social distancing and rules in place right now. The Venice Canals are a cute hidden secret. And she is a dancer so I reached out to a few of my clients to get her into some dance classes that are all over social media right now. I do her hair so she obviously visited the salon for her baby pink baby light touch up. But she was only here 4 or 5 days. There is so much to do in California, I love to get out of town and have a relaxing weekend in Palm Springs or checkout some of my favorite wineries in Santa barbara too. The pandemic really brought to light the things that were important to me last year. The places I missed, the people I love and really just how important a work life balance is to me. Living in LA pre- pandemic it was so easy to get caught in the rat race, the work hustle and the grind. I love my job so sometimes I over extend myself and miss out on things I love. I really am going to make my work life balance a priority in the years to come. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow that’s a hard one, its gonna be a long list. I truly believe you are who you surround yourself with. I am very proud and humbled by the super impactful group I have in my life. I will start my dedication off with my parents.
My mom for raising me and showing me everyday that women are just as smart and have just as much room in the work place as men do. For hearing my dreams and the next day buying me a full set of luggage telling me to follow my dreams and encouraging me to move across the country, all the while she will miss me, she will always be proud every step of the way and she has been.
My father who made me face my fears as a young teenage girl in high school afraid of walking to a door to read a list of 14 girls that were chosen out of 50 to be on a competitive cheerleading squad ( which at the time, I guess was my first dream). He told me “Failure is not something to be feared, the only failure would be to not doing something in fear of the unknown.” He said ” You will miss out on many things in life if you let fear stand in your way and that was not a life to be had.” He stood back and watched me and told me he would be there ready to share my victory or hold my hand and be a shoulder to cry on if needed. I made the squad and when he tells that story today, he laughs so sweetly and is so excited to add what a relief it was when I turned around with a huge smile and how much adrenaline he felt at the same time not knowing the next moment as well. Only a few years later he would have a tough conversation with me and my mother, who so badly wanted me to go to college… Explaining how talented I was and going to a job everyday that you love is like never working a day in your life and that is a success all in its own.
My brother Ron, who is only 18 months older than me and whom I can telepathically connect with all the way across country. Who begged me to stop following him when we were younger and to go play with “barbies”. Who is one of the most insanely intelligent humans I have ever met and has so many talents. He was the first artist I ever knew in life…. from drawing and sketching in our childhood, to painting and creating any chance you could get as we grew older. Who can listen to a song and just start playing it on any guitar handed to him, who tried to teach me how to play the drums and was so good I gave up shortly after because you not only put me to shame but I just accepted music was your thing and not mine. You have had a really hard life in your 20s but showed me and the world what resilience looks like. You are the definition of kindness and encouragement and you show that to everyone who meets you. You deserve the world. Thanks for just always being you and reminding me that I am always enough just the way I am.
My dear husband that we have been together since what feels like we were children ( 21 and 22) for encouraging me to take all the interviews and being my own personal hype man. For moving to LA with me to follow my dreams even though you tried to sell me multiple times on New York City. Im very proud of you. Your hustle has paid off and its so cool to have followed our dreams together. What a journey is has been. And look at you living that New York dream too, bicoastal looks good on you <3
My OG LA girlfriends who we all worked crazy hours with multiple jobs for companies and brands that we thought at the time were our “dream jobs’ and still somehow made time to be wild and fun 20 year olds galavanting allover Hollywood, to some chic Hills parties and even onto some red carpet events. To now owning their own PR/ marketing agencies, design and consulting agency, casting companies, taking over family business’ and taking them international, reality tv shows, mommies and therapist. Everyday since Ive met everyone of you, you have pushed me harder and shown me the strength in a womans hustle, encouraged me to keep leveling up and stay grounded and no dream is ever unobtainable.
My coworkers who are so incredibly creative, they inspire me everyday. Thank you for producing killer work. I feed off of your talent and your energy and your all forever encouraging me to try new things. Jenn who has been my rock over the past 7 years, we work next to each other and share clients together, share wild stories about assisting in Beverly Hills salons together. She knows me probably more than I know myself. She has always believed in me in my career and every aspect in life. You the real MVP girl and I cant wait to see you as a mommy!! Emilio and Gino for taking a chance on a wild 16 year old girl, allowing me to take a night off to just go rollerblade in the park with my friends and be a teenager, while showing me what hard work and success looks like in this industry. Robert Vetica who called me back after reading my resume not because of where I worked or what celebrities I have worked with but because I had a (412) area code telephone number and giving a Pittsburgh girl a shot at her dreams.
And last but not least my clients… that not only trust me with their hair but share their stories with me everyday. Most who have become more than a client but a friend and even family. I am so grateful to have a career that I get to mentally and physically work with people. A career that is said to have “touched lives” but in reality you all have touched mine more than I can put into words.
Ok and my fur babies, Dolce and V, for the endless cuddles after long and tiring work days and everyday.