We had the good fortune of connecting with Jordana Lorraine and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jordana, how do you think about risk?
I don’t think of myself as a risk-taker. I’ve even described myself as “risk-averse”. But when I describe some of my decisions to other people, they tend to disagree. I guess this means that I am a measured risk-taker. I think things through, evaluate options, weigh risks and benefits, and look at the big picture. Then I make a decision, and dive in.
When I moved clear across the country for a trade school, some people considered that very adventurous. But people do it all the time for college, so why not? This was the school I’d decided would best prepare me for the career path I wanted to pursue. If you grew up in a suburban west coast city, and got into a great pre-med program in NYC, you’d go, right? Well, I did the just that (in reverse). From a modest-sized city in New Hampshire, I researched Cosmetology programs across North America (and briefly overseas, but found the license transfer can be tricky). I set my sights on Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, CA. I’d never heard of Santa Monica, except Santa Monica Blvd. in the Sheryl Crow song. Truthfully, I’d never been west of Philadelphia! But again, that was where I wanted to study; I knew their reputation for quality, crafted work and detailed, personalized instruction. I had no experience, no style or fashion background, nothing. But I’d always struggled with my hair, and always enjoyed helping friends with theirs. I had no idea what I was in for! Culture shock on multiple levels. But I loved it! I knew within a few months that I would stay here in Los Angeles, despite having no family or friends here, other than my new classmates. That first risk came with the safety net of knowing I could go back to my hometown, or a city closer to it, but I was ready to ditch that net and go for it.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked in different types of salons, from mall to beach to elegant to trendy, and for the past 7+ years I’ve been very happy caring for my clients’ hair in an intimate private suite setting in beautiful Marina Del Rey. Each of those moves came with risk, change, and growth. Learning new skills, training on new technology and treatments, and pursuing an evolving clientele involves some risk, and has always been rewarding as well. So I guess maybe I am a risk-taker after all!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m very passionate about helping people get their healthiest and most beautiful hair ever. While it may sound superficial, it’s a massive part of how we look and feel. Having healthy, beautiful hair saves time and frustration, and helps us feel confident. Not to mention how great it feels for me to be able to help people look and feel their best! Whether it’s improving the condition of their hair, helping them manage challenges with texture or style, changing the color, finding the best shape for them, or adding more length and/or volume, it can really change someone’s self-image and how they present themselves. I think the emotion behind it is evident, and my clients can tell how much I love helping them. I also truly enjoy sharing my knowledge and passion newer stylists, and working one-on-one with an Assistant/Junior Stylist is a fantastic opportunity for us both. While working in different salons, I’ve sometimes encountered challenges or limits that prevented me from giving my clients all they deserve. Making the move to a salon with private suites has allowed me to create a comfortable environment for my clients to relax, and the freedom to provide the services and use the products I feel are best for them. I want people to know that if they place their hair in my hands, it will be loved and cared for as if it were my own. And in a way, I do affectionately think of my clients’ hair as partly my own.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Los Angeles so much, and being from another part of the country, it’s always fun to show visiting family or friends around town. I actually live in Culver City, so I’ll start there. Historic Downtown Culver City and the Culver Hotel, Sony Studios (where I actually got married!), and the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook are must-sees. Watching the sun set and the glow to the north and east, is spectacular. We would go to the Mar Vista Farmers Market on Sunday, then have brunch at Metro Cafe or Cafe Laurent. There are so many day trips that it would be tough to choose, all with great cycling, shopping, and sights. Definitely hit up a museum or two; either of the Gettys, Peterson Auto Museum, or the new Academy Museum for a truly “L.A.” experience. For nightlife, catch some live music, eat outdoors, grab a few drinks; all of this can be done right in the heart of Culver City as well!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m happy to say that I’ve learned from and worked with countless creative, supportive professionals, educators. and companies throughout my career. I’ll start with my family, for encouraging me to broaden my search and find the best school for me, even if it was outside our region, Then my amazing instructors at Vidal Sassoon Academy, some of whom I’m still connected to and still learning from and continue to be inspired by. Lucie Doughty is the standout on inspiration! After teaching me the basics of colour (with a u because she’s British), she moved into administration at the school, and from there into editorial work, and other education and branding. I recently saw on Instagram that she’d taken a floral design course, and created stunning avant-garde looks by intertwining her arts. Once I started working in salons, I met new educators and stylists who inspired me and lifted me up. The standout is Marty Buerkle, whose skills and spirit continue to inspire me, as even many years into our friendship, most of our conversations do turn to business at some point. He was also the first stylist I knew who took the leap to working in a private suite, well ahead of the explosive growth of the suite salon model (now the fastest-growing type of salon). Then there is Mauricio Ribeiro, the stylist who created Brazilian Blowout. I met him when I booked in to have the service done with him. I was excited to go straight to the source to learn from him as well. He was kind, informative, and supportive, even inviting me back to assist him on a service so I could learn from being on both sides of the experience with him. This service has become my specialty, and a huge part of my business, ever since! I’d also like to shout out to Jeff Cardarella, who is the Owner and Founder of Aerovex Systems. He and his company have been instrumental in helping salon staff and clients safe with specialized air filtration systems developed for use with salon chemicals. He’s a clean air hero! When the French highlighting technique called balayage had a massive resurgence, I took many classes and workshops to hone the skills required. One artist and educator stood out to me: Audrey Inskeep. She does beautiful work, teaches with patience and authenticity, and owns her own salon; she’s one busy woman! We too have become friends and even done each other’s hair one time. To wrap it up, there’s one stylist I’ve known since the very beginning, Heather Joy. We met while studying at Sassoon, and she recommended me for an assisting position where she was working when I graduated. We’ve taken different paths in life, but share many of the same outlooks on our profession. We’ve attended numerous classes and industry events together, and for the past several years have also been each others’ hairstylists. It’s a great community to be part of!