We had the good fortune of connecting with montana tsai and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi montana, how do you think about risk?
I’ve had a long relationship with risk. It used to be the most natural thing to me as a kid. I would be the first one to jump off the jungle gym, run up on stage to take the limelight. This innate urge to dive head first into situations would serve me well for the first couple decades of my life. I acted and modeled from the age of 3 to 15, starring in national print campaigns and guest starred on hit TV shows. I sang the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium when I was 15 in front of thousands of people. As I got older, I became more conscious about what kinds of risks I wanted to put myself in and thought that being risky was immature. I thought that I needed to grow up. Which brings me to the first 8 years of my career.

I was raised by immigrant parents who always instilled the value of hard work and building yourself from the ground up. That’s what my father did with his business that he owned and sold after 40+ years. As I started my career I thought, “okay now is the time to take a step back and just absorb and learn and when you’re ready, someone will let you know!” Man, was I so wrong in having that mentality. While I was happy learning and putting in the time, I saw my peers who were more assertive than I, moving up the ladder and at a faster rate.  I then realized that growth comes with taking leaps and running up on stages, not hanging back waiting for someone to tell you that you can. I continued to work hard and slowly grow for 8 years until I had a realization – I needed to take a risk. . So without telling my family and just a few friends, I opened my own business, Montana Tsai Hair. I left the safety of a salon to try and build things up on my own. It has been the best decision of my decade long career. Once I put myself in the driver seat, I felt freedom and the same type of energy I felt as a kid. I think taking risks really means that you are taking control of your own narrative. You never know what can come of risks but what won’t come of not taking them rings so much louder. Every time I’ve decided to take a risk whether the outcome positive or negative, I have never regretted the experience I got from it. I learned from each experience, it’s part of me. When I look back on my life, I want to have one hell of a story to tell.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started Montana Tsai Hair in Los Angeles, California with 8 years of experience and with the goal of building a space where I can express and push my creativity, but also one where I can create relationships and community.

One thing that I value and believe is essential to someone’s success in any field is your ability to be adaptable and always open to learning. I continue to learn in every aspect of the services I offer to expand my repertoire and work with all types of hair. My clients know that I have their best interest in mind and will always try to give them what they want without compromising the integrity of their hair. I believe educating your clients and open communication builds long-lasting relationships.

What sets me apart from others is my ability to connect and provide what my clients are looking for while helping create a style that is sustainable for them and the environment. Since the beginning, I’ve always worked with clean and environmentally conscious brands such as Aveda, R&Co, Number4, Sacha Juan and Kevin Murphy that promote environmentally safe practices. I love the transition that’s happening in the industry to more clean and sustainable products and I’m always on the lookout for new brands in that space.

On this journey, I’ve been lucky to build a beautiful network of like-minded, talented, creative, passionate peers, and clients. It’s given me the ability to connect with more clients in the salon and expand outside to collaborate with artists and brands on photoshoots and editorials.

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?
I have the privilege of working all across town from Pasadena to the West side. Growing up in east Los Angeles gave me access to the best asian foods. Borneo Kalamantan for East Asian noodles and Capitol Seafood for dimsum are a few of my favs. I have a long list of newer restaurants that I am working my way through. Some tried and true ones are Bavel, Ysabel, Angelini Osteria. and the Rose in Venice. I also love a good coffee shop. I rent a chair at Los Angeles Academy – Color Etiquette and Etiquette Coffee there run by Steve, Mikey and Lou is such a good time. The vibes are there and their breakfast burrito is to die for. Other faves are Go Get Em Tiger, Coffee MCO in Koreatown and this cute place in Pasadena called Republik Coffee.

I love being inspired by art and culture so I would definitely like to take a friend to see something interesting. I just bought tickets to the Banksy popup and I can’t wait to check it out!

Lastly, to work off all the food we’d be eating I would take us to a climbing gym. I started bouldering 3 years ago and it’s an activity I would recommend to anyone. You can do it by yourself or with friends and the best part is you’ll always meet someone new. I find it’s perfect for me who loves a good challenge and instant gratification. There’s no better feeling than when you are hyper aware of your body and mind working together to accomplish something.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate this shoutout to my family. My baba and mama, Jim and Lisa and big sister Monterey. They are my biggest support systems and the first ones to put me in check. Though their love, encouragement and honesty I am able to take giant leaps of faith.

Website: www.montanatsai.com

Instagram: @montanatsaihair

Yelp: Montana Tsai

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