Hair industry giant Tabatha Coffey made note of Richie’s superior talents and abilities during the filming of an episode of the Bravo Television hit series, “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” when she stated “Richie was the obvious leader – he is talented and experienced and the staff respected him. He was the go to guy, and I knew he could lead the team, educate and guide the stylists…”. “Now with the NAHA nomination and the awards show in July,” says Roman “I couldn’t be more motivated or inspired!”
In forefront of the Textured Hair movement for over a decade, Richie Roman’s nomination in the Texture category serves as an exclamation point to his list of accomplishments. Keeping him on the edge of style and on top of this constantly evolving industry, Richie Roman’s magazine and print work along with his loyal clientele provide him with the platforms to express his passion, enthusiasm, skill and creativity in the beauty profession.
“I have always had a passion for hair in general” says Roman, “my textured clients, however, steal my heart. Texture in the form of curls, waves and kinks are making a huge stand in the commercial and print markets and I think its time for my peers to get the education and skill to re-create these styles on their clients effortlessly as well as to educate the client on the diversity and magic of Textured hair.”
How did you get started?
I’ve always been a hairstylist. My family also knew I would be a hairstylist. I remember doing my mother and her 5 sister’s hair as a kid. Im talking cuts, color, roller sets..REAL HAIR and I was like 6,7ish.
I loved it cause I got to stay in the kitchen with the ladies where there was plenty of fun conversation and dirty stories and good Puerto Rican food.
I went to beauty school in Georgia. It was a fun little school called Fayette Beauty Academy in Fayetteville, Georgia. Miss Barbara and Mr. Bill owned and ran the school. Miss Barbara taught me how to tease hair like nobody’s business. I couldn’t wait to go to school everyday. I was that eager beaver student that wanted to try everything first. I loved it!
What has been the most amazing opportunity you have had in this industry so far?
Just being in this industry is amazing in itself. If I have to pinpoint it to one particular moment though, seeing my name and work in Celebrity Hairstyles Magazine was a huge highlight for me.
I also had the pleasure of filming with Tabatha Coffey on Tabatha’s Salon Takeover Season 1. She came in ready to rip off some heads. She wanted to see the best we had to offer. When she approached me, I laid all of my cards out on the table and waited to see her response.
To have such positive feedback and compliments coming from her on everything I did from my consultation communication, foil patterns, my cuts and blow-outs and especially my curly work was rewarding. Being promoted by her during filming was the icing on the cake!
That show airs over and over around the world and I know other stylist that have been on the show that just want to run away from it. My experience was so fantastic that I LOVE it every time it airs!
A lot of people don’t know that my episode was the network’s pilot as well as it airing 6th in the season. It was fun because they hadn’t really locked down the TST formula yet and everyone involved was extremely giddy about being involved with the project.
Have you ever had an “OMG, what the hell am I doing here?!” moment? Share.
My A-HA moment came about 5 years into my career. I went to work in huge corporate salons right out of Cosmetology School. I learned a great foundation and great work ethic at these salons.
However, I was getting quiet frustrated with being in departmentalized salons. You were either a cutter or colorist. Sorry, but I’m a control freak and I want to see my project from the minute you walk in the door until you walk out. I was watching a cutter destroy a beautiful head of curls one day and it hit me…I didn’t have to stay in this type of salon.
It’s a great gig for some people and I’m grateful for my experience there. Branching out from the Corporate salon structure was the best move I could have made for my creativity. It reignited my passion and allowed me to follow my gut and instinct on which direction to take my career in. Now being a part of the NAHA family kind of winks at me that I made the right decision.
What about NAHA has been most exciting, so far?
Watching the nominations, and how the whole thing played out this year was an amazing feeling for me. I was with my husband and daughter at home hitting the refresh button every 30 seconds.
I am very competitive and always want to win. So you can imagine how I reacted when my name came up on the screen. I couldn’t contain it! It was as so overwhelming!
I sat there with my mouth open, eyes waling up with tears, while Mark ran through the entire house and Tallulah stood there looking confused not knowing whether to scream with joy with us or cry and run. She chose to cry and run! It was a very special moment for me with my little family.
What was your concept for texture? Have you entered before?
I was watching the Japan earthquake coverage and the Fukushima power plant meltdown and started wondering what would happen to the people of this region if the radiation kept leaking and polluted their food and water supply.
Then the stylist in me started wondering how it would change their beautiful shiny silky hair that we always think of when we imagine women from this area. I thought the radiation would kind of fry it from the ends up. Dull the shine and make it wispy looking on the ends. I wanted a strong distinct look.
Being that I consider myself a combination of MacGyver and Alton Brown of the hair world, I wanted the challenge of my models to have very long silky hair. I knew I couldn’t just roll it or krimp it or even backcomb it to get the texture I wanted….Not for NAHA. I brainstormed and ended up creating rollers out of pieces of torn cardboard that I wrapped the hair around and then flat-ironed over them to get the different textures.
I have entered NAHA in the past before my daughter was born. She was shockingly born 14 weeks early. Since her pre-mature birth we focused on her health and took some time off from all extra commitments. Today, with her healthy and strong, I decided it was time to enter again. We shot the collection in one very long, restless, and crazy day! However, I knew we had magic from the minute we started!
Who are your Hair Hero’s?
Of all the questions, I thought about this one the longest. I went through my mental rolodex of the elite in the hair industry, like the late great Vidal Sassoon, Orlando Pita, or Tabatha Coffey. They’re all great… but I have to be honest. My hair idols are not hair stylist.
They are three women that, as a child, kept me mesmerized and daydreaming about hair for countless hours. First off, Cheryl Song! AKA the Asian Soul Train Dancer with the super long hair. Secondly, the Queen of big curly hair, Miss Diana Ross! Last but not least, my very 1st client ever, Barbie!
These three girls shaped my hair world. I feel like I know them and their style personally. To this day, I imagine them in my head sometimes helping me decide what I’m doing… kind of like my hair board of trustees.
Words to live by…
I don’t want to be the boss, I just want to be the best!!!
On a perfect day I spend it….. and eating……
An absolute perfect day for me would be a day where I power my phone off, stay in my PJs all day watching the Golden Girls while my daughter Tallulah circles around me and Mark is preparing authentic Puerto Rican food for dinner.
The problem with the perfect day for a Gemini like me is that my brain never relaxes. I keep a note book and pen next to me to write down all of the ideas that come to mind because it’s always working. My notebook is full of my chicken scratch drawings and make up and lighting notes. I guess the idea of what a perfect day is always changing as well.
What do people find most surprising about you?
Most people find it surprising that I have a twin brother. While our names are similar Richie & Ricky, we are completely opposite. He has no clue on how to style his own hair, his clothes or anything for that matter …as I know nothing about his passion, being the current S.B.A. President at Dartmouth School of Law.
We couldn’t be any more different or anymore alike at the same time. We share the competitive drive and the desire to win. He is the best womb-mate I could have asked for!
What is your next BIG goal?
My next big goal is to focus on building a celebrity clientele. I would love to work with musicians and actors. Like a lot of people, I’m a pop culture victim! I plan to do more editorial work. I love fashion. I love fashion magazines. I get a lot of inspiration from magazines. I also dream about winning a NAHA!!!!!!!!!! I’d also like another baby, but I may have to convince my husband on that one!
Balance, how do you maintain yours?
Eating a lot whole grain. Just kidding. I have a wonderful husband of 18 years that handles a lot of the “real” stuff, so that I can focus on the hair stuff. He stays at home with our daughter and does the most amazing job ever. We have music constantly playing in the house and we are a very creative trio. That supportive home foundation mixed with some very loyal clients do the trick. When I work, I work hard, like 15 hour days. When I’m off, I wanna be off hard!
What is one of your #hairstylistproblems?
Well, one of my biggest hair stylist problems is getting new curly clients to accept their natural hair texture and to get them to build a better relationship with their curls. I also hate cleaning up after stylist that don’t understand textured hair.
IT IS NOT THE SAME !!! STOP CUTTING IT THE SAME !!!
Curly and textured hair has a mind of its own. You have to follow new rules and different techniques for them to look their best. Unlike what a lot of stylists think, curly hair is fragile hair and needs a different approach than what we were taught in beauty school. In general, the salon industry is not very embracing to the curly hair client.
I knew I was a Hair Nerd when….
I would give girls in the 1st grade my lunch ticket if they would let me braid their hair while they ate. I was always the boy on the playground combing someone’s hair.
In the 3rd grade I convinced the drill team girls to come over to my house the night before their competition to get their hair rolled. “Bring your sponge rollers and satin scarf” was the note I passed out to them to tell them to come over. I didn’t even ask them. I made them think the school told me to do this and all 15 of them showed up. HA!
Tell us about your Hair Husband.
As for my #HairHusband, his name is Mark and he is/was a hair stylist. He is currently taking some time off to raise our daughter Tallulah. Our surrogate delivered the baby 14 weeks early and Tallulah was born at 1lb. 10 inches. She has had a long road to get to where she is today!
Mark staying home with her is a huge part of the miraculous recovery shes had. Mark and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary on June 20th. We’ve been together since he was 18 and I was 22.
We worked side by side for almost 10 years before our daughter was born. He and I are both Gemini’s which explains our non-stop chatter. He is the best friend I could ask for! Even my gay twin brother wants to find, as he calls it, his very own “Mark”.
How do you use your talents to make a difference?
I would love to say that I do a lot of charity work or something amazingly giving like that, but I haven’t had the time lately.
I’d like to think I make a difference every day while at the bank or in the grocery store and I see a woman with curly hair that I know needs some love. I somehow strike up a conversation about hair and by the end of the conversation they are taking notes.
Telling me they have never been told anything like what they’re hearing. Or a mother with straight hair and a child with curly hair at the coffee house, and the child’s hair looks like a desperate brillo pad. Again, by the time we’re done talking they are just so thankful and I feel like I did my job.
What 3 things can’t you live without?
1. Deva Curl Products
2. Moroccon Oil
3. A good mat to stand on. Gotta take care of that back!!!
Which classes/ techniques have blown your mind ?
Let me say that it takes a lot to blow my mind because when it comes to hair I am kind of schizophrenic and all over the place but the Deva Curl concepts and products blow me and my clients away.
Their products and their education and passion for curls re-enforced what I was already doing in working with naturally curly clients that want to like their curls and wear their hair curly. The products support the cuts and curly girls fall in love.
Being a curly hair specialist, I hear horror stories every day from my clients about how their curly hair had been butchered in the past.. I love knowing that I have the tools of the Deva Curl products, education and talent to kill it every time one of my “Curlfriend’s” walk through the door!!!!!
Top 3 Stylists you would love to work with:
1. Orlando Pita-His runway looks always inspire me.
2. Ted Gibson- His clients would jump off of a bridge for him.
3. Lorraine Massey- Her passion for curls is contagious!