Home Interviews Exclusive Interview With The Celebrity Hairstylist Dwayne Ross
Exclusive Interview With The Celebrity Hairstylist Dwayne Ross PDF Print E-mail
Written by Patricia Turnier   
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 19:35

Alvin “Dwayne” Ross is known in the U.S. and internationally as an expert cosmetologist. During his 18 years as a stylist, his passion for hair color has fueled him to accomplish many notable goals.  In September 2000, Dwayne’s reputation attained national status when the American Board of Certified Hair colorists appointed him a “Master Haircolorist”.  To achieve this goal, one must be a licensed hairstylist and pass an extensive exam that covers chemistry, physiology and psychological aspects of hair color. While maintaining his clientele in both Manhattan and Los Angeles, Dwayne took on the challenge of teaching hair color in New York City. He instructed the core basics of the science of hair color, color correction, troubleshooting, and the advance techniques to licensed professionals all over the country.

Dwayne’s commitment to mastering the art of hair color reached its height in March 2001 when the Los Angeles County Cosmetology Apprenticeship Council named him “Master Cosmetology Trainer” which means he is qualified to privately teach students to become hairstylists in the state of California. These students benefit from working side by side with a “Master Trainer”, receiving personalized attention as well as being introduced to a unique and exciting approach to the craft of cosmetology.

This new approach to teaching is in tune with Dwayne’s philosophy of giving back to the community. He enjoys spending his time working with others by lending his talents to several charity events and causes such as celebrity fashion shows and mentoring youth. As a mentor, Dwayne’s enthusiasm inspires those around him to set high standards of excellence.

 In May 2006, Dwayne Ross opened his own salon “Verve Lounge Hair Salon” in Beverly Hills. Team work is an integral part of this salon’s ethos and success.  It is also important to mention that Ross’ business has a social aspect.  For instance, in the past the Salon raised money for cancer.  Mr.  Ross currently works with celebrities and fashion models in the film and television industries. He has created amazing hair styles for prominent people, such as Heather Locklear, Kate Beckinsale and Jennifer Lopez.  He recently joined the prestigious Cloutier Agency.  Also, lately he was recently featured in the March 2011 issue of the well-known Sophisticate’s Hairstyle Guide Magazine.  Mr.  Ross has an easy but confident approach and demeanour which have ensured a faithful clientele in the entertainment industry. We spoke to Mr.  Ross the 7th of February 2011.

Patricia Turnier talks to celebrity hairstylist Dwayne Ross:

P.T.  Growing up, who inspired you to become a hairstylist and did you have a mentor?

D.R. I would have to say my father inspired me. He was not a hairstylist, but working with people’s hair was the only thing we did together and I would do anything he did.  I had no clear mentors until I moved to L.A. in 1991 and took an assistant job at a salon.  My first boss, a hairstylist named Eric, would be my first mentor.  The clientele enjoyed the way how their hair turned out and appreciated the advice I gave them. With time, I realized that hairstyling was really my thing.

So to sum up, when I was a child it was not a dream of mine to become a hairdresser, I didn’t have a natural leaning toward it at the time. Later, I realized that I used to love going to the salon. I also enjoy being around people, so working in a social setting is perfect for me.

P.T.  When was it clear to you that you were gifted and destined to become a hairstylist and especially a hair colorist? 

D.R. It has never been clear to me. I just enjoyed doing it. I like to quote Michael Jordan when asked this question. "Parents always ask me how I can help my son improve his game. My answer is always the same; just let them love the game."

P.T.  When you made your career choice, did you have any apprehension at the beginning since the hairstylists domain is considered a female one?

D.R.  No.  I never felt that I had to explain myself and I hope that in the 21st century we can break barriers in any field in terms of gender.  In my book, things do not have to be so limited.  Also, I never understood why more straight men never got into hair. You get to be around hot women all day and they pay you for it [Laughs].

P.T.  You carefully chose the name of your salon.  Can you share with us the meaning of Verge Lounge Hair Salon?

D.R. Well, Verve means 'energy, enthusiasm or spirit, especially in the expression of artistic ideas'.  The word verve applies to a place for established celebrity artists in the beauty industry to come together and work privately in their rooms throughout the salon, while sharing their artistic ideas with one another.  I put Lounge on the end because that was the feel and look of the salon.  As I have grown, I became a little more aware of the profoundness of the word, "enthusiasm".  So, Lounge represents the feel of the salon when you experience it.  The dim lighting, the chocolate brown Shag carpet, wood floors, fireplace and leather home furnishings make Verve Lounge a salon which sets it apart in Beverly Hills.

P.T.  Can you share with us your favorite hairstyle project (in the film or television industry) in which you were involved? Also, tell us why.

D.R. That would have to be working on the set of the TV show "Frasier". That was one great family (of people) to work with, and they were a well oiled machine. Everything just flowed effortlessly out of every department. This seldom happens in the TV and film industries. It is extremely rare.  It was awesome to experience this.

P.T.  I love to ask this specific question to celebrity hairstylists: Do you think that creating a category in the Oscars for the best hairstylist in the top movies could be a good idea and a great way to garner more recognition?

D.R. Well, there are important awards for hairstylists which are not televised, to save time. However, the Oscars would get more recognition, especially worldwide.  Hairstyling is as important as make-up and costumes, so it would be great to create this new category.

P.T.  There are the elderly who cannot go outside to get their hair done.  Because of ageism, some among them even internalized that at a certain age they no longer need to pay attention to their hairstyling. 

P.T.  Does a home-service need more development in your field especially for the elderly who have a loss of autonomy?

D.R. Yes, but we as a species need to re-evaluate our perception of the elderly in every aspect.  The society we live in, doesn’t recognize the inner and outer beauty of the elderly, especially women. The way we treat and view aging is completely wrong. Even if some of them feel that they don't need their hair done, just to visit and sit in silence with them would be a great spiritual experience.  We can also have conversations with them and learn from their experiences or wisdom.

P.T.  This is a thorough answer!

P.T.  What future projects can you share with us regarding your hairstyling  career?

D.R. Presently, I am working on an exciting new tool. I am in the process of developing a new hair brush for consumers which will be launched.  Stay tuned.

P.T.  So, you won’t say more and you are going to keep us in suspense!

D.R.  [Laughs] Definitely!

P.T.  Do you think that it takes a godfather or a godmother to climb up the ladder to become a celebrity hairstylist?

D.R. No, I don’t think that it is imperative.  For instance, Oprah's Hairstylist, Andre Walker, just approached her and said he could do a better job. Over two decades later and about 5 Emmys for best hair, they are still together.  That being said, I think it is still easier being grandfathered/grandmothered in.  To move up the ladder in my field, I really think that it is more a question of doing high quality work.  The most important thing is to do an excellent job.  Again, about Andre Walker, when he approached Oprah she knew of his reputation.  With this work ethic, you build a name and a strong clientele.  I could add that to evolve and grow in my realm, hairstylists have to be hungry for innovation and education.  It is important to constantly find the best products for the clientele which will improve the health of the hair and scalp.  Also, you have to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that others are convinced do not exist.  You need a framework and a dream.  You have to listen to your heart and do what makes you happy.  It is important to have the drive, the will and the diligence to make it.  I also strongly believe that with discipline it is possible to achieve anything.

P.T.  What are the snares and pitfalls to avoid as an entrepreneur?

D.R.  Kathy Ireland told me: "Never go into business with your friends and get everything in writing".  I think this motto says everything.  Ireland’s company does over a billion dollars annually and she applies the aforesaid rule all the time.

P.T.  What advice do you have for people who want to follow in your footsteps?

D.R.  You have to be consistent and on time.  I believe that my realm is about creating luxury, desirable hair.  There is no place for mediocrity.  You have to be willing to develop throughout your career.  Personally, I adapt my style as I mature.  As a hairstylist, I want to make a difference among my clientele.  It is important to not surrender in pursuing your goals or get discouraged with the first obstacles. Make whatever you do an end in itself and not a means to an end. In other words, give your full attention to what you are doing in this moment; not on what is down the road. You get there by being present. You can become frustrated by wanting to be where you are not. You have to be organized and focused. You have to adapt to the needs of the clientele and listen to their feedback, which is the basis of your success. Offering  superior customer satisfaction is major.  I always give attention to details.  It is important to improve yourself constantly because this is how you perfect your professionalism. You have to be aware and keep up with the new trends.  It helps to bring originality and innovation to your work because it is a great way to set yourself apart from others in the field.  This will keep the customers interested. Usually, the clientele appreciates when you give advice which respects their personality.  In other words, you have to analyze your client and see if a conservative, artistic, simple or flamboyant hairstyle fits his character.  In other words, you can give advice according to your client’s personality and wishes.  I will never give hairstyle advice which will not be in my client’s interest.  However, at the end it is up to the client to make his/her final decision.  It is important also to be on time and consistent.

I can also add that it helps when you get encouragement from people close to you.  So, try as much as possible to surround yourself with positive people to go forward in your career and in life.  Kanye West once said:  “I can’t stress enough the importance of surrounding yourself with energy that supports your goals.”  I strongly believe that.  If the people around you are not elevating you, are not pushing you to attain higher heights, it is better to keep your distance from them.

P.T.  Can you share with us the work that you are doing as a mentor for the youth?

D.R. Right now, I've taken a break from mentoring hairstylists and am giving space to my 15 months old twin boys. Or I should say, I'm taking a break to be mentored by them. That's more accurate.

P.T.  To finish, what message do you have for our readers, especially the young ones?

D.R.  Whatever you are doing, whether it is cleaning your room or working on what you believe to be your main goal in life, do it with a feeling of acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm. This is very important. You may not be able to always like what you have to do in life, but you can accept it at the very least. If you are not emotionally in one or more of these three areas while doing or not doing something, you are making things more difficult for yourself. Your thoughts may tell you that you cannot accept something because if you do, you will be stuck there. That's not true.  In fact, if you don't accept it you won’t be stuck there. Let me explain:

If you go to a shopping mall that you have never been to and want to find a certain store, you can look at the directory to find the store. But before you start walking to the area you want to go, you look again on the directory to see where you are at the moment so you will know the way. That "looking" on the directory at where you are now is "accepting" where you are and what you have to do now. Are you stuck there by accepting it? No. You're now free to walk in the correct direction only after accepting where you are. Don't let your negative thoughts trip you up. I have a saying. "With thoughts like mine, I don't need any enemies."  If you can do things with enjoyment or enthusiasm, you'll really be flying towards your goals.  So, it is important to enjoy the present and move towards your future objectives.  Always let that direct you and believe in your dreams.  Also, always learn from the “best” whatever your occupation.  The word “mediocrity” is not part of my vocabulary.  I am a perfectionist.  I am always looking for a way to surpass myself.  As a hairstylist, I want to make a difference among my clientele.  Behind talent in any field, there is always years of effort.  For instance, Tiger Woods started golf when he was about 3 years-old.  Success does not happen overnight.  This is what people need to understand, especially the youth.

My final words are:  “Reach for the moon, and if you happen to miss it, you’ll be among the stars, and that’s not a bad place to be!”

P.T.  Thanks Mr.  Ross for this nice interview.  Our readers, including myself will know where to get our hair done when we’re in L.A.!


Address of Verve Lounge Hair Salon
8912 W.  Olympic Blvd.
Beverly Hills, Ca, 90211 
Tel.:  (310) 657-8445
E-mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Official Web site:  http://www.vervelounge.com

The following are some of the celebrities whose hair Mr.  Ross has done:

Ashlee Simpson      
Jennifer Lopez  (The Source Awards)
Lara Flynn Boyle     
Peri Gilpin (Frasier, The Craig Kilborn Show, The Ellen Show, VH1 I Love the 90’s, VH1 I Love the 70’s, VH 1 When I Was A Girl, Good Day L.A., SAG Awards,
Calista Flockhart        
Leonor Varela    
Rod Stewart
Carmen Electra
Jessica Simpson (Mad TV, E! Fashion Emergency, The Learning Channel, Oscar Makeover)   
Marla Sokoloff    
Sela Ward
Christina Applegate    
Kate Beckinsale    
Minnie Driver    
Heather Locklear (The Source Awards, The Golden Globe Awards)
Kathy Ireland (The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Craig Kilborn Show, Hollywood Squares, Wayne Brady, Ryan Seacrest, Soap Talk, Today Show)   
Nancy O’Dell (Miss U.S.A., Oscars 2004, Golden Globes 2004, Joey, Extreme Makeover, E! Fashion Emergency, Access Hollywood)   
Marley Shelton    
Richard Tyler
Issac Mizrahi