Celebrity hairdresser David Babaii saw more than a vision of the spectacular city of Paris when he stood at the top of the world famous Eiffel Tower, some years back, with his lifelong muse and mentor, his beloved mother.
Visiting Europe with his family, David experienced an AHA moment when he realized his highly successful but extremely stressful career in the International Hotel And Resort business left him feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. It just wasn't the way he wanted to live the rest of his life.
As he explained to me, during our recent hour long phone chat, "although he had graduated with honors and secured prestigious hotel and management positions, there was little joy that filled his heart in the industry."
Fearing he "would disappoint" his successful "hairdresser mother", he tentatively broached the subject of abandoning his current high flying career to "follow his true passion, which was working in the world of hair".
David was "pleasantly surprised" when his mother, who had spent her life working for some of the most famous hair companies in the world, "was completely supportive" of his newly confessed hopes and dreams.
Even more surprising was his father's reaction. Although his dad had heavily invested in David's extended education, which was equivalent to a Masters in International Management, to prepare him for the resort and hotel world, he didn't hesitate to offer his son unconditional backing for David's journey into the world of hair.
As a result of his willingness to be fierce and pursue his true career love, the Eiffel Tower became a special symbol to David. It signified the beginning of his journey to where he is today - a very famous hairstylist to the stars.
From Paris To Los Angeles
Heading back to the city where he grew up - Los Angeles, California - David, who was actually born in London, enrolled in cosmetology school.
It was no surprise that David longed to enter the world of hair. His mother had achieved major success in the business working in executive positions for L'Oreal and Vidal Sassoon. David grew up around many famous hair gurus and was completely fascinated by his mom's career.
Following his heart, David attended the renowned Vidal Sassoon Academies, both in LA and London, which ironically was sometimes visited by Vidal who had known David when he was a child. Some years before when David's mother had assisted Vidal and held executive positions in the Sassoon Corporate family she had introduced her young son to the famous hair icon.
Wanting to remain low key and be recognized solely on his own merits, David did not call any attention to himself when Vidal would stop by the Academy. But one day Vidal recognized him and stopped to say "don't I know you?". The future hairdresser who was in awe of Vidal's incredible talent and career, was thrilled to reconnect.
While at the Sassoon Academy David worked very hard and soon found his hair groove. He confessed "although I enjoy all aspects of the hairdressing business my own special love is cutting hair".
From The Hair Cutting Zone To The Catwalks
In fact, he laughed, and explained when he is in the "cutting zone" he loses all sense of time and he becomes completely focused on the task at hand. When he's in his hair zone, some of his celeb clients kid him because he is so on-spot with his focus he loses all track of the world around him.
Even though David's first love is working with his shears, he is also fantastic at designing and creating amazing 'dos.
In fact, during his time at Sassoon he became famous, winning accolades, for his dynamic and innovative hair styles. Graduating at the top of his cosmetology class, he immediately entered the European hairdressing community.
It was a perfect next step since David felt right at home with the European culture having spent time there with his family and of course working across the pond during his short lived previous hotel management career.
Almost immediately after arriving in Europe his amazing creativity and imagination gained him notoriety for his spectacular hair designs. He found himself drafted into the world of haute couture working with famous fashion designers and magazines. David's hair subjects included a dazzling list of top International models. His hair work began regularly appearing on all the major runways and on the covers of all the leading fashion publications.
First Celebrity Client - Kate Hudson
After his hair achievements in high fashion caught fire he found himself instantly sought after for work with celebrities. His very first celebrity hair client was none other than the bubbly blonde actress Kate Hudson, daughter of the beloved star, Goldie Hawn.
Though David was overjoyed by the opportunity to work with the gorgeous Golden Globe award winner, he confided "I was so very nervous" when he first met the actress and began to work with her hair "my hands were shaking".
David was amazed, but relieved, when Kate "went out of her way to put him at ease". From that auspicious beginning "eight years ago", David and Kate formed a special bond which has grown into a long working relationship.
As we chatted about his career David could not say enough about Kate. He absolutely adores her and pointed out she constantly "inspires him" and working with her "makes him a better person".
Besides being "really easy to work with" David found Kate to be "absolutely fabulous" who goes out of her way to encourage David to unleash his renowned design creativity when it comes to her famous blonde tresses.
He laughed when he recounted how the stunning star will say "Dude, just do what you want with my hair" when he inquires about some of his latest inspirations for styling her famous tresses.
He confided "he is constantly thinking of amazing new hair designs for Kate, who has naturally wavy hair with some curl" but she just laughs, waves her hands and says "do whatever".
David confided "he wakes up at all hours of the night with new ideas for hair". At the time of our interview, David confessed "he had even just been hit by a flash of inspiration by the security cages and some tunnels at the airport for creating a fabulous new hairstyle for Kate".
In answer to my question, David confirmed his ownership of some of her stunning perfectly formed ringlet ringed hairstyles which he creates using "three pronged hot irons".
He also made a point of telling me he "doesn't do Kate's color" and sends her to an "amazing celebrity colorist in either New York or LA".
Could he do Kate's color? Although he says he doesn't do color, after talking with this vivacious, charming, warm and very funny man, I have no doubt there is very little he couldn't do with hair, including creating magnificent hues.
David's Love Of Animals
As we chatted about his skyrocketing celebrity hair career the conversation turned to Chester, his beloved dog, who had recently been under the weather and had just returned home from the hospital.
At my express request David recounted a few Chester stories which had occurred over the years. In no time he had me oohing, aahhing and laughing at the heart warming stories.
David explained how animals have played such a major part in his life since his was a very young child. His love for his own two precious dogs is legendary within his circles partially because he takes his animals with him whenever he can. Over the years they have become the darlings of many a photo shoot crew.
The respect and deep passion he feels for all animals, not just his own, is very well-known, which ultimately led to another fork in the career road for David.
Angelina Jolie's Words Of Encouragement
Encouraged by long time celebrity client, Angelina Jolie, who is often consumed with her own humanitarian causes, David made a personal commitment to take on a project which would "make a difference".
David, who has worked with Angelina for some time, recounted how much her goodness, kindness and dedication to giving back influenced him to do the same.
After talks with the beautiful Mr. & Mrs. Smith star David did some heavy soul searching and decided to get involved in a cause that was near and dear to his heart, which involved supporting the rights of animals.
David mused about how much in his life he has to be grateful for and how the time had come for him to step up and give back for all the bounties that had been given to him.
Having previously been introduced to the work of WildAid (http://www.wildaid.org) David decided to throw his efforts into totally supporting their mission. As David explained it to me, WildAid works with governments and communities of the world to reverse the devastation of our planet's wildlife. WildAid strives to end the illegal wildlife trade within our lifetimes, allowing threatened species to recover to safe levels.
WildAid's believes all people in local communities can improve their lives without destroying their environment, and humanity can survive together with wildlife for generations to come.
David pointed out some shocking facts about the loss of precious animal species in various parts of the world today. Other celebrities who support WildAid besides David and Kate currently include Jackie Chan, Minnie Driver and Ralph Fiennes.
He also explained his firsthand experience in the hair trade with hair care companies with blatant use of animal products and testing which were cruel and exploitive. He recounted how he was often "shocked by some of the practices that occurred in the name of creating beautiful hair".
Creation Of DAVID BABAII FOR WILDAID Line
David noted "I was approached several times before to be a product spokesperson but I never found a project or product line that moved me or touched my heart like the opportunity to work for WildAid." Kate also had been asked to be the spokesperson for several different product lines. Like David, she had not found a product or project which moved her to action.
After talking about WildAid with Kate, the dynamic duo decided to partner up to do something "special for the Earth and for the animals". David explained "not only is the "laid back" Kate "the true Earth Mother" she is "as generous as she is beautiful" and really cares "about the planet and giving back".
Their joint decision to work with WildAid led them to create a very special hair care line, DAVID BABAII FOR WILDAID which has touched his heart like never before.
David is committed to "showing my industry that great hair care products can be made without harming one animal in order to achieve beauty." By combining their passion for nature and beauty through the creation of DAVID BABAII FOR WILDAID, the two celebrities will be donating a percentage of the revenues from their new hair care line to WildAid. Besides helping to raise awareness and money for wildlife, David and Kate are also giving back to the environment.
Kate will be featured in the print campaign for the new product line. A photo shoot will be held with Kate to promote the hair care line with David doing Kate's hair, naturally. Although the final location had not been finalized when I chatted with David, he told me that wherever they shoot the commercial for the line will be beautiful.
She is the perfect choice according to David. "Kate epitomizes the modern woman, not only with her unique personal style, but her commitment to global concerns," says David. "She's a dream client and the perfect partner for this project."
When asked about the project Kate has told the media "I've been asked to do a lot of campaigns in the past and this feels like the perfect fit for me. David is the best at what he does and he's put so much of himself into the development of this line. And the fact that we can do it in an ecologically responsible and animal-friendly manner that can help preserve wildlife is what makes this truly special."
Because the DAVID BABAII FOR WILDAID hair care line means so much to David, he has become an instrumental force in the development of the line. He has personally been involved in every step towards creating the various products. David has dedicated tremendous amounts of time to the product development cycle leaving no stone unturned in his quest for creating a product that is as natural as possible.
DAVID BABAII FOR WILDAID products have an exclusive blend of exotic natural ingredients and are completely free of sulfates, parabens, animal products and animal testing. The line celebrates "the nature in beauty and the beauty in nature."
David's Work With Long List Of Celebrities
In addition to his longtime relationship with Kate, David's work as a hairstylist for many of the most glamorous celebrities in the world has been featured on magazine covers, in prestigious advertising campaigns and on red carpets around the Universe.
His hairstyles have been featured on over a hundred major fashion covers, including InStyle Magazine, Vogue, Elle, Flaunt, L’Officiel, Allure, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar.
To date, David's extensive celebrity list includes Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Biel, Scarlet Johanson, Jessica Alba, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Rachel Weiss, Meg Ryan, Joan Allen, Goldie Hawn, and Kate Winslet, to name just a few.
He has worked in the presence of royalty with Queen Rania of Jordan among his elite list of clients.
What does David have to say about his ever growing list of celebrity clients? "You've got to realize, my whole goal is to make my client look beautiful. That's it."
David Babaii is a brilliant celebrity hairdresser who has stepped up his life to honor the two things that matter most to him as a human, his love of animals and hair.
He wants to give back to the planet by providing hair care options that are healthy for humans and at the same time don't harm the Earth.
David believes "animals bring compassion and tranquility to all life". His ardor for hair and dedication to nature characterizes his soul.
To learn more about David's fabulous hair care line visit davidbabaiiforwildaid.com on the Web.
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Original Publication Date: 12/09/07 - Revised Date: 03/15/2011