I find Robert, Robair or Rawbert, to his friends, so incredibly fascinating I couldn't stop covering his life. His fun filled life was like peeking in on a reality show.
Note: Robert Hallowell passed away on November 25, 2015.
Yes, I've written volumes about many many other famous hairdressers, but I kept circling back to Robert (Raw for short) on a regular basis.
Of course I understand Hollywood hairstylist concerns. One misquoted comment could destroy an up and coming hair, make-up or fashion styling career in an instant. They could be drummed out of Hollywood forever.
Robert named his hair company The Kitchen Beautician. Why? Because he often ended up working in the kitchens of his celebrity clients' homes. Sometimes Robert would use ingredients right out of their cabinets.
I had the pleasure of hanging out in Robert's famous kitchen on more than one occasion. I spent may delightful hours with Robert while his beloved pets - Ava the dog and her two cat siblings, Precious and Sweetpea, wandered through the house towards the outdoors. The house was built high into the hills of LAand featured a breathtaking patio/deck overlooking the city .
Robert was an extremely busy man working an average of 18 hours per day doing celeb hair. He always made time for me. It was another reason I loved writing about him and his clients.
I learned to settle quietly into a kitchen or patio chair while the double Gemini buzzed back and forth in a frenzy doing a million things at once. If I tried to follow his footsteps I would collapse in mere minutes.
I sat back, flipped on my recorder and bombarded him with questions about hair care, hairstyling techniques, hair trends, hair history...well, just about anything which had hair attached to it.
Even though I asked Robert crazy questions, he always rose to the challenge and gave me wonderful answers. I asked him which of his celebrities had the best hair to work with, which had the worst and why.
He was always kind and thoughtful with his responses.
Sometimes he will roll his eyes at me, make a variety of faces, say "pish posh" and then laugh with his wicked chuckle before answering my questions. Yes, he always asks me...is this off the record or not...and then we go from there.
He knows all the juice about hair in the business, whether its New York, LA, Europe, Canada or Mexico.
Not only has Robert worked with a dizzying array of Hollywood's royalty for over 20 years, he has worked with other hairdressers, make-up artists, fashion stylists, magazine editors, agents, photographers and of course pesky media like me.
Unlike some other Hollywood hair gurus, Robert is never starstruck. Maybe because he was born and raised in LaLa Land or maybe because he is so unaffected and genuine, he is never full of himself or impressed that he literally hangs out with some of the biggest names in the film and movie industry.
One of the criticisms which is sometimes made about celebrity hairdressers, make-up artists and related pros is that they develop big heads and don't recognize their place in the big picture. Afterall, they have a job to do and if they lose sight of that focus, drama ensures. They really aren't the celebrities, they are there to service their celebrity clients.
Robert always knows his place and understands his role. He is also always 100% focused on getting the job done and taking care of his clients. Case in point is the 3+ hours he spent with a long time male superstar client whose hair he's been cutting and styling for years during my last long visit with him.
Robert religiously drives over 1 hour to this celeb's digs adjacent to Malibu and settles in for "a long haircut".
He warned met even though the celeb in question has relatively short hair it might take 3-4 hours to finish the cut and style because Robert wanted to make sure his client was 1000% happy with the results.
Indeed, it took him over 3 hours, but his client was ultimately ecstatic with the finished style. In Robert's mind that's all he cared about.
I was so impressed with his compassion and care for his client. Robert understands only too well the pressures actors and actresses go through in the cutthroat industry and tries his best to help them in any way possible, even if it means spending three hours for a snip that might normally take 15 minutes. I adore that about Robert.
It also makes me feel completely safe with him at all times because I know if he doesn't kiss and tell about some of the biggest names in Hollywood he won't ever kiss and tell about me.
Like any longtime friendship or professional collaboration it hasn't always been rainbows and lollipops between Robert and I. We've had moments, which lasted for months, where we were not getting along. At one point we didn't talk for almost one year because of a communication misunderstanding.
We eventually worked it all and Robert was one of the first to call me when he heard my beloved husband had died suddenly of a heart attack in early 2005.
During my first visit to Robert's house he showed me the urn which held the ashes of his own deceased wife who died of cancer many years ago. He also showed me a photo of his current true love, a handsome European actor he hopes to spend time with someday when one of the two men can find a way to move to the appropriate location. It was all bittersweet, but very touching at the same time.
Meanwhile, after sharing a piece of his heart, Robert's double Gemini personality will instantly kick in and he's off running down the hallway towards his famous kitchen making sure the cats aren't swiping cheese off the table, the lemons soaking in the sink are ready to be removed or to search for that box of wigs he dragged down from his studio. It's just all in a day's time during the life and times of a fabulous Hollywood hairdresser, hard working, kind and loving human being.
Although he's a brilliant hairdresser and beauty expert he's also just a fun guy. It's a special treat to hang out in the kitchen with Robert while he whips up his latest hair mask. Do you see why I never tire of writing about his life?
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Robert started his professional career as a model in LA. Ultimately he made his way to modeling in New York.
He eventually decided to change careers, attending cosmetology school at the prestigious Vidal Sassoon Academy in LA.
Robert landed his first hair design job for a music video in 1984 while he was still finishing up his classes. He's been working in the entertainment industry ever since.
A very dedicated hair stylist, Robert toiled on a lot of lesser known television shows before he met actress Geena Davis on the set of Angie in 1994. He quickly became her stylist of choice, creating most of her off-screen looks and coiffing her for The Geena Davis Show and Commander in Chief.
He was the preferred hairstylist of Brendan Fraser, traveling with him on various film premiere tours.
Additionally, he's worked with Lucy Liu, Sarah Jessica Parker, George Clooney and many other movie and television stars. He's currently the Head Hairdresser for CSI where he designs all of the hair looks for the cast but primarily coifs the tresses of Marg Helgenberger and CSI guest stars.
He worked with Courteney Cox for two seasons on Dirt. Some of his other celebrity heads over the years included Mary Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Camyrn Manheim, Holland Taylor, Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen, Donald Sutherland, Hugh Laurie and Bridget Fonda. The list is endless.Robert has been an on-set hairdresser for an endless number of TV shows as well as a wide range of movies. He has met countless celebrities, even if he hasn't personally worked with them including the Osbournes, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah.
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