Grande Maison


In Interview Sabrina Michals

Sabrina Michals is shockingly versatile - her style possibilities are endless”. Her Passion is the craft of education. Her heart is dedicated to the artistic soul. This hair marvel is from the concrete jungle, where dreams are made of hair, there's nothing she can't do, her craft will make you feel brand new, big visions will inspire you.

Her work has been featured in the likes of Spanish Vogue and GQ, but the essence of hairdressing must not be lost under its ever growing industry. Sabrina Michals - “a Wellness Coach for the hairdresser” - unites traditional styling and Beauty education with Wellness; proving once and for all that the most talented in the business should embrace an holistic approach to take their work that step further.

Born in Santa Monica, CA, Michals studied Beauty at the Vidal Sassoon Academy before moving directly out of California and into the bright lights and opportunity of The Big Apple. New York City spelt success for Sabrina Michals, as she found herself working at Bumble and bumble. - the figurehead of the Michael Gordon legacy, on Hairdresser’s Row. The Bumble and bumble. salon become Sabrina’s homestead, where she has spent the last 25 years as an educator.

However, Michals is hardly what you would call salon bound - she’s been lead hair stylist on many runway shows, and, while working as Creative Director for global brand Artistry trained the backstage styling team. During her time with Bumble and bumble., she travelled to Paris, where she studied the art of Balayage under famous hair colorist Stephane Pous. She was also a core team member of both Eugene Souleiman's and Orlando Pita’s teams - two masters of the Beauty world.

Today she is not only one of New York’s most talented hairdressers, but is also a trained Yoga instructor, certified aromatherapist and plans on securing her life coaching license very soon. “I'm currently at a turning point in my career.” explains Sabrina. “I have decided to branch off on my own and infuse Wellness and Beauty with the art of hairdressing.”

Educating hairdressing professionals in an holistic approach is, for Sabrina Michals, crucial if they are to “take better care of themselves, and balance entering and exiting of energies on a daily basis.” Foundational within this unique process is the understanding of essential oils and how they affect the hair, but also the body, mind and soul. But it doesn’t stop there, Sabrina aims higher still. “I plan to build my brand in series of signature classes. I would love to be a 101 wellness lifestyle coach for hairdressers.”

GM What is your profession?
Sabrina I am a freelance Hairdresser. I am also a certified yoga
instructor and a certified aromatherapist.

GM Which year were you born in?
Sabrina 1970

GM Where did you grow up?
Sabrina In Los Angeles, California . My parents were divorced. My father
lived in his car in Venice Beach for eight years. This is where I sold artworks and learned to skate board.

GM Who gave you your name? Does your name have any particular (or, special)
Sabrina My parents Not really, it just that my mother was watching a TV series and the witch was named “Sabrina” and voila!

GM What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Sabrina I like all kinds of genres. It just depends on my mood.

GM What is the most inspiring art work for you?
Sabrina I appreciate all works of art. My father is a successful artist. I love installations, sculptures and especially modern art.

GM What is your favourite number and why?
Sabrina My favourite number is 7 and 9; I'm unsure about what makes them special. I suppose I love odd numbers in general.

GM Do you have any heroes, heroines and icons you admire? If so who and why?
Sabrina Kate Moss has always been someone I admired. I started my career in the early 90s grunge scene. She was a big part of that era. Paolo Roverse, Julian DY's, Eugene Souleiman, Ward, Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester have all influenced me and they are in one way or another my heroes and heroines.

GM What is your earliest childhood memory?
Sabrina I remember having many exotic animals like a baby alligator, armadillo and a goat. My favourite thing was playing in my tree house with my bunnies. I am currently reliving my childhood with a swing in our NYC apt. Our newest pet is a Netherland dwarf bunny named "Barrel". He has full rage of our house.

GM What inspires you?
Sabrina Nature, Art and Life itself inspires me. So does learning new things; this is why I'm always taking classes that inspire my work, ranging from macramé, pottery, floral design, knitting, crocheting. Essential oil's to surfing, SUP and yoga. I love being in the ocean and working with my hands.

GM Who influences you?
Sabrina Great lifestyles from Street style, interior design, beauty and wellness, savvy boutique to Instagram influence me a lot. My top editorial hairdressers that influence me would be Eugene, Guido and James Pecis; they are real artists in my opinion.

GM What do you feel you’d like to achieve in life?
Sabrina I am very much of a goal-driven person. I have achieved so much and I'm so grateful. I have an amazing career, a beautiful family and have travelled immensely. Now it's more about the journey then it is about the goal. I would like to make a small but potent change in the quality of life of my fellow hairdressers.

GM If you would ever be interested in building your own house, where you would want to build it, and what material would it be made out of, and if you would want to paint it yourself. Also, would you like it to be made of wood or concrete, glass or water? What colour would you choose for painting?
Sabrina It’s so funny that you would ask this question. I actually just finished building a home on the beach made of wood and concrete with lots of big windows (everyone can see what I'm doing) and it's white. Lol!

GM What’s your favourite hairstyle?
Sabrina Modern mullet and short round layers.

GM And does life imitate art far more than art imitates Life?
Sabrina Absolutely

GM Why did you become a hairdresser?
Sabrina Both my parents met in Beauty school and I grew up in a salon called “The Last Chance”. I never wanted to become a hairdresser until I was backpacking through Europe and ran out of money. I met up with a friend that was modelling in Milan and she paid me to do her hair and make up for a test shoot. I realized then I could travel and live where ever I wanted as a hairdresser.

GM Where did you start your career as session stylist?
Sabrina I started at The Vidal Sassoon academy in Santa Monica. As soon as I graduated I moved to New York City and started working for Bumble and bumble. As an apprentice I was sent to Paris fashion week to work with Orlando Pita. This was the moment I realized I wanted to be a session stylist. I moved to Paris and started freelancing.

GM Which years of your life were the most influential and important for you?
Sabrina I was thirty when I moved to Paris, which was the beginning of 5 magical years of my life. I was still working for Bb and pursuing my editorial career. I worked with the famous colourist Stephane Pous who taught me the art of Balayage. I was a core member of Eugene Souleiman's team. And I partied like a motherfucker.

GM How did you develop your style?
Sabrina It wasn't something I tried to develop. It just came. I believe teaching and understand what and why I move the hair the way I do helped. I worked with many talented hairdressers who mentored and shaped me into the hairdresser I am today. They all influenced my style.

GM What has made you the stylist you are today?
Sabrina For years, I was the sole stylist who groomed the Bumble and bumble backstage team with my own unique coaching. This is where I entered that elusive state of flow where time stands still and is effortless. Sharing and coaching. I witness that stylists find that on their own, and I love this.

GM What advice would you give a burgeoning hairdresser who wants to be successful in this industry?
Sabrina Stay passionate stay driven; never stop growing. Always keep practicing your craft. Stay open-minded.

GM What key ingredients do you use when approaching your creative process?
Sabrina I need to be stress-free so that ideas flow through me. Some tools that I use to help me destress are daily meditation, yoga, and essential oils that help balance me. Then I prepare, I research and I create.

GM What does a hairdresser or stylist need to know to create their own signature?
Sabrina Learn as much as you can, work with many artists, take what you need, leave what you don't need. Your signature will manifest itself. And most importantly:
never stop growing.

GM When you were starting out, did you have any hair heroes/heroine that you particularly looked up to?
Sabrina No, not really. I did move to New York thinking I wanted to work with Orbie. Bumble is where I ended up for the last 25 years.

GM Who is your short-haired heroine?
Sabrina Monika Vitti and Sophia Loren, among many others. I love the Italian movie star’s chic, shaggy haircuts.

GM What does hairdressing mean to you?
Sabrina Being a hairdresser to me is what I can give back. This gives us, hairdressers, the opportunity to bring a positive change to the world, with one client at a time. As artists, we leave so much behind through cinema photography. When you look back at history, it's always hair styles that define the era and culture.

GM What do you think of hairdressing today and what would you like to see changed?
Sabrina I'll try to keep my laundry list short. Sponsorship is ridiculously out of control and it's no longer about talent, it's who can pay the most in sponsorship.

GM What are the main changes that have dominated the hair beauty industry during the last few years?
Sabrina Without a doubt, social media has changed our industry for the better and for the worse. It's an excellent vehicle for independent hairdressers to show their brand and artistry. You have Instagram feeds that have many followers and look good but it's not always real quality (smoke and mirrors).

GM What are your most beloved products and must-have tools?
Sabrina Dyson blow dryer a flat brush, bone tail comb a Marcel iron. French hairpins large & small refreshing essential oils in my water bottle, thickening spray and styling cream, always hairspray. Lots of bling!! Gold or silver comes and brushes wherever I go.

GM How important is the role of education in the beauty industry?
Sabrina I believe that education is very important to keep yourself growing, rather than stagnant. It helps you keep mastering what you already know and go beyond.

GM If hairdressing is poetry which poem would it be?
Sabrina “The fabric of hair is a mystery you don't know if it's thick or thin you could always go with the bun or ponytail and braids for days even plain hair down is something new believe me it's true” - by My Althea Michals

GM Imagine you are living and working in Wonderland. How would you dress Alice’s hair?
Sabrina This is my favourite question: Alice would have Dusty Rose, blush hair colour and a short round layer cut. We also have to do something about her dress with Alexander McQueen details and embroidery.

GM Thank you for joining us, Sabrina Michals.

Editorial written by Oisin Fogarty Graveson Interview by Astrid Al-Abadi