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Daily Inspiration: Meet Zach Smisek Tupaz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zach Smisek Tupaz.

Zach Smisek, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’m better known as Saved By The Barber. I’m 29 years old and I run my image-curating operation from the elegant rooftop of the Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood which is crazy to me because I came from nothing.

It seems like yesterday when I was driving the car, I also lived in to Malibu to cut Robert Downey Jr.’s Ironman locks. I’ve styled everyone from Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry, to Manchester United’s Juan Mata and Ander Herrera, to women from the world-famous Wilhelmina Modeling Agency.

I’ve been in the hairstyling industry for over 15yrs. With every year that went by, as my hair was falling out, I was upping the ante and cutting more of it. I bunked off school to cut hair. At one point, it was either the military or the haircut. I think I made the right choice. Styling hair isn’t a job. For me, it’s a passion and a sacred pursuit.

I learned my trade from Daniel Alfonso, Woody Lovell (pioneer of the formula that would later become American Crew), Chris McMillan (aka the guy who gave Jennifer Aniston the generation-defining “Rachel” cut) and Jason Schneidman, stylist to the stars.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I don’t think anyone’s road is ever smooth. If it is, it’s probably boring. Everyone has their challenges and I believe that those challenges are what make you who you are. Just like hair, you cut it down and it grows back. I had a really tough childhood. School didn’t come easy. I got in with bad crowds. Blablabla. That was my story, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. I took my future in my hands and booked a haircut with Daniel Alfonso just to ask him how I could make it in the big time. The biggest obstacle anyone ever faces is themself and the way to get round it is to know how to ask for help. You get as much help as you ask for and at some point, you have to look in the mirror and like who you see. Maybe that’s why I like being a hairdresser so much. I get to help other people look in the mirror and love what they see the way that I have learned – and am still learning – to do myself.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Cutting hair is my purpose. It’s how I find my flow state. It’s art for me and it’s as much about the cut as it aligning with the personality of the client. A haircut is a relationship. It’s about trust. When you’re taking a pair of scissors to a multi-million dollar head of hair, you have to have the Midas touch. People go to their priest for confession, to their therapist for healing, and to their hairdresser to discover and play with an image. It’s not just vanity. Seeing yourself in the mirror with a new haircut can reveal something to people they didn’t know about themselves. It might sound wacky, but it’s almost shamanistic.

When people go for a haircut, they often think that magically everything is going to change with their new style. I don’t think that’s silly. I think that’s beautiful. I like to think of my salon as the bridge to a new self.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
That’s a good question. Some might say that cutting hair is cutting hair, but there are changes afoot. First off, I see so many barbers with blue verified badges on Instagram and going viral on TikTok. I get that people have to ply their trade and social media is a factor in making it big, but it’s almost as if the stylists are becoming more concerned with their own image and fame. All I know is I create the best styles when my ego is out of the equation.

Another thing is pandemic hair growth. A lot of people decided to use the home time to grow their hair out and that presents so many opportunities to have fun and show people what’s possible with that extra length. There’s an interim period where your hair starts to go crazy, and knowing how to tame the beast and make it purr while still letting it grow to its potential is a fine art.

Finally, a lot of Insta and TikTok filters allow people to see themselves with different hairstyles. That’s a lot of fun, but I want to help people find the styles that work for them rather than getting caught up on the latest trends. Being authentic to yourself has been the number one trend since the beginning of time. I lean into that, not fleeting fancies.

Pricing:

  • Buzz cuts – $50
  • Regular Cut – $100
  • Cut & Style – $150.00
  • Whole Look Makeover – $250.00
  • A Listers, Special Events & Multi-Hour Commitments – $500.00

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Jake Noval Kai Strachan

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