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Meet Maria Prendergast of Helmet in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Prendergast.

Maria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had a very nontraditional childhood, I come from a big family, my siblings and I lived all over the world. Born in Hong Kong, lived in Macau, Italy and Switzerland before coming to the United States at 13 years old. Living all over the world provided exposure to a lot of different cultural arts which set the foundation for my artistic side. I remember as a child meeting the Miss Hong Kong and Macau pageant contestants and watching the models live in Milano and idolizing their style and beauty.

At 17, I moved to LA with my sister to pursue a dream that I didn’t have planned at the time. Leaving my family with no formal education or financial support was initially a struggle. I worked hard at entry level jobs until I found my inspiration… Vidal Sassoon Academy! I always knew I was destined to something involving art and working with my hands but I didn’t know what. as a child I was naturally talented in drawing, painting and sewing.

Upon moving to LA, I started taking art classes at Pasadena City College, and was specifically drawn to figurative art. Formal art classes further refined my skills.

At Vidal Sassoon Academy I fell in love with hair! Hair is my artistic expression and that initial passion I felt on the first day of school is what drives me to this day. All of my experiences have given me an aesthetic eye that goes beyond the execution of a basic haircut.

Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing worth having comes easy. I feel fortunate to have trained in a place like LA where competition is fierce which demands high standards. After graduating from beauty school, I learned about the business of hair and further refined my skills. If I can pass on something to our readers it is to be persistent and not take shortcuts. I utilized the opportunity to be trained by industry professionals to the fullest, I also believe in finding a mentor and being a mentor. I love all that I have learned and believe in passing it on through teaching.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Helmet story. Tell us more about the business.
We started our business Helmet in West Hollywood over 12 years ago. We are a hair salon, no gimmicks here just great hair and great hair stylist in an awesome space. I specialize in cutting and styling hair, I feel I am able to deliver the best hair because I put a lot of effort into the consultation and getting to know my client and what will work best for their hair and their lifestyle. I absolutely love a transformation and making my clients shine. I feel very fortunate to have found a job that I love. It is absolutely true that when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. My clients are my celebrities, I am a hair designer that tailors specifically for them. I believe my passion and attention to detail is what sets me apart… do beautiful hair!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think this is a really exciting time in our industry, with the rise of social media it has put the world at our fingertips and has given hair stylists independence, exposure and flexibility that they may not have had otherwise. I predict that we will continue to see growth and competition in this industry that will hopefully drive new business trends and styles. I am excited to see the artistic stimulus that social media brings to our industry. But I am really glad that they haven’t found a way yet for computers to take our jobs and style hair 🙂

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