Behind The Hair

hair stylist
hair stylist

You always see your favorite stars looking stunning and amazing on every red carpet, magazine, and cover. You love their outfits, you love their shoes, their jewelry, their makeup, and their hair. You get inspired by their looks and even want to know how to recreate them yourself (or get a professional like a hair salon to recreate it for you). But who are those people that help make all of that magic and perfection happen? It takes a team (and a mighty good and creative one) to make your beloved stars look like they're on their A-game and that they "woke up like this" on the daily and today I'm shining light on one of my favorite people, Castillo, who is behind the hair to some of your all-time current favorites including Ashley Benson from "Pretty Little Liars", Lea Michele from "Glee", and today's feature with Bella Thorne from "Shake It Up".

Today's feature is an extra special one because Castillo and I go way back to almost a year ago when I met him at an event that he was working his magic and hair expertise at, and since then I have seen him flourish and grow even more. I caught up with Castillo (and got to see him in all his glory and action) during a shoot he was doing for Bella Thorne's new book series "Autumn Falls" which is expected to hit stores November 11, 2014. Humble, sweet, caring, intelligent, knowledgeable, and most importantly, passionate and loving what he does, I think it's safe to say that I not only learned to appreciate the art of hair and the process that goes into each look more after this interview, but I think I have an even greater love and appreciation for Castillo and all that he does as a whole.

Fashionlaine: How did you get into doing hair?Castillo: Growing up I was always surrounded by very amazing hairstylists and I always got the opportunity to assist them. So once they started bringing me on set, they were noticing how attentive I was to some of the tasks they were giving me and hey suggested that I get into hair and so I took their advice and went from there and realized I really loved doing it.

FL: Tell me a little bit about your background and where you grew up.Castillo: I grew up in East Los Angeles and I was really inspired by the Latin community culture. I met Carlos Ortiz who is another celebrity hairstylist out in the LA scene through networking and he kind of took me under his wing and made me his go-to assistant. From there, I stayed in LA and worked nonstop with him and got inspired to be with an agency and take it further with that. I think being from LA has really helped me see different types of cultures and influences since it's such a huge melting pot of all different types of people, which has from there really inspired my work and the hair that I do.

FL: Did you want to do hair before you met Carlos?Castillo: I was always into fashion design-- I went to school at FIDM and kind of tested the waters there. Growing up and being a guy, it was a difficult subject trying to tell your parents that you want to do hair. I remember growing up I'd always play with my cousins' hairs and always got in trouble for it and so I'd make notes to myself that that was not something I was supposed to be doing. But when I got to the right age of knowing what my passion was, I decided that I was just going to do it and show my parents that I could make money and be successful from it and then they'd have no choice but to accept it.

FL: And were they ok with that?Castillo: After a while, they were ok with it. I went both ways where I studied both Cosmetology and Barbering so that my parents could be happy that I have a background in both routes. And it ended up working out well because now my brother went to school for barbering and is walking in my footsteps. So hopefully I'm able to help him through his journey as well.

FL: What's your favorite part about doing hair?Castillo: I like the freedom of being able to suggest new looks and try out new things on my clients. Normally you try out new things in a classroom or a mannequin head, but to actually be able to do it on a client and for it to be registered and understood by the masses and to be seen by everyone is crazy. You never really think about that when you're going to school, and so that's what I love so much about being a hairstylist. That, and that there are such great perks. You get to live this lifestyle along this amazing person like Bella Thorne and so you're right there with them, taking it all in and it's a whole other world. I love the fact that I get to grow with an artist and my clients and be with them from when they're young and starting out through their success and growth. It's a lot more enjoyable to be able to grow with someone that trusts you-- it's like creating a family that you belong to.

FL: How do you come up with the looks and hairstyles you do on Bella for each occasion?Castillo: With Bella it's a little bit different. As much as I'd love to go very avant-garde with her, I always have to keep her looks very relatable because she does have such a huge following of Disney Channel girls, so I need to always keep it very natural and do-able. We always have to make it seem like it's something she did herself and keep it very fun. Like right now, we're doing a lot of braids and cornrows which her fans love because they believe that they can mimic and do her look as well on the weekends. A lot of my inspiration for looks come for runway shows. So I'll take a lot of what I see from the runways and then transform it into a 16 year old girl-- watered down or do less of this and that, but still keep it very on trend.

FL: Do you have a favorite look you've done on Bella?Castillo: One look I've gotten away with Bella which I absolutely love is when she went to a Nintendo event. Off the bat I knew it was going to be a lot more fun and a lot of colors for Spring, so I got to recreate this look that I had seen on the Chanel runway from their Paris Fall 2014 show. I incorporated a lot of fabric and colors into her hair into this very Rastafarian/bohemian ponytail. And when Bella comes to me saying things like "I want ponytail, keep it simple, just a high pony", it's so cool to be able to embellish that and make it bigger and better and more of a statement rather than just a pulled back look.

FL: Are your clients ok with you trying new things on their hair?Castillo: It really depends on what the job is. If it's a job like the Candies add we did with Bella that's a year long campaign, I can't really get too crazy-- I have to stick with the seasons and keep it really simple. But when there are jobs for editorials with her where she has more freedom, she loves being creative and coming up with unique things. She's young and so she wants to try it all. And sometimes even with that, I have to be kind of a like a big brother to her and pull back when I don't think things will read well.

FL: What has been your favorite job, moment, or highlight?Castillo: I really enjoy going on press tours because you get to really travel in a span of a day in each different city in the United States. And with Bella, since she is so young, she does a lot of stuff for Disneyland and different amusement parks like Disney World in Orlando, FL for example which I had never been to before. Being able to work there and then being able to go on all those roller coasters afterwards and still have that fun is what makes my job so happy. Yeah, I have to still work and get my job done, but afterwards I get the chance to be a little kid and enjoy the moment and where we are. Being born and raised in LA, I didn't really get to go out and see the world, so being able to get to do that now is something really special and that I'll hold onto forever.

FL: What's your favorite hairstyle for girls for this summer?Castillo: My favorite hairstyle right now is the deconstructed look of what you would think. So for example, braids are very in right now, so I'm into the deconstructed braid or something that incorporates fabric. Something that's going to make your hair standout a little more and be unique. The bohemian, hair wrap, unwashed hair look is so in right now-- it just works to really step up your outfit without being too much. So I think this summer it's all about having fun with your hair and really using your products.

FL: How would you describe your own personal fashion style?Castillo: I'd say casual street chic. I try to keep it very casual and comfortable because I'm on my feet a lot, but I also want to stay true to myself by adding pops of colors whether it's with my shorts, my shoes or hat. But I always try to keep it very minimal with the tops of my shirts because I don't want to distract anyone from what's really going on than with just my art. I have a lot of tattoos, and so because I don't want people to define me by what I wear, I want to make a point that no matter what you throw on me, I'm still myself. So I try to keep my look very casual, but fashionable. I want to look like I put some effort into what I'm doing  and wearing because I am on set with some people that are all strictly business and sometimes they can't understand why I have a tattoo on my face. But I just want them to really focus on my art which is Bella or whatever hairstyle I'm creating on a client.

FL: Who do you look to as inspiration?Castillo: I have a couple of people I look up to in the hair industry but I also like people that aim for the stars-- like I love Rihanna. Even though she's a girl, I see her outfits and translate them into a guy's version. I just love that kind of carefree, "I'm going to wear whatever I want to wear, but I'm still Rihanna" attitude. Women and men of that nature really inspire me-- people that just have their own style and don't necessarily need to wear all black to be themselves.

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