It takes skill and courage to give a woman a short haircut. Just ask Angelina, the owner and master hairstylist at D’Satine in Dharmawangsa Square, because short hair is her signature cut. Born and raised in South Jakarta, Angelina tells us why she is comfortable living in the suburbs, explains how her previous work experience helped pave the way for her to become a hairstylist and chats about her customers.
How long have you had the salon?
About two years. Before moving here we were at Pasaraya [in Blok M], but because it was undergoing lengthy renovation work, I decided to move.
How does your salon differ from your competitors?
We can fulfill the needs of our customers. By understanding their style, their line of work and so on, we can then suggest a style that will suit their character, their age. Basically we do hair consulting.
What’s your specialty or signature cut?
My clients would say that the short cut is my signature. I can cut any style, but people seem to think that I’m really good at styling and coloring short hair. I guess when I do a short cut I can be brave and take a risk, but the clients always seem happy with the end result. Look around you. You can see that all my friends in here right now have short hair [laughs].
You studied architecture in university and you used to be an architect?
Yeah, I studied at Tarumanegara University in Jakarta and worked as an architect and interior designer for four years. I did the interior design for a well-known advertising office in Jakarta and designed the office for Kompas Cyber Media.
Did you design this salon?
Yeah, I designed some of the furniture in here, and the rest of the interior I created together with friends.
Have you always been passionate about cutting hair?
Actually, no. In high school I was doing makeup and fashion for fun, but not cutting hair.
When my father passed away, my mom wanted to open a salon so that way the house would always be busy with people coming and going and she wouldn’t be sad all the time. Later, she asked me to take over. I asked her to give me a week to think about it, then I decided to go for it and went to hairstyling school.
So, you only discovered this talent recently?
Yeah, in 2002. My teacher said I had an aptitude for it. When I was studying, I knew the techniques but I didn’t have the feel. Then I became an assistant to a hairstyling teacher and grew more comfortable with it.
Do you think your background in architecture helps you to style hair?
As an architect, it’s important to understand three-dimensional forms. When I see a client’s head, I can already see the hairstyle as a three-dimensional image. Also, because I studied colors, that makes it easy when choosing hair colors.
What was the craziest cut you have ever done?
Every person is unique, but one girl asked me for an extremely short, asymmetric hairstyle, heavy on one side and a buzz cut on the other. So the style looked like a man on one side and a woman on the other, yin and yang style [laughs].
Do you have any celebrity clients?
Yeah, but I never think of them as celebrities. We treat them like normal clients. It’s just more comfortable that way.
Which part of Jakarta do you like the most?
It has to be South Jakarta because I’ve been living here all my life and it fits my lifestyle. The people are friendly and all my friends are here. I’m comfortable in this area and I can find everything here. I rarely venture into Central Jakarta.
What do you do in your spare time?
I go bowling, hang out at coffee shops, watch movies or rent DVDs. My hands are still sore after I went bowling recently.
What style would you say is in at the moment?
For women, it’s spiky and flat with no layering.
And what’s out of style?
I would say big hair, “rambut sasak,” like housewives who are stuck in the ’80s. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s just not our style.
What kind of clients do you have?
They are people who know what they want and they expect the “wow” factor. Our clients want to make people’s heads turn. They are people who have the courage to change their style, to reinvent themselves. Most of our clients get asked by others where they got their hair cut.
Who make better hairstylists: men or women?
As a woman, of course I’m going to say women are much better because I think that we pay more attention to detail and are better able to multitask [laughs].
How do you see this salon in five years? Are you going to franchise it?
Definitely not franchise, but I hope I can add a few more outlets — as long as my friends and I still can handle it on our own. That way we can still maintain the quality and fill a niche for a home salon feel.
Angelina was talking to Iwan Putuhena
Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe
Pictures by Iwan Putuhena