MANE MASTER: MARSHALL LIN
I first met Marshall last season during fashion week backstage at the Alice and Olivia show. Creating gorgeous bombshell Bardot inspired waves, he had nailed the cool eccentric vibe of Alice and Olivia. His personality was infectious and you could see a real artistry in his work. With over 2o years of industry experience, it’s his work with Fekkai (which began in 2003) that really set him on the map. Working today as the key hair stylist behind major industry shows and campaigns, he’s also known to quoff the hair of major Victoria’s Secret models and celebs on the red carpet (think Kate Bosworth and Olivia Palermo to name a few). We had a chance to chat with the Mane Master about the makings of a coveted career.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I was just looking for summer work when I was about 15 years old (nearly twenty years ago) and a salon seemed like a cool place to work. I ended up falling in love with making people beautiful and creating a cool style. I’ll always remember one moment when was 16, I was drying someone’s hair and I was like, ‘I love this! I can do it for my whole life!’ It was like a calling from God.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
When I joined my present company [Fekkai], I needed to start assistant again after 10 years experience. There were many frustrations about ego, race, and fairness, but when you choose to do something, finish it and finish it good! I learned to be patient, how to communicate with people better, and to learn the business side of this industry. Challenge is like breaking a wall. It’s hard and sometimes painful, but after you’ll have better and bigger views.
Who are some role models who have inspired you?
I’m a lucky person. I’ve learned so much by working with different talented people. One person is Anthony Mascolo. He has many salons, has created an education system to help a new generation of hairdressers, and he continues to work editorial. Everything he does is exactly what I dream to do it . Another is Kim Robinson from Hong Kong. I’ve never worked in a more competitive place. From the way I stand to the socks I wear, everything counts with her. It made me become not just a hair stylist, but an expensive, presentable hair stylist.
The next is Michel Aleman. He made my work and specially my eye become a microscope. All the details, every angle, even every shadow, are perfectly precise.
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
As a hair designer, I just keep on reaching for my favorite signature look each day. I never feel 100% satisfied about my work and I always feel like I can do better. I think that’s called perfection. If I’d have to pick a favorite moment it would be the hair I did for Kate Bosworth at the CFDA awards about 7 or 8 years ago. It was an updo and the texture was fizzy and dry but in perfect proportion. Back then, we really didn’t see a lot of frizz on the red carpet, so it was a good statement.
What was your last major makeover that you’ve done?
I cut off Selita Ebanks hair. It’s wild to chop off a Victoria’s Secret Angel’s hair, but it came out awesome. She is my girl. She always gives me full trust. But I feel like every person who sits in my hair is major, not matter what kind of transformation that we do.
Which hair products or tools are always in your kit?
The updo comb from Morrocanoil, Kasho shears, a Toni and Guy cutting comb, Oribe Dry Texture Spray, Oribe Strong Wax, and Fekkai Hair Refresher Dry Shampoo and Full Blown Volume Mousse.
What is your favorite Instagram account to follow?
@maneaddicts, @thefatjewish, @georgiykot, and @sportlaugher (I like to mix it up and I like funny Instagrams).
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was pretty sure and confident about all I did, but I would tell myself to eat healthier and on time. I have a huge stomach problem now. Young stylists often skip meals and never feel it, but if you want to continue your career over a long period of time, you need to take care of yourself.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? What advice would you give to new stylists?
The best advice I’ve received and I will give is from the hairstylist who brought me in in this industry. His name is Frankie and he is an amazing hairstyle from Hong Kong. He said, ‘when you have choices, you can choose. But when you have no choices, don’t choose.’ This means you have to take whatever opportunity come to you for your work. Never say no. It’s not about only just saying yes, but grab what you can. When you are lucky enough to have many choices for work, then you have the freedom to choose.
My advice for the new generation is to focus on what you can do, not on what you can be. We are in the industry where we can make things happen with hard work. No successful hairstylist sits back and waits for things to happen. Also, never stop learning or receiving new ideas. The day you stop learning is the day you’ve retired from this industry.
What is the next chapter for you?
Continuing to work harder and harder in every area. I want to create education, development for youth, new styles, making more and more people beautiful, and hopefully my work can inspire more people.
Follow @marshalllinstyle for more #manespiration.