Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Hair Angel: An Interview with Jersey City Hair Artist, Angel Ruiz. PART I

Recently I set down with Angel, a dear friend and hair artist, and talked to him about what it takes to be an... angel. Here is first part of the interview. Hope you'll enjoy the read.

As always, thanks for visiting.
Alina Oswald
Author of BACKBONE

We all have our favorite angels. They come in all sorts of forms and shapes, created by our imagination or intrinsic parts of reality. They show themselves to us as guardian angels, heroes (fictional or real), loved ones, family members, or friends.

My friend, visual artist Kelly B. Darr, and I have an angel of our own—a hair angel.  Indeed, Angel Ruiz is a hair artist who’s never been afraid of pushing his art of doing hair towards unconventional limits. Over the years, his work, which he tenderly calls “his life,” has become a vehicle through which he has not only become a unique artist, but also a passionate equal rights activist.

“I’m a gay, catholic, hair artist and I’m proud of it,” Angel answers when asked to define himself. He adds that he doesn’t really go to church, but has his own God.  And so starts our conversation that weaves together the rich fabric of an Angel among us, touching on topics such as gay identity and LGBT rights, related bullying, HIV/AIDS, religion, immigration and politics, President Obama and, above all, his passion for creating memorable, unique hair art and his goals for the future.

Angel Ruiz started doing hair when he was only nine or ten. A couple of years later, he also started working with hair color. He ended up going to a beauty school where he amazed his teachers and from where he graduated first in his class.  And so, doing hair became his life passion. “When I do hair I feel safe, I’m in my own space,” Angel confesses. “I’m able to do what I love [while also] making the client happy.”

When asked about his favorite “do,” Angel confesses that he doesn’t have one. Rather, he likes to create the perfect hairdo (or haircut or color for that matter) of the day for each one of his clients.  That’s because he believes that individuals feel different from one day to another; therefore, he uses the hairstyle to best express himself and also his client for that day.

Clients come first. Angel does freelance, meaning he goes to his clients' homes to do their hair and, with his angel touch, he turns the hair session into a therapeutic session for the body and soul. He loves this aspect of his work, that it allows his clients to express themselves freely. The hair artist knows how vital that is from personal experience because, as he realized, at an early age, that doing hair was his life's passion, he also realized his own true identity.

More on that, in PART II of my interview with Angel Ruiz, the Jersey City hair artist. Until then, I leave you with


* Don’t shampoo the hair, especially during the summer, when too much shampooing can dry the hair. Use water and conditioner instead. Angel recommends organic conditioner in order to avoid allergies.

* For oily hair avoid using any hair product that contains alcohol. Use Aloe Vera leaves instead. Available at the local supermarket, the Aloe Vera leaves, placed at the hair root during the night, help absorb the oil and make the hair thicker and stronger.

* For dry hair, use coconut or almond oil.

For more about Angel (my Hair Angel) check out my article in Out IN Jersey Magazine.

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