Born in Southeast LA, celebrity colorist and hairstylist Amber Maynard spent most of her childhood city-hopping with her family. "I literally moved once a year until quite honestly maybe ten years ago," she says, and after living everywhere from Palm Springs to Riverside, she returned to LA and attended Fairfax High School. After class, she would hang out at a salon and beauty supply shop down the street "with this guy named Matilla, who would cut hair. I would watch him and I was like, 'That's really cool.'"
After graduating, Maynard got a job working the front desk at a local salon and enrolled in beauty school at West Valley Occupational Center. She went on to sharpen her styling and coloring chops at a handful of salons, including Fred Segal Beauty in Santa Monica, picking up clients like Helen Hunt and Hilary Duff along the way. It was about four years ago when she felt ready to take her skills east of the 405 and took a chance on a new studio two friends had recently opened, Nine Zero One Salon. "It was one of the best decisions I ever made," Maynard says; now, the senior hairstylist counts stars like Vanessa Hudgens and Demi Lovato among her famous fans.
We sat down with the expert colorist in Silver Lake, not far from her Highland Park abode. After grabbing sips at Naturewell, we took a seat next door at Flore Vegan Cuisine, where we found out Maynard's worst haircut ever, her In-N-Out dining secrets, her ultimate hair icon and much more.
What are you drinking today?
"It's the coconut date smoothie. A couple years ago they didn't have this on their menu, and there was an employee who would just make it for himself. I was there while he was making it one day and I was like, 'Wait, what is that, can I get one of those?' I guess it became popular and they put it on the menu."
Worst haircut you've ever had?
"When I was a teenager I wanted to be everything Gwen Stefani. When she chopped off all of her hair, I chopped off all of my hair—but my hair is naturally extremely curly so when I did it, the guy didn't know how to cut it properly. He blow-dried it afterwards and it was just bad. I cried."
Ultimate celebrity hair icon?
"Hands-down, it has to be Brigitte Bardot. That woman—if she has her bangs, doesn't have her bangs, pigtails—that look that she always has with her hair is so timeless and classic, that's one hairstyle that will always look good."
TV character with the worst hairstyle?
"I would have to say [Taylor Schilling's character, Piper Chapman] from Orange Is The New Black, because sometimes I stare at her highlights and they look really stripey. Sometimes her tone seems a little off, I don't know if they're purposefully supposed to look that way because [she's] in jail; I don't know. Piper needs her hair did."
Topanga Canyon or the Hollywood Hills?
"Topanga Canyon. I'm a hippie at heart, so I love the hippie-dippie stuff. If I could run around Topanga Canyon barefoot, I would. Everybody who lives up there is just so cool and has a big heart."
Animal-style fries or regular fries?
"I have to go with regular because I get my hamburger animal-style, protein-style. When it drips down onto the fries, then you can eat them. The fries get too soggy [when they're animal style]."
Pinch-me moment you've had this year?
"I was flown out to New York to do Demi's hair back in July or August; anytime she travels there [are] paparazzi and fans. I left [the hotel] to get breakfast with a friend and I came back, [and] all of a sudden I hear, 'Amber?' It was this group of [Demi Lovato fans] and they were like, 'Oh my god, it's Amber! Can I take a photo with you?' That was definitely [an interesting] moment."
What are the top three songs in the soundtrack of your life?
"Definitely 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' by the Beatles, [they're] my ultimate favorite band and that song makes me want to cry whenever I hear it. 'Lovely Day' by Bill Withers, and 'Harvest Moon' by Neil Young."
Least favorite color?
"Brown. It's just so doo-doo, you know? Orange is my favorite color. Every other color is so much fun except for brown."
Cocktails or wine?
"Wine! I have two wine club memberships, and one with two memberships within that one. I have a nice little [wine] collection going on."
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