While in Colombia, Marco Peña focused a lot in his academia so much that at first, he didn't really follow the path of beauty and hair styling. Eventually, however, the profession caught his eye and heart, while grabbing over his spirit en route to becoming one of the most prestigious Latin hair stylists in all of the U.S.
Peña's partnered with TRESemmé in presenting the product line, Keratin Smooth. During a phone interview, Peña discussed his passion for his profession, beauty, Keratin Smooth, past experiences and his hobbies, among other things.
Campus Circle: How did you find your passion for your profession?
Marco Peña: When I was in school, I had friends who were hair stylists. And so whenever I went to get a haircut, I would spend a lot of time with them. My best friend learned how to cut hair with them. They offered to teach both of us how to cut hair, but only my friend learned. I didn't want to at that time. I was more focused on finishing school. Later on, after school, I took a year off before starting college and I wasn't working or doing anything else. So I decided to go help my friends out at the salon as an assistant, doing shampoo, etc. As I did that, I learned how to cut as well, and that's how I started.
CC: And did this happen in Colombia?
MP: Yeah, in Colombia. Once I had become more serious about this as a profession, I decided to enter an academy for stylists, and I took a one-year course. It's a career that I feel allows you do develop as a person, and as a professional as well. My work is my passion.
CC: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
MP: Day-to-day life, but also stars from Hollywood and magazines. All these things inspire me. I've also never settled with just my basic knowledge and training; there's always something more. I've always been searching for that, and I feel it's helped me succeed. As I mentioned earlier, I started at a small salon and I could have stayed there if I wanted to. However, after seven years of building up a clientele, and doing the same thing over and over again, I quit everything. I've always thought there had to be something more to hair styling, so I began working at one of the most exclusive salons in Bogotá and I brought all my clients with me. All this was in the name of learning more. I got to meet and work with new people, and I was exposed to different situations and different challenges from having to organize styles for photo shoots, videos, or even going to some celebrity's house to give them a makeover, or style their hair.
CC: Can you name some celebrities you've worked with?
MP: One of the biggest ones would be Shakira, obviously. She's been my client since my time in Colombia. I did her hair and makeup for her first album, Pies Descalzos. I also went on tour with her. After that, I stayed in Miami, and since then I've worked with Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Paulina Rubio, Thalía, Eva Longoria, and Kim Kardashian. There've been quite a few celebrities who've passed through my hands.
CC: What can you tell us about the special event that took place on March 21 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood? There, you presented the collection of TRESemmé Keratin Smooth to the L.A. media and bloggers.
MP: It was very exciting to have had the contact with that part of the U.S. I had never intended to go there for work but it was very gratifying. The response from magazines and the media was spectacular. Obviously, Los Angeles is another platform I haven't approached yet because I have a lot of work in Miami. But now with this venture with TRESemmé, we're exploring other markets. And the Hollywood/Los Angeles area is the next frontier; it would be fantastic to be able to open a salon there.
CC: What's in your agenda for the next few months?
MP: Photo shoots are always happening. I work with People en Español, and right now we're working on the upcoming 50 most beautiful people issue for May. Also some freelancing projects and, of course, my personal clients: Thalía can call at any time, Adamari López and Juanes are also clients. Also, there's an upcoming event in Panama where I've been asked to be part of the judges panel at a very prestigious hair styling competition there, which I'm very happy to be a part of.
CC: What advice can you give the ladies to stay beautiful this spring?
MP: My advice would be to maintain your hair as natural as possible. Also, straight hair is in, and it's a look that can be easily achieved, and the ladies can even do it themselves at home – I advice that they use of a flattening iron and moisturizing to prevent dry hair and split ends. The TRESemmé Keratin Smooth line of products is great, which makes it very easy to achieve this at home. You shampoo and condition your hair, then apply a leave-in spray.
CC: Do you style your own hair or does someone else do it for you?
MP: I cut my own hair sometimes, but when I do it takes me about two to two and a half hours to finish, and I don't always have that much time available to do that. So then I'll just ask a friend to do it for me.
CC: What do you do in your free time?
MP: I love going to the movies, enjoying a fine meal and a good glass of wine, which is very gratifying. I also love spending time with my family. I'm very close to my family.
CC: Do you feel you're living the American Dream?
MP: I am a living, breathing example of the American Dream. I am the first person in my family to travel abroad and come to the U.S. It took me 12 years to become an American citizen. However, when one has perseverance and does things well from the beginning, anything is possible. I am a part of and a big supporter of the American system. I pay my taxes, I have my business here, and I'm very happy in Miami.
CC: Anything else you would like to add?
MP: Just that hair is the face's frame, and for ladies to always look their best, they must be happy with and find a fabulous color and style that suits them. The hair is very important.
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