” I’ll never call myself a master stylist because hair can’t be mastered. You can only master yourself. “
Cash Antonio Lawless
My son calls me Cashy all of the time.
A PRODUCT OF
Born in California, but I moved away to the Dominican Republic when I was 7. I was raised there and in Oregon followed by some time spent in Spain in my teen years. I do idealized the idea of having grown up in one place with lifelong friends. A place you go home to. But I’m nothing but grateful for a childhood of travel.
ORDER OR CHAOS
Order over chaos every time. I believe chaos is a perception and that order is reality. I wasn’t always this way. Although I’m aware of the arguments that both are perception, I look for order, meaning, and purpose in things because it has led me to be a more hopeful and happier person.
I love well, give a lot, and hustle really hard.
Like any stripper gets into their career. Never aspired to be one, but somehow it happened and I’m having an awesome time. The story is much longer really and started when I was 18. I had graduated valedictorian of my high school and had my pick of 3 ivy league colleges. I began college and with no guidance in my life, I began to make poor choices. A year later found myself homeless. A Christian family took me in, clothed me, fed me and gave me much-needed guidance. I got a job at the front desk of a little salon one day a week. The people there were really supportive and somehow convinced me to start hair school. The only one available was an hour away and in a trailer. That’s where it all began. When I graduated I realized I still wanted more so I moved to London and trained at the Sassoon Academy. Shortly after, I wound up working for Sally Hershberger in NYC. After being fired from every salon I worked at, Marie Robinson sat me down to fire me but in a very unique way. She said the salon wasn’t for me but that she wanted to introduce me to her agent. At the time I was shooting every day I could with a photographer friend of mine and it was really distracting me from salon work but had allowed me to build a little portfolio. Fast forward a few years later and I was shooting my first Vogue cover.
“Wow… I suck and don’t know anything… I’m not sure I’m cut out for this.” I think I sum had that revelation every day for a while.
The experiences I’ve had because of this career have left me with an unreal amount of incredible stories. Life is all about the way you lived it, and this craft, this art form, this business, has given me a really beautiful life that I’m just insanely grateful for. I know that’s not an artsy answer but that’s really what I love most. Secondly, it’s the people. I have a network of friends whom I work with that I TRULY like. I go to work and am excited to see my friends and meet new ones. Third, the challenge. I bore easily. Probably the millennial in me but I’ll never call myself a master stylist because hair can’t be mastered. You can only master yourself. And if the best way I have found to do that, is to commit to humbly maintaining a beginner’s mindset. Whenever I start getting comfortable, I notice I start to suck. Lol
The shift in how careers used to be built to how they are built now. A very surprising lesson was that hating social media was only hurting me. I had to change my perspective to one of “how can I use this thing for some other purpose than creating a shrine to myself?”
Self-awareness and the willingness to change. I’m not going to say these are natural strengths of mine, but I work hard at them. First having a realistic view of self. It’s hard to grow when you think you’re awesome, or if you’re always playing the comparison game and getting down on yourself. Second, you can know that you’re a mess, and need to change, but not have the endurance to withstand the pain of change. If you’re a person who is willing to look in the mirror honestly and commit to growth and continual change, you can do anything you want in life.
My identity is not wrapped up in it. No accomplishment in hair is going to make me feel any different about myself. This has allowed me to take risks, and not fear failure. When you ARE your craft, fear of failure takes a stronghold and slows you down and often prevents you from doing the work that is risky, but is inevitably YOU! Fear can control what you say yes and no to… and we know that yes’ AND no, is how careers are built.
I’ve been really fortunate with my investing endeavors over the years. I own 3 companies outside of my hairstylist career and am continuing to invest in startups, real estate, lending, and ideas. When I’m not on set, my wife and I are running other companies in 3 states.
IDOLS & ICONS
Julien d’Ys. I met him in NY and he changed my life. Luigi. I’ve never met him, but he had huge stylist influence on me. James Pecis. I loved how he was the first fashion hairstylist I worked for that was really kind.
Air-conditioned, low humidity 😉 just kidding. On a boat in the Caribbean.
DAY IN THE LIFE
I have an obsessive personality and I can’t stop until I’ve done what it is I set my mind on. If I’m on set 12 hours, I’ll come home and work on marketing for my real estate business, or my custom motorcycle business in LA. There’s no such thing as a typical day. One day I’m in NY, the next Prague. One day, I’m spraying water on the hair all day and the next I’ve got 9 wigs to be prepped. You never know.
When I burned Natalie Portman. Or when I grabbed my water bottle in Mary-Kate’s apartment right before the Met ball, and the lid wasn’t screwed on and it spilled all over them and a 100-year-old photograph they had just purchased… yikes. Or maybe when I had used a whole bottle of hairspray on a girl and Guido said “that’s not doing anything honey!”
I have a wife and four kids whom I love more than anything. I own two investment Realty companies and flip several houses a month and the other squires long-term real estate holdings. I love motorcycles, and I’m a partner in a custom motorcycle manufacturer in LA. I love helping business owners and dreamers materialize and monetize ideas.
Google analytics and analytics, in general, has changed more than most artists know. Analytics have made what will get clicks, views, ad space, etc. It’s a science and it has greatly dictated massive changes in who gets hired for what job. Organizations and companies now have such strong social media analytics, that they have algorithms that can help predict which influencer/celebrity/hairstylist etc will generate the most interactions. I use these tools in some of my other business’ and they are incredibly powerful for maximizing returns, but they create such fast change based on mass behavior that it’s hard for the artist to keep up.
Maintain beginners mindset. And be nice to everyone. Not just those who can help you. That photo assistant just might make your career one day. Be relentless, in your work ethic. In the beginning, MEET EVERYONE. Your net worth is only equal to your network.
The L train.
photo: by Jeff Allen