His hands have worked magic on some of the most famous manes in the world: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Jennifer Lopez, Linda Evangelista. But Cuban-born Oribe Canales, 54, wants you to know that he's just an average Joe. He's frequented the same neighborhood barber in Miami for the past 18 years. You can call his sister — who works the front desk of his Miami salon — to make an appointment.
Oribe — he's referred to by his first name — was at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson last week to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of About Faces, the salon chain that has used and sold his products since his line launched, to give a hair demonstration and help style models for a hair and fashion show extravaganza.
He took some time between styling sessions with models and local personalities — WBAL's Deborah Weiner wore a hair piece once worn by Lopez for an updo — to talk to The Baltimore Sun about hair do's and don'ts, dream clients and overall beauty.
Question: Who is your favorite hair muse?
Answer: My favorite hair muse is … there are many of them; it depends on the decade. Rita Hayworth, through the '40s and '50s, she was amazing. Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Cary Grant.
Q: What hairstyle do you want to see banished?
A: I don't know. I like all types of hair. I think there is room in this world for everything. I think the more people individualize themselves, the better it is. So there is no hairstyle that I want banished.
Q: What celebrity has the best hair?
A: That would have to be Brigitte Bardot. She probably had the universal beautiful hair that almost every woman on Earth would look amazing in. There was a lot of it. It was soft. It was sexual. It was easy. It had every element to make a woman look beautiful.
Q: What about an up-and-coming celebrity with great hair?
A: There are so many beautiful girls out there. I think Scarlett Johansson is major. I love her. Megan Fox certainly is a beautiful, beautiful girl. There are a lot of them out there. It is interesting to see who will be the next hair muse of this decade.
Q: What hair product should every woman have?
A: I think that every woman should have the perfect hair product for them. Every woman is very different. The perfect product for one woman might not be the perfect product for another. So it is important that you go to your hairdresser and figure out what that one hair product is that will make your hair beautiful and glamorous, and work for you.
Q: What about an accessory?
A: I think every woman needs a great gold barrette to pull the bang back and kind of pin it there. That is a good investment. You'll have it for life.
Q: Is there any hair mistake that you have seen throughout the decades?
A: There are always mistakes. I'm guilty of doing one to Jennifer Lopez at the Oscars one year. I made her hair really huge. And it was kind of quite a controversy. Everyone hated it. I loved it. She loved it. ... I think the mistakes and flaws in life make life interesting.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for creating new styles?
A: Inspiration, you can get anywhere: at the corner store, in the airport, anywhere. I think what you have to do is be very keen and look around. It's all around us.
Q: What is your worst personal haircut?
A: I had a great assistant once who took the buzzer — she had learned this new trick — and she just shaved me down. It was horrible. I've also had my hair disintegrated before with a straightener. It just turned into paper.
Q: Whose hair do you want to style the most?
A: I just did Cher. And she was my top priority of doing one day. I got to do her for the Vanity Fair cover for December. She was more than I ever dreamed of. She's quite an amazing lady, a real star.
Q: Is there anyone else you would particularly enjoy working with?
A: I totally enjoyed working with Lady Gaga. I think Lady Gaga is the future. She's open to artists, and open to anything. She's a wonderful lady who is super bright and she is an art form. She's amazing.
Q: If the average Jane wants to get an appointment with you, what does she have to do?
A: It's quite simple. I live in Miami. I have a wonderful little salon in Miami. You call my sister, Grace. She works at the front desk. And it usually works out. I'm on the road a lot. But when I'm in Miami, I'm always in my salon. The average person is the one I totally enjoy doing because I can take what I'm doing to the stars, to the models, and all that, and bring it to life. It's quite easy.
Q: What's going to be hot in the coming months?
A: You are going to see a lot of different things. I personally like the Donna Karan campaign this fall. It's just gorgeous. There's no hair in it. It's just a beautiful, polished, kind of simple woman. She looks like she smells really amazing. And there is a vampire look to her that is quite intriguing. I love that look.
Q: What about hair?
A: Hair wise, it depends on where you live, and how much time you have. If you live in Florida with the humidity, it is better to have longer hair. If you are young and gorgeous, and easy, cut your hair off. Short hair looks really smart. It's not for everybody. … Otherwise keep it so that your hair has versatility. That's where it's at.