For Marissa Marino, who's been a fixture on Selena Gomez's Revival Tour tending to her locks each night, it was always about hair. "I have been doing everyone’s hair from my mom and sister’s to my Barbie dolls since I was probably about seven." And once the Pantene celebrity stylist realized that tresses could be her career, Marissa's ascent to hair-styling super-stardom was set in motion.
A former first assistant to Hollywood favourite Ken Paves, Marissa has worked with the likes of Emma Roberts, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Jenna Dewan-Tatum and more - and her determination to excel started at a young age.
"I remember being at a sleepover and everyone knew how to French braid except for me. And so the girl who's sleepover it was, her aunt sat there with me and taught me," she says. "Then it became an obsession and I had to know how to do it well, so I would braid everyone and anyone who would let me [ Laughs]. So it really started with braiding."
That skill is serving her well with Selena, whose hair she braids in a matter of seconds between acts during the singer's stage performances. Plus, it's a perfect way to take your hair from the office to drinks with little fuss. "That braid takes literally 45 seconds to put in and then you pin a few little pieces around. Nothing these days is supposed to be perfect anyways, so if it's a little messy it looks better," says Marissa. "Always have a rubber band on you and maybe three or four bobby pins, just to be able to throw it up."
When she's not on the road sharing her food adventures, Marissa doesn't like to overthink her clients' 'dos, opting to let ideas for new styles flow more freely and in the moment. "I feel like that's when the best things happen," she explains. "When you're collaborating with the client and putting both your ideas together you get some magic."
Unless, of course, your client really wants a particular look - like Selena's recent move to lighter, layered locks with bangs. "She wanted to switch it up and she was begging for it [ Laughs]. We switched it up for her!" Marissa says. "It's just kind of her vibe right now."
And, of course, red carpets call for a whole lot of strategy. "It depends on what they're wearing and the weather outside," she says of her thought process. "It happens a lot of times on awards show days that it ends up raining, so you'll see everyone with ponytails and slick buns and updos."
Another issue this time of year? Frizz! "I always say that if you don't want your hair to frizz up when you step outside make sure it is 100% completely dry, because if there's even the slightest bit of moisture left it will frizz as soon as you leave the house." Her secret weapon is Pantene Pro-V Style Series Airspray in Level 2 hold ($8.49 at well.ca). "Not only is it alcohol free, but it's soft enough that it keeps your hair in place but you can still run your fingers through it."
Now get to work perfecting Selena's perfectly imperfect braid!