First time I saw Demetra was for a photo shoot for our beloved Akira Mushi by Dennis. I had heard about her, but she was not at all what I expected. The girl is on fire! Super energetic and fun to work with, while making jokes all the time and goofing around. It was the most fun shooting I have ever been to. Afterwards I came across her Interview Project video and I was left speechless. Because this girl, in the midst of recession, decided to put things aside and focus on helping others in need. But you know, in the end, it’s what you do that matters and you let your work speak for itself. And Demetra ‘s work does really speak for itself.
You are a hairologist. What does this mean?
Well, it means I transform people’s looks based on their hairstyle. When you practice this job. you sit and listen to people for hours. They will talk about their boyfriends, their lives, their wives, everything. I guess it has to do with the fact that when you touch people, they feel they can trust you. And I am touching their heads for long periods of time, so they feel they can tell me everything.
What made you want to become one?
My mom had bought me this book called Femme Fatale. It’s mostly celebrities and models that have been completely transformed. Sometimes it is so hard to even guess who the person really is! I was so impressed by that book. And I had already enrolled in Cosmitology School. Somehow it clicked in my head that what I do, is more than color or hairstyle. It’s actually giving people confidence and self worth. I mean, everybody had insecurities. Most people feel insecure about their looks and that’s what it’s all about. It made sense to me. I want to fight those insecurities and help people gain their confidence.
Both men and women are insecure?
Yes, but women tend to be a bit more insecure than men. When a guy comes over for a haircut, I see his face, hair etc, do my thinking and tell him what I think he should do. The only thing I get is: ‘Do you think it will look cool?’ I say yes and that’s that! With women it’s a lot more complicated. I have to talk them through and they are pretty hard to convince. But I get my reward from women as well. It just comes a couple days later, when they call me up to tell me I was right all along.
Is it hard? Working by yourself in Greece?
It kind of is, but I am lucky, because my clients are 100% word of mouth. I do very little networking when I am out. But I love it, because most clients come over and the first thing they tell me is: ‘I trust you’. Then I ask them to name the top five things they don’t want to be done on their hair and I am ready to start.
What are the worst things we do on our hair? On our own.
A very bad thing we do is we sometimes color it at home. People don’t get that coloring is chemistry and you have to mix things according to the ingredients you have and the hair you are putting it on. Usually when you do it at the salon, it’s good. Nothing that happens there can harm your hair, as long as it is done in the right and professional way, because sometimes the people working on your hair may not know everything, or may be in a hurry and then you can get your hair into trouble. Also, we always forget to trim our hair. It need to be done every three months! Especially if you are trying to grow it out. I am not saying cut it, I am saying trim it. And last, would be using irons, – any kind, hot, flat, curling – without heat protection products.
What really impressed me about you is the fact that you are always looking out for ways to give back to your community. Your latest project, the ‘Interview Help Project’ is just amazing.
Thank you! I thought to myself one day: ‘What can I do to help my community. I mean, surely the 50 cents you give to the guy on the stop lights is not enough. Surely the clothes you give away are not enough. Or the extra food you may give someone on the street.’ And I wanted to do something in the realm of my profession. I wanted to make people feel better. And because our country is in this state, everybody walks with a frown to the ground and now is the time to join forces and do something for each other!
That’s amazing. So what exactly do you offer?
Well, if you are unemployed and just got yourself an interview, I give you a free blowout, a couple of hours before, so you can look good. I am fully aware of the fact that confidence often comes from what we see in the mirror.
When did you start this?
In October. And I think I will keep on doing it forever. Regardless if things get better or not, there will always be someone less fortunate who will need your help.
How are people reacting to this?
Its slowly going really well. I also have something similar for my clients. I offer them a free haircut, or blowout after a number of visits to my salon. But most of the time, they just tell me: ‘Oh, I don’t need the coupon. Save it for someone less fortunate.’ And it’s a really strange attitude. I mean, we have got to start letting people help us, or give us a gift now and then. Greeks are unfortunately a little too proud. It’s okay to accept help. It doesn’t mean you are nay lower. You are just accepting help.
That is so true. We really are proud.
You know my mom raised me saying: ‘I used to complain about having no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.”
Apart from the Interview Project, you are also sending hair to Locks of Love.
Yes, I have been doing it for ever. When one of your customers has really long hair and decides to change their style and cut it short, and the hair is 10inches or more long, I send it over to Locks of Love. They use it to make wigs for children with cancer. You know it’s sad, because I have met so many people in Greece who tell me that they used to have really long hair and one day cut it short. I always ask them if they sent it over to Locks of Love and no one has ever heard of it! If you are a hairdresser you need to know these things! Just because you graduated Cosmitology School, doesn’t mean your knowledge and learning stops there! Some things are worth finding out. And this particular is for a very good cause. And then they sent you a thank you card. It is very sweet to contribute like that.
You were born and raised in North Carolina, moved to Greece a couple of years ago and might be getting back to the States any time now. Is there something you would like to change in the way Greeks are behaving?
I with people would start helping each other out more. And people who do wrong to face the consequences, from politicians, to your neighbor. I just wish people were kinder. Greeks were famous for their kindness and open hearts and hospitality. I can’t see that any more. There are so many times I get out of the metro just to help an old lady find her way. I just hope these hard times won’t turn us into even darker people.
Do you have any wise words to share with us?
The truth will set you free.
The world is round. Whatever you do comes back.
It’s not only about where your dreams take you, it’s where you take your dreams.
Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.
A few comments on the things pictured and said above:
Demetra is the most hilarious photo shoot I have ever had. She is a natural. / Eleni Ilio did the make up for this photo shoot. She had never done a skeleton face before. I think she is a pro at it. / At this point I should add that I had no idea she was doing the Dia de los Muertos theme on me. She just said she had something fun in mind and I entered her house only to find her dressed up in flowers in her haid! / Demetra is a fan of Nike sneakers. Air Jordans mostly. Some, unfortunately, get eaten by her dogs. / She calls her scissors her money maker. The hair styling doll doesn’t have a name yet. / Her bed has what seems to be a million layers. She calls that her marshmallow. It really feels like one. / The stripped dress is by Akira Mushi. The black shirt with gold shoulder pads is by Hysteria Asteria.