A wicked cut and a bold style; Holli Smith has the goods. Her radical style pioneered the industry, seeing her swing from strength to strength and collaborate with some of the world’s top publications and personalities. Right off the bat, Holli brought young models into the spotlight, helping launch the careers of many up-and-comers. Amidst all the jobs, she still finds time to kick back at her New York digs. Allday got the lowdown on her influences and fears, and how Holli wants to stamp her brand on the world.

What are your words to live by?

Mistakes are the experiences you need to understand who you are going to be.

What inspires your process?

My studio, wig heads, references hanging on walls, music, YouTube.

Who do you look up to?

Still, my old boss Guido Palau.

What is something you have learned about yourself through your craft?

That nervousness, anticipation and excitement feel like the same thing.

Who cuts your hair?

Mostly myself and sometimes my girlfriend.

How did you find your creative point of view?

I would say music has steered my tastes growing up and now.

Your idea of a challenge is…

Too many interpretations of an easy request.

How do you want your work to make people think or feel?

Strong (tough if you will) but easy.

“Mistakes are the experiences you need to understand who you are going to be.”

Where is your favorite place to be?

Home! Just moved and have a new studio space inside my home and can’t help but get lost in it.

What is the most fun you've had during a cut / style?

I STILL have the most fun shaving my best friend Kim Ann Foxman's head in various ways since 1998, every single time.

What is your biggest hope and biggest fear?

My biggest hope? That I am happy 85% in life than sad. (that feels like a fair percentage).

My biggest fear? That I am not in good enough shape to live life with out pain. 

If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

Oh whoa… I suppose the ‘70s because it was the first time people started collectively feeling/vibing themselves into new experiences because of the possibilities of new horizons instead of the planned life that society had made for them all the years before.

What mark do you want to leave on the world?

I want to be a woman hairdresser that has a chance to last a little bit longer than a male hairdresser does in this generation. I love that Odile has been such a strong influence and female voice for years. GO ODILE!!!

Overlay layout photography: Dario Catellani