Schmidtke gives director/producer Ryan Francis a Mitch makeover. For the step by step of her cut and style, see page 100 of the September 2011 issue of MODERN SALON. Handling men is a tough job, but Diana Schmidtke is happy to do it.
Take a look at almost any hot male celebrity on a magazine cover, in a movie, or on television and you’ve seen her work—Taylor Lautner, Orlando Bloom, Christian Bale, Jon Hamm, Ashton Kutcher—even Will Ferrell and George Clooney. She spends the day raking her fingers through the hair of our favorite handsome hunks. Yes, you could say she’s had her hands on all of them.
And, as it turns out, she’s just as fascinating as her clients.
CLICK HERE TO listen to Schmidtke's podcast interview with SALON TODAY Editor Stacey Soble!
Her Humble Beginnings Schmidtke readily admits that she hated high school, so she found a work program that enabled her to go to school the first half of the day, and work the second half. She was able to graduate high school early, and get her life started. Not a conventional path, but, as we found out, Schmidtke didn’t travel the conventional roads to become the successful freelance men’s groomer she is today.
After high school, Schmidtke did some modeling, and wound up at a hair show as a hair model. She saw how much fun the hairstylists were having, asked a few questions, found out that beauty school was only nine months long, and she enrolled. It seemed like a shortcut to a successful career. Little did she know how long the road to success would be.
Schmidtke’s career started at Trio salon in Chicago, first as an assistant, then as a stylist. During a vacation to the Caribbean, she fell in love with the ocean and warm weather. With less than a $1,000 in her pocket and a dream of working on runway shows and photo shoots, she headed to Los Angeles. Once there, she found a lack of fashion work, so she set out to make her mark. That was easier said than done. As she describes in her book, Shortcuts to a Successful Career as a Hairstylist or Make Up Artist in the Fashion and Entertainment Industry, she took any job she could to gain experience and be around the job she wanted.
SALON TODAY contributing editor and salon owner Karie Bennett recently caught up with Schmidtke and delved into her past and present in this candid and insightful oneon- one interview.
On getting her start…
Bennett: How did you begin focusing on men?
Schmidtke: The men thing really chose me. My lucky break came when an actor’s groomer didn’t show up. I was working in a nearby studio on another job, and the photographer came into the studio and asked if I could help them out. I jumped in and helped without question. The actor and his publicist were very thankful for my assistance that day. Next thing I knew, that same publicist requested my services for a press junket for the American Pie movie, working with Chris Klein and Jason Biggs. They are still my clients today.