Rolando Aqui spent fourteen years as a dancer and dance instructor before trading in his dance shoes for shears. Now he has been cutting hair for nearly a decade, and during that time he has amassed quite the resume. Rolando entered the fashion world with the Prive Runway Team during New York Fashion Week. Since then his work has been published internationally for editorial, TV and production work, and he also sees clients at one of Los Angeles’ hottest salons—The Well. In the Fall of 2015 he won the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to train with the elite Sassoon educators on precision cutting. Bangstyle called Rolando “one of our favorite artists,” and he has also been featured on Wella Education, American Salon, and SebastianWNA. He was also the first-time winner of the Men’s Hair Cutting Competition in 2014 in Las Vegas.
BCL: You won the Vidal Sassoon scholarship in Fall 2015. What was it like going to the Sassoon Academy?
RA: I was excited and ready to meet some of Sassoon’s finest cutters and colorlists! It was an amazing experience building new friendships with staff and classmates.
BCL: How did winning the Beauty Changes Lives scholarship affect your life and career?
RA: It helped me tremendously with form, structure, and how to execute myself in full effect. It helped me be confident knowing what I learned from Sassoon.
BCL: How do you balance your editorial career with working in a salon?
RA: I work three days in a Salon called The Well. The salon is a very diverse, open salon, that welcomes freelance artists. It can be a little tedious, but I try and book all my side jobs on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. But if that does not work, I will go in to take care of my clients and then go to my shoot. I have done that a few times where I would leave a shoot to come back to work in the salon, then end my day with shooting an editorial.
BCL: What advice do you have for new hairstylists who aspire to do editorial work?
RA: Find a few photographers that interest you and really study their work. Contact them and say you would love to shoot, and hopefully collaborate if they are interested. Keep pushing yourself if you get turned down, and get back on to the next artist you like, and so on. Find models that want to test as well.