The expert hands behind Lana Del Rey’s Hollywood glamour looks reveals how she got started in the hairdressing industry…
What does it take to become an A-list and award-winning session stylist? As the hands responsible for creating all of Lana Del Rey’s hairstyles in her music videos, on the red carpet and beyond, Anna Cofone has worked her way to the top and established herself as one of the most exciting experts in her field.
Voted by British Vogue as ‘one to watch,’ she’s worked with the likes of Chanel, helped assist Sam McKnight on Emma Watson's Burberry campaign and also worked with fellow hair legend Eugene Souleiman to produce a portfolio of work that most would envy.
We caught up with Anna to ask her what it’s like to be Lana Del Rey’s go-to stylist, her top career advice and for a glimpse into her journey so far to provide ample inspiration should you be looking for jobs in hair and beauty...
GTG: Could you give us a glimpse into your job and how you got into the hair industry?
AC: My job is to mainly style hair for a variety of jobs and projects including red carpets, fashion editorials to music videos as well as cutting my lovely clients’ hair at the luxurious Josh Wood Atelier .
Surprisingly my career didn’t begin in hairdressing. After finishing school, I chose to study Performing Arts, which is where I got a small insight into the world of hair and makeup for theatre and film. Once I'd completed the course and after a short stint singing in a Latin jazz band, I decided to pursue a career in hairdressing.
Although it meant starting again, I was determined. I secured an interview at top salon, Haringtons. After qualifying in 2000, I won L’Oréal Professionnel’s Talent Spotting competition, for the most talented UK stylist under 25 which was amazing as I got a real insight into the world of session styling. In addition to running a busy column, I was soon putting on shows, hosting seminars, directing photoshoots and before long, I’d worked my way up to Artistic Director.
I moved to London in 2008 to start my freelance career and spent every spare moment doing test shoots. Determined to learn from the best in the session world, I was lucky enough to get the chance to be on Sam McKnight’s teams for London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Over the next 3 years, I just put myself out there to assist as much as possible to learn new techniques and develop my own style. Getting the chance to assist other industry greats including Christiaan, Julien Dy's, Eugene Souleiman, Raphaël Salley and Samantha Hillerby was so inspiring!
GTG: What does a typical day look like for you?
AC: Every day is so different; it’s really hard to describe a typical day and no week is the same either, which is what I absolutely love about my job. A working week normally consists of an admin day to catch up on emails, updating my website and Instagram and Twitter profiles; social media is so important in this industry.
I also spend every Monday at the Josh Wood Atelier in Holland Park, where I tend to private clients. There'll be several shoots for either a magazine, brand or celebrity and I always spend a day at my studio in Bethnal Green, Studio Society, which I share and run with my partner Felicity Ingram, an amazing beauty photographer. Everything is constantly evolving in this industry, so I will always make sure to take time to research trends and news around my other work.
GTG: What's it been like working with Lana Del Rey? What's been the most exciting project that you've worked on together?
AC: The most rewarding thing about working with Lana has been being a part of a creative team and creating something that has a long lasting effect. It’s amazing to see how the looks we’ve helped cultivate affect the general public and how so many young boys and girls are inspired by her look. It’s really humbling as a hair stylist to see so many people at her shows wearing the Hollywood waves and floral crowns. The joy of working with a musician and someone like Lana is that creative process.
The absolute highlight so far has been shooting her music videos in particular; National Anthem - it was pulling on the story of the Kennedys and the assassination, which meant the look had to be well researched and the styling, perfect.
GTG: What’s the most challenging task you have worked on?
AC: This had to be on the Ride music video - we were really working against the elements. The look was a late 80s, early 90s-inspired style of tight curls, but we were shooting in the Valley of Fire in Las Vegas in 40 degree heat and 80 percent humidity so it was all hands on deck to re-curl the hair between shots and make sure it looked exactly the same. There was a real pressure there, but that’s what I thrive on.
GTG: What motivates you?
AC: My motivation has always been wanting to get the most out of life. What motivates me is that we're all capable of creating our own success by working hard and I strongly believe that everything you put in, you get out. In my work and hairdressing, what keeps me going is how much I love producing imagery. I've always been a really visual person and I'm very passionate about creating visual imagery, which is why I love doing photoshoots and editorials so much.
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GTG: How do you organise yourself?
AC: My life is a bunch of lists and moodboards, which all come together with the help of my assistant, who I wouldn’t be able to function without!
GTG: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to do what you do?
AC: My main advice would be work hard! One of the keys to success is showing up not just for a job, but also to your goal. Commit to it and over time you’ll see all your hard work pay off. You need to put yourself out there, assist as much as you can and test even more! Learning on the job is so important; people skills are just as integral as the skill of creating beautiful hair. Always, always be punctual, reliable, respectful and committed.
Anna is available by appointment only on Mondays at the Josh Wood Atelier . www.annacofone.com . Follow Anna on Twitter: @annacofone.