Arts & Culture » The B-List

Splitting hairs



Do the curtains match the carpet? Is your boyfriend gay? There are certain complex truths in life that only your hairdresser knows for sure. Naturally (or maybe not so-o-o-o naturally), that's why little tabloid heads like myself are so drawn to the mecca of conditioned knowledge owned by the rare breed of "hairstylists to the stars." They have all the answers. And, they have the bleach to wash them away.

On the horn -- somewhere just below my roots and over that peculiar hair growing on my neck ... oh, yeah, in my ear -- is celebrity stylist Luke O'Connor. He's of the famed, if not vain, Beverly Hills hair salon Lukaro. Luke's just wrapped (literally) work on Ice Princess Tara Lipinski as she embarks on the "Stars on Ice" figure-skating tour, coming to town this month.

And who wants to talk to her, anyway? I hear she's a bitch.

But I love Luke. I feel like he's burning my scalp every time he turns a phrase, Pavlov be damned. Currently, he's the representative hair fingerer for heat-activated drugstore bessies ThermaSilk, and lending a posh credibility to the under-four-dollars set. He's chatty, he's nice, and he knows what an enemy humidity can be.

Tell me, Luke, how did you get to be so perfect? How did you become a "hairdresser to the stars"?

"I just made it up. It sounds good," he layers. "I've been doing this, like, 28 years. But I got into the entertainment industry just 15 years ago."

Hmmm, time flying. Who was your first?

"Believe it or not, 'How's-my-hair' Gary Shandling," he bomb drops. "Do you know him?"

I'd rather not admit it. His face is so ugly, I forgot he had hair. Anyhoo, Luke's work with Shandling led him to the flybacks and split ends of none other than hair goddess Farrah Fawcett, and she got him into the hair union. That's right, there is a hair union.

Are there meetings of the hair union? I dream.

"Yes. I never go," he ditches. "But I did just win an award from them. The makeup artist and hairstylist guild award for television and film."

For who?

"For the show "Will & Grace." I work on Debra Messing."

Oh, who doesn't. Didn't People magazine just pan her for strapped boots? Oh, the fickle media!

"Yeah, I know, but then if you read closely," he offers -- because I never do -- "the other stylist that critiqued [her] said she still looked sexy as hell."

This foray into checkout journalism leads to a clenched-teeth discussion of People's "Behind the Seams" columnist, super-fey Steven Cojocaru, a gregarious gossip who flirts with Matt Lauer on Today when he's not living in Melissa Rivers' closet ... or something.

"Do you know him?" seethes O'Connor.

I am him.

"Because he just made up some big story about me," he crows.

No he did not! I pretend.

"Yes he did!" he doesn't.

Omigod! He's such a bitch!

"He said that I got really huffy over a blowdryer on the set with Debra Messing and Megan Mullally," he huffs. "It was a completely fabricated story."

Exactly what is a fabricated story? The answer always escapes me. But the questions never do, so how does an A-list (ahem) hairstylist get involved with a shampoo that your pudgy aunt uses?

"They sought me out and asked me if I would be interested in checking out their new line," he recalls. "It wasn't even out yet. It hadn't been launched. I think that they were impressed with my work with Brooke Shields. At that time, I was with Brooke Shields a lot."

Oh, who wasn't.

"I was like, 'Well, what is the product?' And they couldn't tell me because it was top secret. It had a code name that was really cool."

Ooooooh, what was it?

"GB2," he duds.

Um, that is really cool. Was Tara Lipinski cool?

"She is so-o-o-o sweet," he oozes.

Doesn't she have a reputation of not being so-o-o-o sweet?

"Y'know, that's what I thought, but once I met her we became friends," he schmoozes. "She's very focused with her skating, and she wants to pursue an acting career. Her exercise regime -- unbelievable. That girl is so strong and so agile."

But ... she's a figure skater. Any other skaters on your resume?

"I worked with Scott Hamilton ... when he had hair."

Oh dear. You've got your Scott Hamilton bald to your Elvis Stojko mullet, I survey. Do mullets ever employ hairstylists?

"No-ho-ho-ho," laughs Luke. "What's the guy's name, Elian or something?" (Try Ilia Kulik, dear.) "He could possibly bring the mullet back; he's such a great skater! I'd like to get my hands on him."

Ewww. Change the subject. Change the subject. Change the subject.

So, um, Debra Messing uses Thermasilk, too?, I inquire, feigning revelation and washing the mullet out of my brain. Not our Grace! She's a drugstore lady!

"You should see her shower," he pipes. "Er, not that I have!"

Oooooh, should I print that?

"Don't be Scott Cochahoochie or whatever!" he coochahoochies.

I already am.

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