An Interview With Jilea Hemmings
The occasional blow-drying and straightening is understandable, however, using excessive heat regularly is very detrimental to your hair. To the best of your abilities, be sparing with it. If you have to apply such amounts of heat to your hair, then invest in good heat protection products.
As a part of our series about “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dani Toma.
Dani Toma is an internationally renowned celebrity stylist whose work has taken him from Baghdad to Beverly Hills. Recently featured in a Hollywood Times profile, LUXURY STYLIST DANI TOMA SHARES HIS SUCCESS IN 2021, Toma takes it all in stride — ultimately, he says, it’s not the spotlight, but the artistry — and the satisfaction of his clients. Those clients, from celebrities who fly him to prepare them for high profile international events, to those locals lucky enough to visit his original home salon in Saskatchewan, couldn’t be more grateful — This globally quoted stylist is incredible at what he does.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Iwas born into a barbering family, my father owned both a women’s salon and a men’s salon in Baghdad, Iraq. Seeing this barbering work from childhood piqued my curiosity, and I went on to become more interested in the career as I got older — seemingly the family passion passed on to me as I grew up. At the age of 7, I began what would soon become a career by sweeping the floors in a barbershop full-time in Istanbul. Although this job was no dream job, it fostered the love of barbering and cosmetology that I had grown up with. I made connections and was able to watch and learn from some of the best barbers in the world!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I have had a ton of interesting experiences over the years. One thing for certain is, that the day I fell in love with my craft, things started to click and magic happened. I began working with some of the biggest brands in the world like WAHL, I became an ambassador for a high-end line Remy Ricos, and to top it all off, after I got licensed, I met my wife! Truly, it’s quite rewarding.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
A big “tipping point” in my career was when I got out of my comfort zone and started challenging myself to do more, but first I had to have the desire for more. Putting myself on big stages led me to win several competitions. Winning definitely gave me the validation I needed to know I got what it takes in this game. I would say that consistency and persistence is a major takeaway; it definitely pays off.
In your experience what were the most effective ways for your business to generate leads and sales? Can you share a story or give an example?
One of the biggest tools we have in 2021 is the power of the internet and social media. Once I put in the effort to obtain a good online presence, I made a lot of valuable connections and new clients. Understanding consumer behavior is another integral tool that has helped me convert leads into sales. I can say with certainty that traffic and revenue have increased exponentially when I became more intentional about consistently sharing my work on social media. In addition, the quality of content has a lot to say about the brand. That is why I am not only particular about posting content but posting the best quality photos and videos of my work; content that is representative of me as an individual, and my brand.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are a lot of people that have helped me along the way. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry. I would say growing up in the salon watching my Father and working under him had a big influence. That foundational experience sowed a seed of interest in me. As time went on, that seed grew into a deep passion for the craft. I learned all his tips and tricks, combined them with mine, and developed a unique style. I saw an opportunity that many failed to see and I took advantage of it.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
No one is above error. I can’t recall one mistake that would make headlines, but I have learned to see mistakes as learning tablets rather than outright failures. So the take-away from that is: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, just be willing to learn from them.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
Every endeavor has a possibility of failure; if you focus on that, then you’re setting yourself up for mediocracy and ultimately, disappointment. It’s important to have your mindset on success. However, it goes beyond just wishful thinking; you must be willing to put in time and effort. If you’re passionate about something and you want to succeed at it, you must be ready to go all in. I have been professionally certified for many years and I’m still learning. A lot of people want the lavish lifestyle without the labor. Sadly, that’s not how it works.
In conclusion, I believe that success is possible and achievable in every career path. Have a vision and see it through. Hone your skill, develop a work ethic, always be willing to learn, and trust the process.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you please share “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
Well firstly, Shampooing and conditioning regularly are essential. For a lot of people, shampooing is an obvious practice but they don’t realize that conditioning is just as important; it helps to close up the cuticle in order to prevent hair damage.
Think of shampooing as taking your clothes off for a nice bath and then think of conditioning as putting new clothes on for protection.
1. Avoid showering with really hot water. If you apply too much heat, it could result in hair shedding. Imagine the process of ‘defeathering’ a chicken; the feathers come off easily when the chicken is placed in hot water. It is advisable to shower with lukewarm water or even cold water. The implications of using excessively hot water go beyond just hair. Overly hot showers could result in dry skin and burns.
2. As much as possible, avoid vigorous towel drying… The weaves on the towels can get intertwined with the hair which can cause split ends, hair damage, and hair shedding. The best practice is gentle dabbing as opposed to vigorous rubbing. Also, embrace natural air drying or blow-drying. If you are using a blow dryer, don’t use too much heat.
3. The occasional blow-drying and straightening is understandable, however, using excessive heat regularly is very detrimental to your hair. To the best of your abilities, be sparing with it. If you have to apply such amounts of heat to your hair, then invest in good heat protection products.
4. Make sure to visit your stylist regularly for routine hair care and treatment.
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)+
- Here’s one thing I know for sure: No one feels bad after visiting their barber, so visit your barber for a nice haircut. A good haircut will make you look and feel good; it has a way of releasing those natural endorphins.
- Find the skincare products that work for you. People feel more confident and beautiful when they have great skin.
- Seek professional advice on how to style your hair. A haircut is great but the purpose is defeated when it’s not styled right.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Our society is all we’ve got and I absolutely believe in giving back. Devoting a few hours a week to help people who are sick or homeless, or in need is a movement that I think could bring a lot of happiness. Not everyone can afford a nice haircut, so I set out a few hours every week to go into the streets and even hospitals to give back in my own way. If people from different spheres adopt this, the world would indeed be a better place. Also, I believe that acts of good done in secret would be rewarded openly. Do it from the heart, not for the ‘gram’.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote is from the bible verse that says “Lean not on your own understanding”. God’s way of handling things can go above and beyond what we could ever imagine. That has shaped the way I live in that I have learned to trust in God for direction and clarity.
Another favorite quote of mine is, “Don’t limit yourself. The world’s yours to dominate.”
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. :-)
There are so many people I would like to have lunch with but I’d say Kanye West. I chose Kanye because I know can give him an outstanding hair tattoo — better than anything he has ever had. Also, we are both exceptional with our art so I believe we would have great conversations about music, and fashion, and styling.
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can follow me on Instagram at:
On Facebook at:
My website is:
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!