From 100 gecs to Dorian Electra to Rebecca Black, the current queer pop revolution is one of the most electrifying and exciting musical movements in recent memory. But alongside a shared love of electro-maximalism and envelope-pushing concepts, these artists also have one other thing in common — and it's Gregg Lennon Jr.
While Lennon only moved to LA this past year with his makeup guru husband Nick, he's already managed to become one of the scene's most sought-after hairdressers simply through word of mouth. But with hair credits on nearly every recent music video you can imagine and a client list that includes the likes of Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama, and Brooke Candy, it's safe to say that he's quite literally helping color this explosive moment in music.
So ahead of Lennon's plan to open up his very own salon, PAPER sat down in his salon chair to learn more about how he bleached, cut, and colored his way into becoming LA underground pop's best-kept hair secret.
How did you get started doing hair?
I started working in hair salons when I was in high school as a way to get free hair, if I'm being honest. It was also an environment that was supportive of young queer people. Growing up in Florida, having safe spaces was important and the hair salon was one of those places for me. That is what I hope to do in the long run: Make safe creative spaces for people. Feeling fabulous is so powerful.
What's your creative process like?
I am a huge history nerd, so I live for the research. References are key. Working with musicians is all about collaboration. Sometimes they throw ideas at you from amazing directions and translating that into a visual is so much fun! All people, hair types and hair colors are beautiful, and the appeal comes from the confidence in that. How do we tap into that energy? If a floor-length power mullet makes you feel strong and happy then we need more of that! If shaving your head is what does it then that's the T! Confidence is power. What I hope people take away from my work is that it has a sense of humor and makes people feel strong.
How'd you assemble such an all-star clientele?
I must have done something very good in a past life. There is the most fabulous community of artists working in music right now, and I feel so honored to be a part of it! I owe so much to Dorian Electra. They were the first of the scene to give me a chance. We worked together in NYC and then again as soon as I arrived in California for their video, "Guyliner." They started to introduce me around and the rest is history. Everyone I have worked with since coming here has been amazing. Queer artists are changing the game and I feel so lucky to have a front row seat for this moment. It is so cool to see artists collaborating and encouraging each other to make more art.
What draws you to working with musicians?
For the last 7 years, my husband and I managed a hair salon in NYC before deciding to head west to make it on our own. In NYC, fashion was the focus for us which is amazing, but working with musicians has my heart. I love that music is a world that can live outside of trend in certain ways. They create a world or a story and we get to collaborate within that space.
What's the biggest misconception about your job?
The biggest misconception about my job is that I only do wild colors. I love all hair! I live for a good classic blonde or a shiny brunette.
What's the most difficult part of what you do?
Working as an artist, no matter your medium, is hard on your body. It's emotional and demanding, and you want to push yourself to do more than you thought you could. I'm learning as I get older that you really do need to take care of your body.
What about the most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the look on someone's face when they know they look fierce. It doesn't matter if it's a pop star on set for a music video or a person getting a haircut in my chair, the feeling is the same. It feels good to make people feel good.
What's next for you?
I will be opening my first salon this year! I am so excited to be able to build my dream space to create. I love working with other artists and I hope to use this space to attract and collaborate with more magical people. Lots more music videos on the horizon. Definitely excited to travel again when it is safe to do so and see live music again. Stay tuned!
Photos courtesy of Gregg Lennon Jr.
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