Bravotv.com: What did you think of the finale? You disagreed with Linda and the judges.
I overwhelmingly had Matthew as the winner and Janine in second place and Brig in third. The reason for that—like I said on the show—was that Brig did no hair. Linda Wells told me she did do hair. She wrapped it in cellophane and made it feathered and made shapes with it, but that's not what the show is about. The show is about someone being able to do hair on people the very best. Brig took pieces of hair, wrapped them in plastic, and taped them to peoples' heads. In addition to that, Brig, based on what Henry Duarte had said halfway through the competition—he liked that one model where she was halfway through that one model with a piece of plastic over the top of the front of her crown with one piece of pink hair to taped to the side of her head—and stopped what she was going to do on that model and said that Henry said he liked it so I just thought I'd let it fly. That's the cardinal rule of sin when doing a fashion show. You have to stick to your guns and stay true to your concepts and your designs. Not only were her designs lacking in the world of hairstyling but they were not completed. Comparatively, if you look at what Matthew did, he used the model's hair in addition to hairpieces and completely changed the looks of these girls into sort of sci-fi supermodels. Brig was talking comic book in the beginning, but Matthew ended up with more of a sci-fi, comic book feel. Also, Matthew's models looked absolutely phenomenal. What he did with the skull caps where there might have been corner or an edge peeling up, he might have bitten off slightly too much. In doing a big fashion show, generally you have somewhere in the area of 5-6 hours to prepare hair, at the very least 3 hours. He could have finished had he been given the right amount of time to finish and had a team of 5 or 6 as we do as key hair stylists when we do fashion shows he would have finished. If you're going to do skull caps you are going to have someone there who knows how to do them. Generally, a big fashion or editorial stylist like myself does not do skull caps very well. I could do them about as well as Matthew. I would have had more time so mine might have looked better. The glue just didn't have enough time to set up. However, the fact that he was even willing to go there, in my opinion, just won it right out of the gate. I think that America will undeniably and overwhelmingly agree with me. Matthew won this competition by a stretch. He certainly wasn't squeaking in, he noticeably and obviously won it right out of the gate. The judges went in the other direction. I personally think they wanted to go against me! Kim Vo is a master colorist, he's not a master fashion hair stylist and he doesn't do fashion shows. However, I would seven days a week and twenty four hours a day send a client of mine to Kim Vo for color before I would have anyone else on the planet do it. Not taking anything away from his skill set or his level of expertise, but when it comes to being backstage at a fashion show doing models under the gun and on the clock, there isn't a whole lot that Kim Vo can really say in comparison to what I have to say.
My problem with Janine's hair was that she did it before in the competition. It's not about doing something again, she made a statement saying something about isn’t it about taking something great and making it better? It's not necessarily always about reinventing the wheel—she's right on that note—but when you're in a competition on a TV show that has 10 episodes and in on of them you've already done something you don't want to do it again. And the frizz thing, to me, it's a little boring. However she did it well. If Matthew wasn't there and I was the only judge she would have won it. I just don't think Brig did anything with regards to being a "shear genius." As far as Linda goes, arguing with me and saying that you can't do something edgy and beautiful at the same time... what I say to that is, Linda Wells, I do that every day seven times a day on every head I do, edgy and beautiful at the same time. Make an appointment with me and I'll show you edgy and beautiful on your own head. If you haven't had that experience, I recommend she call me and set up an appointment because it's kind of cool. There was a struggle and there was a battle for some reason and I didn't understand why. They thought maybe what Brig had done was innovative and different. If I built a Ferrari and made it look like a bicycle it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be the greatest Ferrari ever made just because it's different. Sometimes if something is too different it crosses the line and the margin of being wrong. That's my issue. Maybe if she had taken their hair and created sculptures and shapes with their own hair with volume and shape built into sculptures, rather than switching their hair back into ponytails and then taping hair on their heads. If she had built structures with their own hair, and then laminated that, that's a different story. Now we're talking about architecturally pure hair that becomes a sculpture. I've seen that done and it's incredible and very difficult to do.
Bravotv.com: Do you think that Matthew's hair was so big that it overshadowed the fashion?
I honestly don't, because whether or not that episode was about the fashion show and you were supposed to stay with the clothing, if I'm on this show I'm on this show to show people that I'm the best hair stylist in the world. I'm going to go make my hair shine and go with the clothing, and if my hair upstages the clothing, that's what I call a quality problem. I'm going to shoot my arrows high and go as cool and big and awesome and perfect as humanly possible. I think that's what he did. His hair looked cool. I think someone mentioned it being all over the place... but they all had a common bond—they were edgy, funky, had that zipper thing, and they were all from a similar kind of Mad Max era. In a fashion show, you don't have to do all mohawks or all ponytails. I've done 150 of them and I've had half of the girls up and half of them down. I've had one third, one third, and one third. A third up, a third down, a third back. As long as there's something that connects them and there was, there was their makeup and clothing. Their hair became their accessory. Somebody said something about accessorizing. Brig's hair became their accessory. They were like hats. It was like she put a scarf on them. You made a scarf with hair and cellophane and you put it on their heads and that's it. She might as well have just made hats because it had nothing to do with their hair. The biggest issue I have was because you didn't have to be a hair stylist to do what Brig did. You could have been a set director, a seamstress, or an artist — somebody just good with their hands. To make the cellophane wraps and stick them on the head and place them into a good shape, you didn't have to be a hair stylist. Everything I looked at during the season, I made sure you had to be a hair stylist to do that. There's that one thing that if you're good with your hands—if you can wrap birthday gifts well—you could have easily done what she did. If you don't have to deal with hair and how to lock hair down and secure it on someone's head and how to manipulate hair from straight to wavy and from wavy to straight, and how to give hair volume by way of teasing and adding hair into it, you couldn't have done what Matthew or what Janine did. I hope that everyone sees it my way. I hope America will tweet me to tell me they agree with me. I will say that I think Brig is an extremely talented, innovative, guns-loaded hair stylist. I do. For this competition, it was not right. As far as Matthew overdoing the hair and upstaging the clothing, I honestly don't think he did. I honestly think that Matthew made the clothing pop. That clothing is great and far out and edgy and cool and Matthew did hair that made it that much better.
Bravotv.com: Overall, did you have a good time this season?
It's a struggle because I'm a purist when it comes to the old school hair stylist and a really talented pair of hands and a sharp, keen set of eyes with great taste. I feel like that is what I was looking for this whole competition and I kept trying to help and not hurt the other judges along in that direction. However, that's my element and I'm so passionate about hair and I love being around people who are passionate about hair. Kim Vo loves hair. He loves shape and colors and hues and I love that about Kim. I've known Oribe for 20 years and he's awesome and every time we have a chance to hang out it's great. He was one of the people from early on who called me when Blow Out was on and said I just want to say congratulations and thank you for bringing hair to television. He basically called me the granddaddy of hair, patted me on the back, and said, "You did good, kid. Keep it going and I support you in anything you need." I've always been a fan and looked up to him so it was great to work with him again. Joel Warren was cool to work with. Orlando was nice to have around. I would have liked him to step it up a little and lay down the law. I would have liked to be the mentor because I thought the contestants needed a kick in the ass more than they got. I'm just now getting ready to develop a new show. Being on Shear Genius, for me, was a perfect opportunity to sort of get into the television thing of things at Bravo, which is kind of like my home. I started there and built a foundation. The opportunity to get back on TV and be on Bravo with the people was, of course, a great opportunity. I'm a fan of the show. I love the tradition of Shear Genius. I think it's a great idea and forum to be able to show our field and our craft and I think the show has great purpose to it. I was honored to be able to be there and share my experience, strength and hope, if you will, and help out with all that. They say great things are hard to come by. It was simple, but not easy. I had a great time but it was tough on me because I'm passionate and I'm a purist and I was trying to discuss with other judges about why. That was always the question: why? I said I know you think that, but trust me, that is not what America cares about and that is not what hair stylists think about. This is what they think and this is what they feel. That was the difficult part. I feel like one of them. I feel like one of those contestants. I'm kind of one of those guys because I did color for fifteen years and I do every kind of hair like they all do. I kind of felt like one of them going through it and judging them, so that is why it was difficult. On one hand I'd think to myself in the back of my mind, "Get it together. You can do this. Hurry up. Don't cut corners" and on the other hand I felt the same things toward the judges. I thought, "No, you don't understand, this is what they're trying to do and this is what they're trying to say." I thought Jon was the coolest and funkiest. I'll be honest with you, as far as any one of the hair stylist having the most potential, I really felt like Jon had hidden potential on that show. It was so masked by his whole vibe. He kept saying he's a colorist or he didn't do that kind of hair. I knew that he could, but he just didn't pull it out of his you know what. It hit him too quickly and he didn't know those would be the challenges. He really did have what it took. He was so great with color and cutting. He just needed to go for it with the styling aspects of each challenge and not be afraid to f--k up. He was afraid of something horrifying, which I understand. But if you're not comfortable with your styling ability and you're in a competition, the only thing you have left is to go for it. Otherwise, you're always going to fall short of everyone else. That's only doing colors and cuts and blow dry. As far as potential goes with color and personality, he was a blast. Everyone got involved in the drama but he stayed out of it. Nobody had any issues with him directly, but he was kind of helping everyone else.
Bravotv.com: What's next for you?
Keep your eyes and ears open because my new hair care line, Jonathan Antin Hair Care (not Jonathan product) will be coming out soon. And a new show!