Growing up on a tropical island, I spent much of my time outdoors. Whether it was playing sports, going to the beach or playing outdoor gigs, hair styling just wasn't really a priority for me. Although I cared about how I looked, practicality always seemed to get the best of me…that, and the not so flattering early 2000's hairstyles. Having short hair was certainly easy, but I knew I wasn't reaching my stylistic potential. I was always curious about what other options there were for me and that would make me feel more polished and trendy.
Fast forward ten years, after going through major life events such as: college, getting married, becoming a father, working as a music producer and becoming a realtor, I had yet to change up my style. I finally reached the breaking point when I found myself in a rut stylistically, but more importantly, generally in life.
Moving to Nashville and diving into the music scene quickly made me realize that appearance mattered. I decided to pull the trigger and reach out to a stylist, Jesse Linares, to discuss my options. Previously, my approach to dealing with my hair was very extreme. Either I kept it super short so I didn't have to mess with it or I let it grow out without proper maintenance. I didn't really know my hair and definitely wasn't in control of it.
Sitting down with Jesse radically shifted my relationship with my hair. He thoroughly educated me about the right way to take care of it in terms of how and when to get it cut, as well as the proper tools and products to use to style it. Together we explored and discovered the different directions we could take my look, and after we nailed down a new one, things took a 180-degree turn for me. Everyone noticed the difference right away and it changed a lot of things.
Now, I'm not saying that your physical appearance should determine who you are, not at all! However, being satisfied, content and proud of the person in the mirror definitely contributes to a sense of confidence. My more put-together exterior seemed to bring out what was already shifting within me. Having a healthy self-esteem allowed me to walk into auditions knowing that not only was I competent talent-wise, but my look matched the part. In a very competitive and appearance focused industry, I was more prepared mentally, physically and spiritually to achieve my goals.
I can confidently say that following a simple routine of styling and heeding the advice of a seasoned hair professional played a huge part in shaping the mentality that got me to where I am today. Now, whether I'm on stage playing guitar in front of 12,000 people or meeting with a client to help them buy a house, my look represents me well. It conveys my personality, attention to detail and finesse. I only wish I had changed it sooner.
Hair Stylist Jesse Linares. Sam Villa ArTeam Member and Stylist at Lunatic Fringe Salon (Nashville)
When I first met Miguel, he was certain that because of his coarse unruly hair texture, he couldn’t grow his hair into a trendy style. I convinced him otherwise and he grew some hair for us to play with.
A common mistake when flat-ironing short hair is grabbing hair indiscriminately and pinching the ends with the iron. Work with a plan, sectioning the hair into manageable areas (no more than half an inch at a time!). Use the iron with small wrist movements to complement the look — not just to pull the ends straight. Proper manipulation can create volume while straightening, disciple that one unruly curl, or finally cover up that cowlick.
I then taught Miguel how to use the Sam Villa Signature Series Light Professional Ionic Hair Dryer, which is really small and light with a powerful motor, so it’s easy for people to maneuver.
I also showed him how to use a long cutting comb to press his hair down and closely follow with the dryer, using the concentrator nozzle to focus the airflow into the hair directly behind the comb. The key is to move the pair slowly enough to really focus the heat and air into the hair for shaping (if it gets too hot, you have to move a little faster!)
Once the hair is completely dried into shape, I had him repeat these motions using COLD air to set the shape in place. He then finishes with his favorite finishing products. This styling confidence has opened up doors for him into different looks, and he is now always excited to talk about what we're going to do next.
For more on taming coarse hair, see our article: Tame Coarse Hair: Flat Ironing Guide for Men
Miguel Perez was born and raised on the beautiful and sunny Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. From the age of five he began cultivating one of his main passions by studying classical guitar. Throughout high school and college, Miguel played and recorded with many bands in Puerto Rico and Latin America. Six years ago the opportunity arose to move to Nashville. Along with his wife and son he took the leap of faith. After six years in TN, his family has grown and he now has one boy and two girls. In addition to his real estate business, he actively produces for up and coming artists and tours with American Idol alum Danny Gokey.