Ricardo Rojas is painting the town red one (hair)brush at a time. The Argentine packed up for New York City with $70 in his pocket in 1990 and despite not knowing what lied ahead, he just knew the concrete jungle was where he belonged. Upon arrival, he landed in Times Square, not too far from where he now has an apartment and built his almost 30-year career. “I left my life and wasn’t offered anything,” the celebrity hairstylist, who calls Eva Longoria and Hilary Swank clients, tells HOLA! USA. “I was naked here. I didn’t know the adversity that was coming up but there was something calling me to New York.”
Ricardo and Eva pose together before she hits the red carpet
Call it fate or, more appropriately, determination, he gave up his successful salon Shampoo in Córdoba, Argentina to pursue his American dream thanks in part to our parent company and magazine. “My window to the world was ¡Hola!” he says. “I wanted to be in New York because I would read the magazine in the salon, and it was just so glamorous.”
On his path to now launching his own line of haircare products and hair extensions, which is inspired by his family roots and can be found at Neiman Marcus, Ricardo has worked alongside the upper echelon of stylists –Henri Elfassy and most significantly in his life Oribe Canales. “Oribe was my hero, my everything,” he notes of his late friend and employer for eight years. “I felt so terrible that he passed. He opened up the doors for me.”
Keep reading about how Oribe inspired this Glamgetter, what it was like working for Donatella Versace and why his products have the power to improve and enhance your hair.
HOLA! USA: You mention Oribe was your mentor. What did you learn from him?
Ricardo Rojas: “I learned from him that whatever your situation is, you show up to work. I learned how important it is to have a presence; you have to be articulate with your hands, and you need to be truthful to your vision.”
Describe your first meeting with Donatella Versace…
“I met Donatella through my really good friend Enzo at the launch of Francois Nars. The next day I had a message from him telling me to meet them at the St. Regis for coffee. I remember seeing her in all black with her long blonde hair. She made a joke that I was from Argentina but didn’t speak Italian. The next day her assistant called and asked if I wanted to do her hair. I freaked out and grabbed my little bag. I didn’t know what to wear.”
What did you learn from Donatella?
“With Donatella, I was one of her personal hairdressers. I learned from her whatever you do, you need to be real to the job. Donatella was, I appreciate how she went from, tragically, she went from the muse of Gianni to the designer. I saw how she interacted with her guests, friends, and family.”
Ricardo and Donatella worked together for several years
You are also close with Tommy Hilfiger. What about him inspires you?
“I say to [Dee] his wife, ‘I want to be like Tommy.’ I want to have that drive. If somebody tells me, I want to be creative like Karl Lagerfeld but have the drive of Tommy Hilfiger and keep the spirit of Oribe.”
What made you want to create the Ricardo Rojas haircare line?
“Everybody has their own concept and ideas. My idea was related to yerba mate. I do believe in the ingredient – it’s a power ingredient. It has antioxidants. I drink mate every day. My sister would pour a little bit of the tea into the last rinse. It’s not popular in the United States but very popular in South America – Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. They use the mate for health; they use it to stay awake. With hair, it gives maximum shine. It will create this lift and movement. It has an amazing powerhouse of antioxidants.”
Baño de crema mask, $55, ricardorojas.com
You had mentioned it reminds you of your mom…
“The scent of the line I created was inspired by Azhares. My city is called the Garden of Argentina, Tucumán. They have all the trees, and by August, September, there is the blossom of Azhares, and it smells delicious. The whole line is for my mom.”
Who is the Ricardo Rojas woman?
“She is chic, sexy and has effortless beauty. She is effortlessly elegant. Your beauty is in your lifestyle. That’s how you should treat yourself, your hair and skin.”
The celebrity hairstylist celebrates his new hair extension line in a playful way
Who is your dream client?
“Angelina Jolie. She is a movie star, a humanitarian, a mother –someone who seems so strong.”
Favorite look you’ve done on a client?
“It was a few effortless looks that I did with Naomi [Campbell] at amfAR in NYC. I did a look on Hilary Swank for the Governor’s Ball; it was silky and very ‘70s.”
You’ve accomplished so much. What is your next dream?
“My new dream is be truthful with myself. It sometimes takes a little while to stop and see where I am and be in touch with myself. I think I’m facing that now. I do a lot of yoga to be in touch with my feelings and thoughts. I meditate. It’s not about money; it’s how I want to express myself. Now I did [this line] and now I feel like the next, it will be to pass on to the new generation with master classes. More so to teach the craft. Success is having the thought and doing it. I thought about coming to New York, and I did. I show up for me.”
Here at HOLA!, we believe in highlighting those breaking boundaries and creating change in the beauty industry. History shows Latinas that we were and still are pioneers when it comes to the business of belleza, which is why we’re spotlighting them with our weekly segment of #HOLAGlamGetters. They’re born beauty entrepreneurs, unapologetic and fabulous. They’ve used their passion for beauty to fuel their journey to success. But, ever wonder how they got there? In a world where one’s highlight reel is on replay only showcasing the glitz and glam of creating a business, we’re keeping it real with our glam-star.