The 5er: Owner/Hair Stylist Benjamin Mohapi with Salon Benjamin
The Brits are coming to LA! Wait a minute, they have arrived and in a big way. With "they" being Hair Stylist and Owner of Salon Benjamin, Benjamin Mohapi. This gorgeous, art gallery-esque salon is located in West Hollywood and described in Vogue as "...an English Gentleman's club...feels more like a friend's quirky cool apartment..." Salon Benjamin could put one in a fabulously-laced, sensory overloaded experience covering all bases from listening to eclectic music, viewing art to checking out antiques and unique books.
As a teen, Mohapi moved to London from Wales and worked in some of the UK's top salons such as John Frieda, Nicky Clarke and Daniel Gavin. From there, he would assist some of the biggest hair stylists to further down the line fine tuning his craft to eventually branch off on his own. "The 5er" checked in with Mohapi to find out what was one of his most challenging hair styles to accomplish, what summer hair style he finds sexy (and you might be shocked!) and what he misses most from London.
Your salon is gorgeous - like an art gallery. Did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration?
The design was a collaboration, but all the details are mine. I really wanted to invoke the qualities of an old stately home, the kind in which the original salons first took place.
Was coming to LA and setting up your own salon a life long dream?
No, not at all. I came to LA four years ago to continue my session career, but decided very quickly that I would like to create a base for myself and start teaching people the skills that I was fortunate enough to be taught myself.
I know working on shoots you encounter some crazy scenarios - from music videos to fashion shoots. Can you recall one of the craziest hair styles you've ever had to concoct and who did you work with?
One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do is create a four-foot high wig. It took me over a week to build and was only used for about ten seconds.
Probably the best times I’ve had have been on promotional trips working with different pop bands. I’ve done things that I could never have dreamt of when I was training to be a hairdresser. From helicopter rides to African safaris, touring the fashion houses of Milan and staying in the finest hotels in Paris, this job has truly shown me an amazing time.
In LA, everyone rocks Kardashian curls or beachy waves, what's the perfect summer 'do that you're loving these days on women?
I’m loving it when they cut it off. The nothing hairstyles of LA are coming to an end. Fashion is definitely moving more toward distinct shapes and more sophisticated lines. You only need to look to the more fashion forward celebrities to see what’s coming.
Model Karlie Kloss
What's the one thing you miss from living in the UK? I know it's not the weather, right?
Architecture and food. Most people think the food in the UK is terrible, but within the last ten years the UK has gotten some of the best restaurants in the world and a food culture that is truly rich and diverse. LA is fast catching up, however, and it’s food, art and fashion scenes are changing and improving at an accelerated rate. The next ten years will see LA become one of the major cultural players in the world, and it’s for that reason that I love being here. It’s a really exciting time to be in this part of the world.