Danny pato on hair, humility & happiness
D&M Hair Design may sit in Auckland’s trend-setter suburb of Ponsonby, however, you won’t find an air of beauty industry superiority, despite the salon’s many successes.
Stay a while and you’ll soon realise that it’s love, passion and a deep interest in people that are the fuel for the salon’s many successes. Spending an hour or two at this much-loved hair sanctuary kind of feels like you’ve been given a big hug that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy—with the bonus of having your hair cut, curled and coiffed to a level rarely experienced.
At the helm is Danny Pato (and his business partner, fellow hair-God Michael Sisaengrath), a stylist who lives and breathes his art; coupling it with a genuine love and care for his clients.
So, it’s little wonder Danny Pato is celebrated—by clients and the hairdressing industry—for his talent. He is New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year for the fourth consecutive year, a feat never achieved by any Kiwi stylist—until now.
Can you tell me a little bit about your hairdressing journey, up until now?
I grew up in the Mediterranean and Middle East surrounded by lots of women, heaps of sisters and aunties with immaculate style and hair, which planted the seed in me. I was inspired by design, style, beauty, art, music, pop culture, film and fashion. I couldn’t get all of those at once so for some reason I thought hairdressing could touch all of these things. And it has. When I look back on my career, I have reached these things being a session stylist working in magazine editorials, catwalk shows, music videos, celebrities, fashion films and advertising jobs.
You once told me how your dad was a big influence on how you do business. How so?
I’m quite extroverted as a person, whereas my dad was a man of few words. He taught me to listen and to follow my gut.
I never forget my Nana always telling me to treat people how you want to be treated, speak to people how you want to be spoken to, be kind and don’t just, and that’s the way I try to live my life.
How important has passion been along the way?
Haha, that makes me laugh only because on my wedding day, the speeches describing my husband were like “kind, calm, smart, witty, driven, intelligent” while the only thing anyone said about me was “passionate”! For me it’s what gives me the drive to keep going, to give everything I have to my clients and my team, and to creating new things.
Who in the industry inspires you and why?
Davide Bolatti, the head of Davines Sustainable Beauty, an Italian family-owned professional hair product company that D&M primarily works with. David truly is making the world a better place though our industry. He continues to do so much for the environment, his people and his local communities, and inspires conscious hairdressers around the world to do the same. His purpose for Davines? To be the best for the world, creators of a good life for all, through ethics, beauty and sustainability.
Whom outside the industry inspires you and why?
Nelson Mandela for forging for peace and unity against all odds, Steve Jobs for redesigning the way we live with technology, and ground-breaking architect Zaha Hadid for breaking moulds and creating magic.
Does your vision for the awards each year keep you awake at night?
Yes it sure does. Sometimes it happens in the middle of the night, or walking down the street, watching a movie, being in nature, travelling to a different culture, or just people watching in general. My brain is sort of always on and creativity happens at all hours.
was consecutive wins ever your goal?
Definitely and outcome of my passion! I am that kind of person, an artist – I’ve got heaps of creative ideas in my head and I love telling stories. To bring my stories to life, I get to collaborate with a bunch of other creative people—photographers, makeup artists, stylists, videographers, illustrators. I feel so lucky to be able to share stories through my creativity, and it’s a bonus that sometimes the awards judges connect with and recognise the work.
How do you stay so humble?
This makes me smile because I’m just Danny from the block! Accolades and praise are nice for sure, but they don’t define who am, they’re just part of my journey. I never forget my Nana always telling me to treat people how you want to be treated, speak to people how you want to be spoken to, be kind and don’t just, and that’s the way I try to live my life.