As Editor in Chief of American Salon, Kelley Donahue reports on all aspects of the professional beauty industry, including salon business-building strategies, seasonal hair and fashion trends, salon services and techniques, and timely issues impacting manufacturers, schools, salons and distributor principals. In addition to conducting photo shoots--one of which was the recipient of an ABBIES Award for Best Magazine Cover--Donahue also travels extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, sourcing out new trends and representing American Salon at major industry functions and educational events.
If there’s one thing Ally Kubalak loves, it’s a good challenge. “Stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of the scariest things you can do, but it’s necessary in order to grow in life,” says Kubalak, who has been busy doing just that, including learning new looks and breaking into the editorial hair realm. “Challenging yourself is the best way to keep those creative juices flowing,” she says.
✂ —Kelley Donahue
What inspires you?
My peers, fashion and travel.
My love for hair started when I was young—I was constantly on a quest for the perfect ponytail and would even cry after haircuts because they were nothing like I envisioned in my head. High school found me constantly changing my look or creating updos on friends. Landing my very first job as a salon receptionist sealed the deal. I was hooked.
I attended Aveda Institute Minneapolis before landing at Juut Salonspa, where I styled hair for eight years. These days, I work at Bespoke Hair Artisans in Edina, MN, and am a tech artist with Kérastase and Shu Uemura.
The 1970s—I will forever love Brigitte Bardot’s bouffant with bangs, big disco Afros and headscarves.
My Mason Pearson brush, Shu Uemura Art of Hair Texture Wave and Kérastase Laque Dentelle hairspray.
Akemi Tamaribuchi! She wears many hats and has accomplished so much in her life and career, yet she’s remained so humble and genuine.
Achieving balance. I love taking on new projects and am on the lookout for new opportunities, so much so that I often end up with too much on my plate.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I EVER GOT
Someone once told me, “Always stay true to who you are because if you lose touch with yourself, then none of it is worth it.” That really stuck with me.
Being invited to work with the Kérastase team backstage at New York Fashion Week. At first it was rather intimidating; I wasn’t convinced I belonged there, but once I got into a rhythm and routine, I was on top of the world. The icing on the cake was I got to meet some great hair and design icons.
I’m looking forward to settling into my new role as a tech artist with Shu Uemura and Kérastase. I’ve learned so much from some of the best artists in our industry and can’t wait to share that with my peers.