Greek Engineer-turned-Hairstylist Finds Career Success in New York and Bollywood

Celebrity Hairstylist Yianni Tsapatori. Source: Yianni Tsapatori’s Instagram

Engineer-turned-celebrity hairstylist Yianni Tsapatori has made a big name for himself in Paris, New York, and Bollywood, and is sought after by famous celebrities worldwide.

“It’s so funny that I am part of the industry now,” he says, recollecting his memories of watching Bollywood movies with his mother back in the 1980s, in Kozani, the charming city in northern Greece.

“It’s a crazy combination,” Tsapatori admits in an recent interview he had with The Hindu, a newspaper in India.

Tsapatori is an award-winning hairstylist who is currently based in New York, but he was born and raised in Greece. Both his mother and sister were hairdressers, so he was introduced to this occupation at an early age, claiming that he was always “playing” with hair at his mother’s salon, and that he pretty much grew up there.

“Hairdressing chose me. I did try to get away from it by studying engineering, but I never practiced it,” he told an interviewer from the magazine Magzter.

After beginning work as a stylist in 1999, Tsapatori learned a great deal about the craft under the tutelage of hairstylists at the salon Toni & Guy, eventually becoming one of Greece’s most sought-after hairdressers.

His career really took off after he created his own brand, based on his own innovations. His services have been sought after by many high-profile clients, and his work is often seen in magazines such as Marie Claire, Flawless, Beautiful Savage, Sicky, Kneon, and Umag.

The range of Tsapatori’s impressive skills is also evident in advertising campaigns for companies such as Vodafone, MTV, and Toyota, and events including the Olympic Games. He also serves as the personal hairstylist to a number of celebrities, including Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone.

The Greek stylist was appointed as Global Ambassador and Master Trainer for BALMAIN Paris Hair Couture in 2012, where he is acknowledged as the hair extension specialist for the company and is respected for his cutting techniques.

 Katrina Kaif getting her hair styled by Tsapatori. Source: Yianni Tsapatori Instagram

A path that “chose him”
While Tsapatori has worked as a hairstylist for people all over the world, he did not always want to be a hairstylist.

In fact, for some time he believed hadn’t found his true calling, something in which he felt felt he excelled, and he didn’t realize that deep down, his desire was to be a hairdresser. He studied the demanding discipline of engineering in school, and he even taught aerobics when he lived in Bergen, Norway.

“My mother and sister run a salon in Greece. I remember my mom coming back exhausted. She had to be on her feet all day, do people’s hair and talk to them. Some of them come with problems — broken relationships, divorce — and she had to be there for them, and entertain them,” he explains.

“She only had Sunday to rest. I didn’t think I could do all that,” Tsapatori tells The Hindu newspaper.

“But here I am, twenty years later, doing exactly what she did. I am becoming my mom now!” he adds playfully. He believes the cold weather in Norway made him miss the beautiful sunshine in Greece, and this may have had an impact, eventually persuading him to return to his hometown.

And the next step in his journey made Tsapatori “The Edward Scissorhands of Greece,” according to The Hindu newspaper.

In due course, as his skills progressed, he moved to New York and then to Mumbai, where his first task was to style the hair of Alia Bhatt, an Indian singer and actress, for a magazine shoot.

“I recently did Kareena Kapoor Khan’s hair, and got a lot of messages from all over the world asking for similar cut and color. Because of social media, people know what you do,” Tsapatori explains.

He has also styled Kapoor Khan’s hair for two of her upcoming movies — “Angrezi Medium and “Good News.”

Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan. Source: Yianni Tsapatori
 Kareena Kapoor Khan. Source: Yianni Tsapatori

“While styling for films, I’m usually given a direction about what the character is all about,” he says. “For example, in ‘Good News,’ her character is of a modern girl trying to conceive. So, I’ve kept the look real.”

“In ‘Angrezi Medium,’ she plays an agent, and her character is rough, modern and edgy. So, I kept her hair style younger and fresh,” the stylist explains.

Tsapatori concludes, “People should understand that Bollywood is equal to Hollywood. They should experiment more. That’s what I bring to the table — fresh, young and undone looks.”

His passion for hairstyling inspires him to continuously overcome boundaries and produce unique styles, and the Greek master stylist’s next plan is to bring the experience from the BALMAIN Paris catwalk to the streets.

In returning to his roots, Tsapatori discovered his own unique artistry, and it seems that,  with his passion and commitment to the art of hairstyling, his career has no limits.