If Brandon Liberati seems familiar to you, it might be that you’re reminded of Warren Beatty in “Shampoo,” another sexy hairstylist who brandished a blow-dryer—and a lot else—when making house calls.
(Smokin’ Hot Gun: Liberati Aims to Please)
Liberati does share a lot in common with that famous film figure. He gets urgent 4 a.m. calls to salvage the look of celebrity clients, some of whom he’s been working on for 20 years. Liberati also touches people for a living, a job that he says is pretty much limited to your doctor and your hairstylist. And, like any classic film lothario, he’s in the loop. “I know stuff about people that could absolutely ruin lives.”
Before you try to get him to write a book, or just book him, you should know that the similarity ends there. Liberati, who just turned 40 and says he needs assurances that he’s still sexy (yeah, and I need more credit card debt), is openly gay, in a long-term relationship with fitness guru Craig Ramsay, and not about to offer lip service.
“I don’t need to use names,” says Liberati, on why he’s mute on stars. “That only impresses the general public. My entire business is word of mouth.” (Beauty and the Butt: Liberati’s Got Your Back)
The general public that my articles try to impress are no doubt going to be disappointed that, even with blackmail threats, bribes, and basic begging, Liberati wouldn’t divulge a single star secret. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned Hollywood backstabbing values?
Liberati has traveled all over the world to keep stars’ intact (he does makeup too), and the privacy and trust are integral to making the job work. “I have a personal relationship with my clients. They know what’s being said about them, with the Tweeting. They’re trusting me with their look.”
After I gave up on getting the scandal scoops, I asked Liberati about that other popular hairstylist rumor; that they’re all Coke addicts, porn stars, or, in the case of most of the ones I’ve hired, both.
Liberati (who is neither) laughed, but did have some thoughts on the excessive behavior of stylists. “It’s a fast-cash business,” he says. “It can be a very conducive lifestyle if you’re not a very strong person.” Liberati says drugs among the Hollywood Hip is “happening just as much; but it’s passé.”
Another reason for Liberati’s stable lifestyle has a lot to do with his relationship with Ramsay. “I met Craig thirty days after I moved here, and I’ve gotten to know L.A. through him. He’s openly gay and a public figure, so it was really important that my image was good. Do I flirt with clients? Yes; a certain amount is healthy. (Fleet Meat: Liberati With Partner Craig Ramsay)
Most of that flirting is directed at the female clientele, who, according to Liberati, are easier to work with than gay men. “A straight woman is a lot more forgiving when it comes to having a male hairdresser having an opinion,” says Liberati. “If I say to a woman ‘It’s going to make you look more sexy,’ she’ll do it nine times out of ten. Gay men are hyper-aware of the way they present themselves. We have roles, we have a look; Bears, Twinks. We put ourselves in these categories and define ourselves by how we look.”
Liberati adds that women also like a man in charge for an unfortunate, age-old reason. “Women are more guarded with each other,” says Liberati. “They don’t know if they are setting them up for failure. They don’t trust them.”
Since Liberati has quite a few tattoos, I figured I could at least get some good macho swagger about his rock-hard body making needles bounce off, or his secret masochist side that lusts for physical pain in any form. His response about getting inked? “It hurts.”
So what’s a nice guy like Brandon Liberati doing in a town like Hollywood? Apparently, everything he wants to.