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Hairdressing News Photography

The Glorious Defense Mechanisms of Thanos Samaras

April 27, 2015

“Thanos Samaras born 6 August 1973 is a film and theater actor based in New York City.”

He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Before attending drama school, he studied Art & Design at London Guildhall University and was working towards a bachelor’s degree in Architecture, only to drop out upon getting accepted at RADA. He later attended the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York, while doing an internship at Richard Foreman’s famed avant-guard Ontological Theater, in Saint Mark’s Square. He has starred in Greek films including Atlas (2004), Delivery (2005, Official Selection Venice Film Festival), Valse Sentimentale (2007, National Film Awards Best Actor nomination), Homeland (2010, Greek Academy Awards Best Actor nomination), Tied Red Thread (2011) and most recently in the Australian film Dead Europe. Some of his stage work includes Anton in Marius von Mayenburg’s Eldorado, Treplyov in Chekhov’s The Seagull, Carl in Sarah Kane’s Cleansed (Horn award Best New Actor nomination), Oswald in Ibsen’s Ghosts, Darren in Gary Owen’s The Drowned World a.o. Under the alias “Yatabazah” he designs, restores and photographs toys. His work has been featured in Japanese and American magazines and books. In 2008, he had his first exhibition of doll photographs in Tokyo. Has been repeatedly voted by the Greek press to be among the 10 most stylish Greek men.”

-wikipedia

I met Thanos here in Los Angeles. I was asked to assist him on a recent shoot for W Magazine. Being familiar with his work, I jumped at the chance. The beginning of this experience was not so pleasant, as communication started days before we met. Thanos had a few requests. Quite a few. Mind you, I am 33 and can’t be bothered to do all of this work for pay that barely covers gas. Its ok though, as much as I have dreaded jobs in the past, rarely has it ended up a bad experience. This was no exception.

So, I begrudgingly get everything together amongst other jobs, I even have to commission friends. I pick him up at 6am. Upon shaking Thanos’ hand, I get it. I realize immediately that none of his requests came out of being some diva who can’t be bothered to do things himself, but more so out of wanting everything to be perfect. Perfect, so that he can concentrate on his craft. Thanos immediately strikes you as an artist in every sense of the word. Completely consumed by the task at hand. He is also, at the same time, doing his very best to make sure you are ok. He is not going to berate you for doing something wrong, and he isn’t going to make you do busy work so he can maintain his superior position. It is all about the finished product. I can only imagine that he carries this mentality in his acting too.

Fortunately for me, Thanos was already familiar with Lost Hairdressers, and was excited when he found out that I ran it. I asked him to do an interview and he was more than happy to do so. So, here it is. A little email chat with the one and only Thanos Samaras.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Salonica, Greece. It’s a foggy, old city by the sea, in northern Greece.

What was your introduction into hairdressing?

Even though I had been secretly and obsessively experimenting with human hair since I was a boy, it never, ever entered my mind to follow it as a path. I am a film and theater actor. I was living in Greece, where the economy recently bombed and my plays and films were getting shelved due to lack of money; I had nothing to do. The fashion director of Greek Vogue who had interviewed me and photographed me as an actor, knew of my work with dolls [I had been shooting dolls for Japanese magazines and books] and out of the blue asked me if I wanted to do the hairstyling for their December 2010 cover story. That was my first editorial ever.

Who was your model for that Greek vogue shoot and how was the hair?

I lucked out because they had gotten Madisyn Ritland to fly in from Paris. She was the catalyst for me to become interested in fashion. She made everything come alive, like a silent actress. Not many models can do that, few can evoke and be truly present. Or a damn good imitation of it at least. I had been given free reign to play with her. So I pulled a faded, grayish turquoise lace wig I had worn in my film Atlas [which I had promptly stolen after the film wrapped], styled it in a 30s chignon and hoped for the best. I could not edit myself on that first shoot, heh… But it kind of worked, Madysin made it work.

Did you have any insecurities on your first big break as a hairdresser?

No, it didn’t mean anything, I was just playing with some toys and a living doll.

How did your career unfold from that point?

For fun, I kept on doing editorials for 3 months, and then a friend of mine shopped my portfolio around in New York; a couple of agencies proposed to represent me, I signed with one, they moved me to the US and this weird adventure started. It feels like I stepped into someone else’s life.

Were you hesitant at all? Especially, regarding the fact that you had a whole other career to think about.

No, I wasn’t. I’ve always prescribed to shoot first, ask questions later. I’m also an idiot.

You seem pretty smart to me, what do you see for the future of your career? Any dream jobs?

I’m interested in creating characters through hair. It’s not a quest for beauty necessarily, beauty doesn’t have meaning out of a context. What moves me is what surrounds that woman, her secret, the personal moments when she’s alone in front of her mirror, designing her ideal self, or the self she needs to be at a particular moment to achieve a quest, and then stepping in her shoes to realize it for her. Dream jobs mean dream collaborators. People who don’t care about plebeian trends, who don’t seek to please. There are a few.

So your alias “yatabazah”, can you tell me more about him, and why you use that name?

Yatabazah is a name I used when I was photographing dolls for Japanese magazines and books, that was before I ever worked in fashion. In Greek it means ‘the very worst” and I thought it had a Japanese sound to it, so it stuck. I would come home from rehearsal, lock myself in my workroom, create sets, style the dolls and do shoots. I would post them online. It was a hobby, a pastime, but secretly a dress rehearsals for stuff I want to eventually do in human scale.

So what correlation, if any, does the name of your website “donteverloveme” have with Yatabazah?

Do you think there is any?

I do, but I want you to say it!

THANOS, this is an interview!

But indeed, things often become dialogical in interviews
i’m not avoiding anything, i’m interested in your view.

Fair, I think it may ring of a defense mechanism. Keeping people at arms length. Perhaps getting too close could compromise the art.

I’m terrified of people. It’s my downfall, because it becomes a very lonely place.

Why then, do you choose to make yourself somewhat inaccessible?
You know that saying; ‘protect me from what I want’? I’m great at becoming invisible and I always end up by myself, watching old movies on my computer.

What was the last thing that crossed your path and made you want to run home and do hair, assuming you weren’t already home. Be it a movie or a person, maybe a fancy hot dog stand?

I saw this lady yesterday at the Duane Reads, she had just stepped in from the wind and the rain, her hair was not wet but tousled and soft from the humidity, a very flattering state for hair. She had that perfect child hair; thin and lanky, with a natural ash blond on top and perfect cool brown lowlights under, running down her back. It was salon colored but it was a perfect reproduction of nature, so I followed her around the aisles taking mental notes until she caught on to me.

 
Here is a bit of Thanos work, curated by the man himself. Starting with his most recent work to date.  
 
 

Vogue italia April 2015“Fun Time”
Photographer: Emma Summerton
Stylist: Patti Wilson
Make-Up: Mathias van Hooff
Hair: Thanos Samaras

thanos italian vogue april 2015 thanos vogue italia april 1
 

German Vogue – March 2015“Good Time Women”
Emma Summerton – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Mathias van Hoof – Makeup

 
thanos vogue germany 2 thanos vogue germany 3 Thanos Vogue Germany1 vogue germany march 4 vogue germany march 5
 
 
 
Some of Thanos’ work on Dolls. 
15 16 17 18 19 54
 
Schon Magazine – Winter 2013
Tiziano Magni – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser

Vicky Steckel – Makeup

42

 
Bullet Magazine
“Disco Bloodbath”
Jason Kim – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hair

Robert Green – Makeup

32 36 35

 
Vogue Italia
“Best Shape Ever”
Greg Lotus – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser

Carol Lasnier – Makeup

4946

 

Bullett Magazine
“Levi’s Craft Work”
Jason Kim – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Robert Greene – Makeup 

34
 
Elle Greece
10
 
 
 

Oyster Magazine
“Ilva”
Marton Perlaki – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Ilva Heitmann – Model 

23 24 41 47 asd ff

Dazed & Confused – Korea
“The Doll House”
Astrid Sterner – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Deanna Melluso – Makeup78

Bullet Magazine
“Hello Planet” Featuring PopBot – 3000
James Orlando – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Robert Green – Makeup 31

Vogue Italia
“Fly High” (from Beauty Supplement) 
Greg Lotus – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hair Stylist
 
2053
 
Black Book Magazine
“Midnight’s Children”

 Jason Kim – Photographer

Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser

Walter Obal – Makeup 26 27

 

W Magazine – October 2014
Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Aaron de Mey – Makeup

39 40

 

Bullet Magazine

Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Tracy Alfajora – Makeup
33 
 

Interview Magazine

unnamed 
 
Vogue Paris: February 2014vogue paris 

 

Ponystep Magazine

Chas Krider – Photographer
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
Chas Krider – Photographer

        29

 

Tatler Magazine

Photographer – Ruven Afanador

Hairdresser – Thanos Samaras

 

30 

Entertainment Weekly

tina fey 

Schön! Magazine issue 12 
948 

Schon Magazine

Thanassis Krikis – Photographer

Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser

Stellar – Makeup 

13 

Votre Beaut W Quinta Witzel

Thanassis Krikis – Photographer

Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser

Stellar -Makeup

2 

Vogue US

Kostas Avgoulis – Photographer

Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser

Makeup – Stellar

5 11 

 Schön! Magazine issue 9“Nuptuals”

Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser

Yiorgos Chatziioannides – Makeup
3  
W/E Magazine

Kostas Avgoulis – Photographer
 Stellar – Makeup
Thanos Samaras – Hairdresser
i4 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

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2 Comments

  • actors for romeo and juliet 1968
    September 1, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Readers are not always positive about such things as other
    filmmaking requirements, light, along with sound,
    but everybody feels they understand stars.

  • Ruth
    April 28, 2016 at 10:27 am

    An artist almost always distances himself from the ordinary. The commonplace can be rather intimidating at times, especially when there are expectations to be met. One shouldn’t let those expectations influence them, but rather inspire them. Which is something I can relate to. What an intriguing man. Maybe we can watch a movie together Thanos? Cool interview Clint.

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