Mumbai-girl Bhavnani, 39, says she had a natural flair for hair.
"I have been cutting my own hair since I was 18 and this happened by chance. People liked my hair and let me cut theirs (laughed)," said Bhavnani, who has been working as a professional for the past 14 years.
"I had a full on clientele in my house in America; after that when I moved to India simply because I was bored of my perfect life in America, I realised that I had never cut Indian hair before; so I trained myself for the same and the rest is history."
She returned to Mumbai eight years ago after completing her business administration course from Barat College, in Lake Forest, Illinois.
At "Mad o Wot", her stylish kitsch salon in Bandra in Mumbai, she merges traditional Indian styles with a contemporary feel of Los Angeles and Chicago, where she spent her youth. A normal haircut at her place costs Rs 1,600 for men and Rs 2,000 for women.
Before becoming a hairstylist, the 39-year-old worked as a banker, interior and fashion designer, restaurateur and waitress.
She styled Janet Jackson’s hair and her clientele include big names like Bipasha Basu, John Abraham, Gauri Khan and Priyanka Chopra. Celebrities are known for their tantrums, but not in Bhavnani’s case.
"To be honest, till date I have never had a demanding celebrity. I don’t tell them how to act or play cricket and similarly they don’t tell me how to cut hair; so the equation is super," she said.
"John and Bipasha are glamorous and very good wearers of fashion and hair, Dhoni is brilliant and reflects the youth in my brand. Naseeruddin Shah and his wife Ratna reflect quality, Mandira (Bedi), known for her straight hair, now compared with (animated cartoon character) Betty Boop, is a perfect example of combining saris with short hair.
"Shilpa (Shetty) and Shamita (Shetty) are known for their manes and they have started wearing their hair a little different with our influence so they reflect change. I can go on and on…," she added.
Bhavnani relates a good cut to a client’s personality.
"Hair trends are foolish and so are people who blindly follow them. Getting a good cut is based on your personality. As far as trends are concerned, short is definitely in as lots of women are hacking it off," she said.
She also sings and loves facing the camera.
"I want to be an expert in every domain. Till now I have just produced and acted in music videos, but for the movie I want to do everything – from producing to directing, writing to photography," Bhavnani said.
"I am not a Bollywood person. I am far more comfortable behind the camera. I am very happy to have some good projects under my belt; so you will see a lot more of me in future, but behind the camera," she added.
"Mad O Wot", her second album, a potpourri of hip-hop, R’n’B and qawalli, is out.
" ‘Mad O Wot’ is as eclectic as it sounds. Raghu Ram and Rajiv Lakshman were roped in as salon ambassadors in the video," said Bhavnani, adding the title is inspired by her salon in Mumbai.
Directed by Shiraz Bhattacharya, the video depicts Raghu and Rajiv coming out of jail after 20 years.
Bhavnani’s debut album was "Raat", which she produced. She also appeared in the hit romantic comedy "Pyaar Ke Side Effects" as Nina.(IANS)