Master stylist Edwin Candelaria of the exclusive Mark DeAlwis Salon located at 228 East 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd avenue in the heart of New York City has agreed to talk about hair and beauty. Edwin is one of the leading stylists in hair extensions, braiding and coloring. He has worked in fashion with high powered models, and has worked on celebrities as well.

It’s appropriate that Edwin was hired by Mark DeAlwis. Mark himself, owner of the salon has a long history of global awards including the Fantasy hair award. He has done hair for some of the biggest celebrities including: Sandra Bernhard, Joely Fisher, Connie Stevens, Screamin’ Racheal, night life’s Tym Moss and many others who he won’t divulge.

As Edwin Candelaria applied long, blonde, silky hair extensions onto my hair, we talked about his career and future endeavors.

How long have you been doing hair?

I’ve been going hair eleven years. I started when I was 18/19 years old. I’ve always been an artistic person, I’ve done art classes in high school, I’ve done acting, but designing hair was something I needed in my life. I needed something to get me going in life, I needed something creative. Drawing gave me that artistic outlet so I knew I wanted to do something with my hands. I saw this hair competition show, and that’s what got me going. On television they were showing master stylists doing celebrities hair. So I watched what they did and looked at YouTube videos and that kind of got me going. Started working on friends and family and that’s how I started my career. So a year later I went to beauty school, but I felt that they taught me everything that I already knew. There were a lot of African-American students there and they taught me braiding and extensions, and making custom wigs, and I was really excited about it. So, I knew right there and then that this was the career I wanted to go with.

What enticed you to work at the Mark DeAlwis Salon…..a better question is what made Mark decide to hire you (that’s something we will need to ask him as he only hires the best of the best lol)?

I’m very, very happy to be here. I’m trying very hard not to get emotional now because this is the first place in a long time where I am really happy. I feel like here I can build my career even more, with the people that I work with. I’ve worked in other salons when the owner was not willing to work with me or help me build a clientele. Because of that I’ve worked independently for a lot of years, doing fashion hair in California. When I came back I started as fashion hair coordinator for Fashion Week. I was with them for a couple of seasons and we still keep in touch. It was great because I got to meet a lot of designers and a lot of artists.

You do make-up as well?

I do, but I mostly focus on hair.

What is your area of expertise?

I love doing Extensions. I’m into the knowledge and history of extensions. I’m well known for doing extensions. I do everything but I love doing extensions.

You guys cater to many celebrities here at the salon. If you could work on anyone’s hair on the entire planet, who would it be?

It would have to be Jennifer Lopez. At the beginning of my career when I was first excited and knowing that this was the career for me, I had decided that I want you to be well known. I don’t want to be a star, but I want to be well known. I want people to know who I am and where I come from and that this is what I love to do. I had a dream that I got to work on Jennifer Lopez. I worked with a lot of celebrities when I was in L.A. When I came back here I worked in fashion but then I googled salons in Manhattan and Mark’s Salon was the first to come up. I sent them my resume and my web site, and I am very excited to work here.

I feel like sometimes a hair designer is like a psychologist having to listen to everyone’s problems while you’re doing that hair, do you agree?

Yes, sometimes. I don’t feel like, “here we go another client with some problems”, I feel like I know what my role is. I understand people just have to vent sometimes. As a stylist it’s all about the personality as well as the talent. You want to make the client feel comfortable, I just let people talk. I might speak from experience sometimes and sometimes give them advice. Then sometimes I don’t say anything, I just listen.

Do you have a hair or work Philosophy that you live by?

Do the job right and you won’t get fired.

Instagram @markdealwissalon