Dinah Raphaelle

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Hello Dinah! It is great to have the opportunity to chat with you!

Your stylings are very creative and I am impressed with the designs you have created over the years. You have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people bringing beauty and a unique image to every project you have worked on.  I would like to know more about you!

1.  Where are you located and what have you been working on?

IMG_4417I’m based in Los Angeles, New York and London.  I travel a lot but I am originally from the East Coast (USA).   I started working as a hairstylist in 2012.

My background is as a sculptor and metalsmith so I have had my hands in the arts for many years.  When I decided to go back to school I attended Tony & Guy Hair Academy and I thought I would be working in a salon but I’ve found there are many creative options in this field.  I’ve been working on sets and doing hair and makeup for music videos, tv/film, backstage runway for fashion weeks (London, Paris, NYC), teaching workshops, and in print doing photoshoots for fine art and ad campaigns.

I love having the opportunity to meet and work with new people all the time.  Sometimes I produce and assemble the teams, which is cool.  I find that by working with various teams we can generate bigger ideas together.  We expand our ideas when we can build off each other’s creativity which is the beauty of the process to me.

2.  Have you worked in a traditional salon?

IMG_4415I got a running start at at Kristoff Ball’s salon in Beverly Hills apprenticing.  I can see myself eventually being salon based full time but for now I travel so much and have an amazing client base internationally and enjoy what I get to do. Fast-paced environments is where I really thrive and find my focus.  I still do cuts and color though and guest spot in salons.  It’s a nice setup when I can rent a chair for as little or as long as I need.

What I love about working with traditional clients is it’s all about the interpersonal relationships.  I get to help make someone else feel magic and their day bright.  It’s about the trust, being their best friend when in my chair and the transformation from the inside out.  “I love what I get to do” and I say it like that for a reason.  It’s a very cool opportunity to be able to do this.

3.  Do you cut your own hair?

I’m gonna be honest and say yes and I never learn my lesson. *Blush* I’m a risktaker when it comes to my own hair but thankfully I’ve got skilled and talented friends I trust like Reina DeMoss at MaidenColor in LA and Rolando Aqui (Geometric Illusions / Sugarskulls Hair House LA) to get my hairgame strong if I happen to get scissor happy. Haha.

4.  Can you tell us about your art?

portraitI’ve worked in many different mediums from metalsmithing and welding to printmaking.  I love working with both steel and silver –from building large scale installations to jewelry.  I also create photo etchings, silkscreen, and have many creative outlets – even sewing.  I have an immense love for art history too.

I spent a year abroad in London first doing sculpture, silversmithing and print making.  I received my bachelors when I was 20 – I just focused on my studies and didn’t have the time for anything else.

5. And how about hair?  How did you get started in hairdressing?

IMG_4416I was a hair model at Vidal Sassoon when I was studying at Goldsmith’s University of London and Camberwell College of Art in the UK.  I was discovered by a Japanese hair student while I was walking in the Tube and he brought me in to do model cuts, color, and catwalk.  It was a fun way to make money and I met a lot of cool people.  Fast forward ten years down the road and I realized I wanted to be a hairstylist too.  It’s all sculpture to me but with an added component of interpersonal transformation where I enjoy blending art and beauty.  I loved doing it whether it was a student cut and color or a soirée.

6.  How did you get involved with makeup?

I realized that there is no one way to define beauty.  Makeup is about self-expression.  This means everything from eyeliner to tattoos is part of a person’s identity.  So it became something I could do for others.  It’s fascinating how a makeover can feel and how it is received and the effect it has on empowerment.

Every day I get the opportunity to make something creative.  I get to ask a lot of questions and learn a lot about the people I meet.  I seize the opportunity to impact people’s lives in a positive way.  I do not want to just exist in a world already created for us.  This is the interesting part:  Learning about people and expressing what is beautiful in someone is an imperative for me from the inside out.

7.  Can you talk about the work you have done with professional photographers?

Some of the photographers who I’ve gotten to work with are Renee Robyn, Ben Von Wong, Bella Kotak, Topher Adam, Jason Abbott and Dave Kai Piper.

Every photographer works differently and has their individual style and strengths.   It is important to have a wide spectrum of ability and style – be in tune with what someone is asking for.

I worked on Ultraviolet Insanities with Benjamin Von Wong doing hair.  It was a really strong team of people.  I got to see how each photographer made each model an individual.  He has some amazing ways of doing things.  He worked with an artist who works with ultraviolet light and stencils.  I was making hair extensions.  A lot of the stuff I made I created before the shoot.  One of the models was from America’s Next Top Model, another from Fashion Week.  One of the assistants was someone I already knew, Kelly Zak, who did an awesome job with editing.  Ben knows how to bring strangers together and make something significant.  He makes something fantastic.

Dinah Raphaelle with Tomoka Kawasaki and Takato Yonemoto

I travelled with him and did From Ordinary to Extraordinary.  How the costumes are put together was fascinating.  The wings were fully articulated.

I have also worked with Renee Robyn.  I have her to thank for so much – she was the one who introduced me to Ben.  We had worked with model Kat Maranello and her husband Ryan Doherty, who works in IT with Smugmug – it’s an amazing company.  It offers unlimited cloud and web hosting.

The goal was to make Ryan appear nerdy and then transform into a hunk.  He has the hobby of racecar driving and building up racecars.  It was a really masculine shoot.  We made it just as nerdy as possible.  We pulled up his socks and then we did the shoot.   We used airbrushes, etc.  There were sparks flying!  I did hair, makeup, and styling.  I got to get the props from Mad Max Fury Road for the shoot!

Renee Robyn in super-inspiring.  I got to work with her a lot.  I really respect her and I always bring my all and raise the bar for myself.  If you give it your all you know it is all on you.  I bring the gift right back and give her something she is looking for.

I try to bring out the style in a way that is truest to the work I see the photographers envisioning for the client.  It allows me to bring something new and exciting to each photographer, image, workshop, or event I work with.  We all inspire each other and I can bring something different to each photographer I work with.  It is important to have a wide spectrum of ability and style – be in tune with what someone is asking for.

8.  How about music videos? I understand you’ve been working on music videos lately?

Yes, I recently did lead hair/makeup for The Chainsmokers featuring Daya for “Don’t Let Me Down”.  Another artist video was for Avicii “Broken Arrows”.  The amount of dedication and teamwork necessary is what makes these projects really fun.

When I worked on Avicci’s video for “Broken Arrows” I got to work with some amazing people.  I got to shoot in LA with Don Lee.  The story is really inspiring – it’s about the “Fosbury Flop” a jumping technique developed by an athlete who was an alcoholic who goes on to set the Olympics high jump record.  But it is also about his relationship with his daughter.

9.  How did you get into music videos?  It seems like you are drawn more to still photography?


Photo by: Bella Kotak‏

I love doing both but I started working in print first so there is more of it. Taking a look at my past work I often define my portfolio as falling into two categories. There’s the beautiful clean agency work for ad campaigns or headshots, then there’s the other side of the coin.  That’s the creative, avant garde work that’s more about fine art.  When I work with creative people like Bella Kotak, her photography style evokes a soft dream-like feel that is uplifting and ethereal. Ben Von Wong’s work is visually epic and filled with this “larger than life” excitement and zest.  Renee Robyn’s work is both badass and so damn pretty, it’s a vortex of story-packed pixels that create her final image.  It feels so…alive. I love having the ability to change gears and bring out those special characteristics in their work.  It is all about bringing out their special style.

It’s pretty cool being able to assist in creating original work with powerful forward-thinking photographers and digital artists.

I also work with Topher Adam who is the creator of Dark Beauty Magazine but who is also a photographer and designer.  He’s like me where he does a lot of different things and can be a jack of all trades.  He really is a genius like that, he’s really cool.  He likes helping people like I like helping people.  I’ve had a few works published in Dark Beauty Magazine.

It wasn’t until I tried doing video blogs that I learned about video.  The best way to be successful at something is by first failing and then trying again.  I tried video blogs and Topher helped me.  Your mentors will find you.  I’m being sponsored by Dark Beauty Magazine – they have my back.  They say she’s good at what she does and is in our magazine.  It’s pretty awesome to have the chance to work on video.


Photo by Bella Kotek

10.  Do you have a portfolio where we can view your work?

I can be contacted at www.DinahRaphaelle.com to book future hair and makeup workshops, ad campaigns, music videos, tv/film, events, and more.

I have an archive of every shoot I have ever worked on and who was involved and their social media.

You can follow me and my work on:


11.  I understand you also work in the fashion industry?


I’ve worked with the New York, London and Paris Fashion Week.  I have always loved fashion.  I’m looking forward to doing London and Paris Fashion Week again this year. One of my favorite underground designers is also Topher Adam. You should check him out!  He designed the clothing for our photoshoot [he was also the photographer].  I’m always interested in working with new designers, creating lookbooks and fashion adverts.  Often times I have a hand in producing or being creative director for the variety of shoots I work on.


In this field I get to “make” with other people.  I love to have a think tank, bounce ideas around and take suggestions from each other.   For example, when working with Renee on space sirens and zombie sirens; the original concept comes from fine art.  It had this underlying aesthetic from John Everett Millais’s “Ophelia”.  I told her I happen to have a pool so lets do a shoot.  I’d never done underwater work and she wanted to take on the challenge.  We got our art fix.  I can spend days and days and days working.  I always ask the question, “where is the art?”

12.  So it’s all about art and fun?


It’s about making people feel good, creating good work, and enjoying the process.  It’s also about making mental connections and building something bigger.

It is about layering, mashing up textures and colors.  I use fabric, wire and other materials in the hair. It is about innovation.  The ideas are what’s important.  I’m blown away how it all comes together because it is so inspiring and amazing.  I’m so lucky to have found people who I can work with who I know so well and who push things to the next level.

13.  Where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere! Observing and relating different cultures is key. But I also consider architecture, cars, nature and the world around us as inspiration in itself.

I look to fine artists and I look to art history.

14.  Do you have any advice for someone just starting out who might want to follow in your footsteps?

Don’t let anyone else put their limitations on you.  Only you know what you are capable of.  Believe in yourself, have a vision and work hard towards your goals; practice and repetition, it doesn’t happen overnight.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  You can’t have a style if you’re not making things – you will find the elements that make your style.  When someone says you can’t do something it means they can’t – not you can’t.  You have to make your own rules.  Don’t live by some else’s rules.  Always have fun.


15.  You’ve worked with both still photographers and video producers.  What are some of the differences between the two?


I think photos last forever.  You’ve gotta make it your best work given the amount of time that you have.  I feel more elated when doing still work.  I may spend hours or a week on an idea or prop, and then while preparing hair on the shoot, I’m not afraid to eliminate a component or modify what I’ve done to improve the model.  It’s not about what I’ve made, it’s about the final image.  In a moment something amazing is created.

It’s all in front of the camera.  I also don’t put filters on a photographer’s work.  It’s my social responsibility to make sure the whole team gets the credit they deserve.  They get paid but they also get social media sharing and followers.  Even the guy that held a Steady Cam for 16 hours.  Maybe you forgot about them but it was through their effort that art was created.  It’s important for photographers to control their own images and create their art as they like it.

16.  What do you foresee yourself doing in the future?  Do you have plans for your next step?

I set fresh goals for myself each year.  I’m doing more international campaigns and am focused to continue growing with workshops, videos, campaigns, and client base.  I don’t know where the process will end up but I continue to produce more art.

17.  Have you been to Japan?  What is your impression of the country?


I haven’t travelled in Japan but I would love to.  I think if I visited I would not want to leave!  

Researching Japanese traditions, folklore, and history is fascinating.  And I like when East and West come together to make something new.

I love Japanese art, anything Japanese-esque – I even have a zombie geisha tattoo!

Even the way they find their way around is different, we name the streets and they name the blocks.

18.  What are your observations about Japanese culture?

The Japanese are so futuristic, they know how to make a mashup of all these crazy elements for out-of-this-world results.  From film to fashion the Japanese people and their culture are fascinating and exciting to me!  I hope Japanese people like my stuff!

19.  Can you give a shoutout to all your fans at Ninjagirl?

I’m a fan of Ninjagirl and I can’t wait to see the interviews of other artists on the website. Arigatou gozaimasu to Anthony, Tomoko, and all of your readers! I hope you enjoy seeing and learning about my work.  If they have questions or if they want to reach out  they can just visit my website.

roup shot

Model Mayhem
Raw Artists
Dinah Raphaelle 

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