He’s sitting at the corner banquette in the restaurant with a friend of his, under black-and-white blow-ups of Frank Sinatra. At my suggestion we’ve decided to meet around noon at Lenny’s Deli on L.A.’s Westside, since he was coming from Venice and headed to CBS Television City later to fix James Corden’s hair for The Late Late Show. Thanks to my research (or, professional stalking) I know what he looks like from his photos on Instagram and Google, but if you were asked to spot a “celebrity stylist” amidst the growing lunch crowd, Jason wouldn’t be the first you pick out. Perhaps it’s the casual ease of his pebble grey Zephyr long-sleeved tee, black fitted jeans and black canvas Chucks. Or his wavy long hair – black, streaked naturally with some copper tones – tied in a casual but neat man-bun. As I approached in my gingham button-down and cream chinos, looking rather overdressed and obviously “the interviewer”, Jason calls out with a hearty hello as his goatee-framed smile beamed in a familiar West Coast friendliness.
Born in New York City but carried to Long Beach as an infant, Jason’s younger years unfolded like a Beach Boy song; “ditching and surfing; it was all about getting laid”, he says with a nostalgic chuckle. But today’s Jason has come a long way since his thirteen year-old self, who spent his time trying out Madonna’s dancers’ hairstyles on his towhead buddies so they can win the fancy of girls. He’s become known in the entertainment circle as “The Men’s Groomer”, a moniker he coined and proudly uses as his brand, complete with a posterized logo of his likeness. He’s worked with countless celebrities, including A-listers like Hugh Jackman, Rob Lowe, and Bruno Mars – all known for their enviable hair.
For someone who’s made a name for himself, Jason’s still a no-airs, no-drama individual who simply loves what he does. In fact there was a time in his career when he felt ill-equipped to make it in Hollywood, citing a deficit in the flamboyance, Birkin bag expertise, and insider knowledge his mentor Chris McMillan so confidently possessed. A fortuitous counsel from his agent kept him determined to “just be Jason”, and it seems he never looked back. “Surfer bro” – that’s the skin he’s most comfortable in. And that was the vibe I got the whole time; laid-back, engaged, frank.
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