“I am haunted by the fact that there is a huge lack of Middle Eastern women representation in the industry. I want Middle Eastern people, especially women, to have someone to look up to in this industry and believe they can achieve it too. I want them to get in touch with their creative side if that’s what they excel in. This is my end goal that makes me feel fulfilled. This is my cause.” – Deena Al Awaid.
Deena Al Awaid’s career is a true lesson in ambition and passion. The rising celebrity hairstylist has become one of the most prominent pioneers in the beauty industry in the Middle East and has launched her very own salon, Collective. in the Al Quoz area in the heart of Dubai on January 1st, 2022.
After making a name for herself in her hometown Halifax, Nova Scotia, Al Awaid decided to tap into her Middle Eastern roots and build a name for herself in one of the most happening places in the Arab world, Dubai. Within her rise to success, Deena found herself struggling to find a female stylist to look up to in the industry until she met Jen Atkin’s in 2017 at the Dyson Master Class in Dubai.
Fast-forward to the present, Deena Al Awaid has become one of the most influential hairstylists in the Middle East, known for her dedication and passion. Alwaid has worked with the likes of both Bella and Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Huda Kattan and many more A-list celebrities.
Grazia spoke exclusively with Deena Al Awaid on her latest salon opening, building a beauty empire and the future for Al Awaid for 2022.
Tell us about your journey as a hairstylist and what led you to begin Collective?
I started hairstyling when I was 18 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I always knew I wanted to get into the fashion industry, and after years of chasing that dream, I realised it was time for me to create a place for like-minded individuals to come together, which led me to begin Collective.
What products or services do you offer?
We offer everything hair related (cuts, colours, editorial styling etc.) and nails! We have brought together a combination of popular products and will be launching our own very soon.
How would you describe the standard of hairdressing in the UAE?
I think for a long time, there was no set standard for hairdressing in the UAE. I have been here for eight years, and I definitely have seen a shift recently where people are now trusting their hairdresser and understanding the standards on a global level so that’s definitely nice to see as UAE is the most advanced country.
Talk us through your new net-breaking web platform available on Collectivehair.ae.
I am so excited about this. Collective. will be a lot more than just a salon. It’s ultimately a one-stop-shop for everything hair and beauty related. We will be launching a lifestyle section on our website where our Collective. Family can stay up to date on the latest trends, tutorials and international stylists via articles published daily.
You’ve worked with some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Who has had the best hair to work with?
Honestly, as a hairdresser, everyone in your chair is a client, no matter how big or well known they are. If I had to choose one, I would probably say Huda Kattan — she has beautiful hair to work with, and it’s so healthy because she takes care of it!
What is your mission at Collective?
To shake up the industry. For a long time, the industry in this region felt very male-dominated, and I really wanted to show people what women bring to the beauty industry. I also want to change the way hairdressers are viewed — as a one speciality hairdresser. We are so well-rounded and can do it all. The team at Collective. is a great representation of that.
You’re unquestionably one of the most influential hair stylists in the Middle East. What inspires your work approach?
My parents. Their work ethic and support for what I do is honestly so incredible. They have always shown me that I can succeed and do anything I dream of. I never really gave myself one goal in life where if I achieved it, I was content. I always felt the need to keep going, growing and connect with everyone along the way.
Who is your hair/beauty idol?
Jen Atkin! She is a boss woman, and she has shown me that a hairdresser can be a lot more than just session based. She can be an entrepreneur, a mentor and grow a clientele — all while sharing her experience with up and doing hairdressers, which is exactly what I want to do.
What’s next for Deena Al Awaid in 2022?
Collective. – as a salon is just the beginning. As a brand, I have so much happening and launching this year. I can’t wait to share it with you all.