Rudy Maddox: Master stylist, Soyoung Salon and Spa

Rudy Maddox has been styling hair for 17 years.

It was his interest in theater that originally drew him to hair styling. He thought he wanted to work backstage, styling actors’ hair.

Instead, Maddox found himself on stage, acting.

He now works at Soyoung Salon and Spa in downtown Columbus which he jokes provides enough drama that he doesn’t miss the stage too much.

He enjoys his work and credits it with helping him recover when his companion of 11 years died earlier this year.

“I hardly missed any work. I was so busy at work that I didn’t have too much time to get sad. I spent a week with his mother and his father in Michigan. It was a wonderful time.”

He traveled a lot this year including taking trips to Las Vegas, Chicago and Pensacola. Later this summer, he plans to visit Savannah, and he wants to go to New Orleans for Halloween.

His favorite place to visit is New York City but he wouldn’t want to live there.

“I couldn’t handle the traffic,” he said.

Maddox spoke to us about his job last week. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Which celebrities have the best and worst hair styles?

Madonna always has great hair. Julia Roberts always looks good. I think Scarlett Johansson looks good... Lady Gaga has the worst, but in a good way. I love it. I only pay attention to pretty.

What factors should a woman consider before choosing a hair style?

She should figure out how functional it is. How well it works for her in every day life. If it’s high maintenance, does she have the time to do it?

What should women do to keep their hair healthy?

Products -- shampoos and conditioners.

What do you like to use?

I’m loving the TIGI Bed Head products. They are made for different hair types like fine, medium and for hair that just needs health.

What hair styles do you love and loathe?

I love to see hair up. I love to see an elegant updo. I don’t always like the wadded up in the back. It’s one of my pet peeves. And long hair doesn’t always have to be up.

What are the hair style trends for fall?

I see a lot of natural hair; going with texture. People are not overblowing their hair. And I’ve seen a lot of cute little updos that look good with sweaters and fall clothes. It’s less preppy and more natural with softer curls.

Why did you choose to specialize in long hair?

My mother had long, long hair. I was always drawn to long hair.

Is your mother still living?

No. I have a tattoo of my mother holding a baby mermaid. You can see she has long hair.

What type of features do women have who look good with long hair? Who looks better with short hair?

I don’t believe in that. If you want long hair or if you want short hair. No matter the age. It’s what you want. I’m not one of those people who will just cut hair. I will always ask, “How can I help you? What do you want to do? Let’s make it look beautiful.”

What’s the most difficult thing about your job?

Finishing and letting it go. I’ll be the one when you’re walking out the door, to say, “Wait. Wait. Let me ...”

What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?

Being part of helping and being part of the solution.

Are you kind of a counselor, listening as you’re cutting hair?

Yes, definitely. But I’ve learned to just clip it. (He made a gesture of zipping his mouth shut as he said this).

Do you ever cut your own hair?

Never. I’ve never even attempted it. It’s hard enough for me writing across paper, much less cutting my own hair. Oh, no.

What is your typical day like?

I have very wonderful days. I schedule people for a solid hour. For color, I schedule two hours. I have a nice day. I see five or maybe six people a day. I work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What do you do when a client wants a specific cut but you know it won’t work well for her?

I tell them. If I’m not comfortable, I won’t do it.

Do you style the hair of your family members at home?

I do my sister-in-law only. I try not to cut my father’s hair. He’ll get frustrated and say, “I’ll go to a barber shop.”

You’ve done theater in the past do you have any plans to return to the stage?

Absolutely. I’m waiting for the perfect opportunity for a leading role. I’d be happy to step in and do it.