Hairstylist Andy Lecompte remembers landing at the salon that would set his life’s course.

Above: Lecompte’s colleague, Calista Sanderson, outside of Los Angeles’s Privé Salon in the late 90s; previous: Lecompte's sister's salon, where he worked as a teen, all personal photographs courtesy of Andy Lecompte

In 1998, when I was 18 years old, I started working at Privé Salon in Los Angeles.

Allure had named it one of the city’s five best salons that year, and it was on the chicest street in town: Melrose Place. Laurent, the owner, had seen my portfolio a couple of times, but it was only after he booked me on a commercial shoot that I got my big break.

He hired me as a hairstylist that very same day.

Lecompte styling his sister’s hair, just before he moved to Los Angeles and started working at Privé

Privé was so elegant. It was filled with the most beautiful people, and the hair was amazing — the blondes were brighter than any blonde I had ever seen!

My first six months, however, were difficult there.

I was talented and fearless, but I felt like the other stylists were better than me.

Plus, Laurent’s assistant, Leanne, hated me. We were about the same age when I swooped in and, just like that, landed the job that she was working towards.

A young Lecompte embraces his then colleague, Leanne Citrone, who would go on to be his business partner

I only won Leanne’s affection after I found an assistant to replace her so that she could work as a stylist.

We soon became friends, and [a few years later] she approached me about opening a salon together. We’re now business partners at my namesake salon and have an incredible relationship.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if she hadn’t challenged me all those years ago.

— as told to The Thick

Did you see? Colorist Christophe Robin takes The Thick Questionnaire, hairstylist Rebekah Forecast remembers her first European fashion weeks.


Lecompte’s work modeled by Madonna (top) shot by Tom Munro for L’Uomo Vogue, May/June 2014, and Lindsay Lohan shot by Terry Richardson for LOVE Magazine Issue 7