It's no surprise Christian Smoker is the owner of a new, snazzy salon in Lakeview. He grew up in the industry.
"My mother, Freida Smoker, is a hair stylist and had her own salon. I also have an aunt and my niece in the business as well. It's in our blood," he said. "I was an odd little boy, more interested in playing with mannequin heads instead of G.I. Joes. I've always loved being in the salon, playing with hair."
Smoker is certified by the American Board of Certified Haircolorists, and his focus is healthy hair, he said. His favorite style is the sun-kissed ombre effect.
color LAB Chicago, a five-chair salon focused on hair color, opened its doors April 2. "We are passionate about beautiful, healthy color, using the best technology to speed processing time and still maintain integrity of the hair," said Smoker, who previously was a L'Oreal professional educator and color specialist, among other jobs.
"My personal style is understated classic and that does spill over into my ideas of what hair should be. I believe one can achieve more with subtle perfection than screaming itpeople may remember the screamer, but people want to be the beautiful one."
Smoker said color LAB Chicago will get involved with other businesses in Boystown "to continue the quest for equality," of the LGBT community.
"There is something so amazing about taking someone's hair, enhancing it and showing them how beautiful they really are," he said. "It's very rewarding and nothing makes me happier than boosting people's confidence in how they look." color LAB Chicago is at 3310 N. Halsted St. in Lakeview. The salon's website is www.colorlabchicago.com .
Job title: Owner/stylist at color LAB Chicago in Lakeview
Hobbies: Working out, traveling, movies, symphony and opera
Favorite movie: Amadeus
Favorite TV show: Downton Abbey
Favorite drink: Orange press ( orange vodka, half sprite, half soda )
Favorite pizza topping: "I'm a pepperoni manclassic and: always good."
Little-known fact: Was a cheerleader at Purdue University
Family: "I grew up in a small town in Indiana,: [in] farm country. I have always looked,: acted and spoken exactly how I do: now, so I stood out like a sore thumb: and it caused me to be bullied a lot in: school. Luckily, I have the most amazing,: supportive parents, and although it was: tough I never wanted to be anything but: me. My parents instilled a strong sense of: self and pride in me, and thankfully I not: only survived, I thrived. I'm a very lucky: man to have such an amazing family."