José Eber is the personification of style, elegance and drive. His illustrious career has spanned four decades, and is an ever-evolving display of how we define beauty. He may be most known for his celebrity clientele including Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Cher—everyone from Old Hollywood to emerging starlets. But beyond his public jet-set persona, and the glamour associated with his career, José evokes a compassion and kindness that is refreshingly humble. Perhaps it is years of life experience, growing up in France, visiting Beverly Hills on a whim in his 20’s, deciding that this is where he should spend his life and then selling everything that he owned and scraping to get by so that he could make it happen. He has worked hard for everything that he has today…starting as an apprentice at fifteen and ending up with his own salons and one of the biggest names in the beauty industry. He says, “I always have understood the importance of hard work. I enjoyed working all day and staying until ten in the evening each night. I was a great listener. Clients trusted me because I truly listened and help them find a style that would not only compliment them beautifully, but that would fit their lifestyle. I could have never guessed that my life would have ended up as it did, but I will say that I have always been very ambitious and I worked very hard into the direction of success”.
Though he now lives a life of travel and success, the obstacles and setbacks that he has experienced in his life and in career have always been put into perspective by a sense of hopefulness. He says, “Even in my most difficult, challenging moments I have always stayed positive. This keeps me going…trusting that something wonderful is right around the corner, even in bad times. It is a very simple thing to say, but I always keep life in perspective, and appreciate waking up each day to see where life will take me”.
His friendship with Elizabeth Taylor is also a driving force in his life. The aesthetic of José Eber Salon in Beverly Hills in tribute to the iconic actress. The lilac color and glamorous décor included in the design of the salon are just a few ways that José hopes keep Tayor’s spirit alive. What began with a phone call from an assistant, out of the blue, “Elizabeth Taylor would like you to come to the house and meet with her” evolved into many years of close friendship. That call was a moment that Jose felt his life change. “I drove up to her home to speak about doing her hair. Of course I was a bit nervous. But I just decided to by myself, and we hit it off. After all of our years together I count her as one of my closest friends, my family”. Their friendship took them around the world together. An evening that José will never forget includes a dinner with Taylor at Buckingham Palace. When asked about the greatest gift that he has received from their friendship he replied, “She taught me about honesty. About learning to appreciate life, and about caring for other people. Elizabeth was so passionate about life. She found beauty in everything whether it was a simple flower on the side of the road or a piece of jewelry. She was also very passionate about helping people, especially those that she felt could not speak up for themselves. She was the first to fight for AIDS research, the first to go public about the disease. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, and would be the first to offer encouragement. She was always there for me. And I still feel her with me today”.
Just as he took the most simplistic, beautiful elements from his friendship with Elizabeth Taylor, honesty and appreciation of life, he applies a simple desire to his career—to help women feel their most beautiful. Individuality is key, he says. Like life itself, beauty is not something that we should compare or strive towards as an ideal. “What I love about hair is that it is a great way to play up what you love about your features and to conceal what you would rather not focus on” he says. “Age means nothing. It is about your outlook and attitude in life”.
The bigger message that comes from the career and life of José Eber is the idea of opening your life to beauty, and allowing people and opportunities into your life to enhance who you are. Over and over again, he says, “Don’t be judgmental. Enjoy who you are. Enjoy time with yourself and the beauty around you”. Beyond the celebrity and beyond the glamour, José represents a very simple ideal, that sometimes in this fast-paced world we can easily forget, the idea that life is meant to be cherished and enjoyed. For a person who has based his career on something that can be taken as merely superficial, his deepest connections with clients and friends stem from the fact that he uses his talent as a stylist to bring out confidence in women so that they can feel their best. He says, “Life is just about waking up and feeling happiness and letting this be your focus”. And if you are feeling a little less than wonderful at this moment? As José has said, have faith in the fact that something wonderful is just around the corner for you.