Joana Neves

Words: Tomás Monteiro

I first crossed paths with Joana in Paris Men’s Fashion Week back in 2017. Back then I wasn’t aware of how lucky I was to be retained in Louis Vuitton’s show backstage, not only because of all the global heroes I had the chance to shoot but also because I got to spend some time with this portuguese hairdresser I’ve had just met.

Her name was Joana Neves. She was born in Oliveira do Hospital, in the north of Portugal, but as of today she may consider herself a citizen of the world.

Later following the footsteps of her mother, she wasn’t keen on pursuing the same hairdresser career as her during her upbringing. However, fate has funny ways of teasing us and, jumping to the present year, Joana is the most internationalised of our hairdressers.

She recalls vividly being seventeen years old and accepting a modelling job for a hair company in her hometown that unleashed the beginning of her journey. On the end of that day, after hours of fascination and observation, she told her mother that she wanted to be a hairdresser.

Her mother told her to find schools abroad to avoid getting stuck with the same old habits of the craft.

Two years studying in Spain were what followed this decision of her, in La Egípcia Murcia, where she took the time to take an internship after hours in order to soak even more knowledge in.

After this time in Spain she came back to Portugal, this time to Coimbra more precisely, where she worked in a hair salon called Elidio Designer.  She credits this moment as pivotal because, thanks to the head hairstylist, she broadened her horizons. It was also due to this experience that she became aware of a national contest in which she won two golden medals.

As excited as one would get after this achievement, Joana didn’t take this as the finish line and felt the urge to know what’s there further than the physical borders of her country.

She then flew to London for a week to attend a hair salon summit called Salon International and, before departing, she decided to send resumes to a few hair salons just in case one would need an assistant. She got an interview for the day of her arrival and, due to her lack of speaking skills in english at that time, her boyfriend helped her throughout the whole interview.

She started working there on the next day and changed all her plans in a matter of days to move to London.

The days passed and her talent didn’t go unnoticed; she quickly went from mopping the floor to assist in more demanding tasks to even being introduced to one of the associate partners of the salon who gave her the opportunity to work in fashion shows. One of the very first in her portfolio was Burberry.

From that moment on, Joana proved that the best way to be acknowledged is to always be at the top of your game and be the nicest person one can possibly be. It’s easy to give in to the ways of an industry that is too competitive, but Joana never lacked sympathy and joy towards the people she worked with.

Such qualities didnt go unnoticed by one of the greatest in the fashion industry: Guido Palau. Even if you don’t know his name you definitely have seen his work. That’s how big he is, the man responsible for the hairstyles of most of the major fashion houses in the world.

After two seasons working for him, he invited Joana to work exclusively for his team, which granted her the opportunity to work with such names as Cindy Crawford, Lady Gaga, Maluma, Naomi Campbell, Bryan Adams, Miley Cyrus, David Beckham, Adriana Lima, Kate Moss, Sara Sampaio, Steven Meisel and many others.

As for today, Joana still works with Guido but she also started working by her own name which made her a Global Ambassador for Schwarzkopf and Alterna.

Most importantly, she’s also an ambassador of Portugal, carrying the values that we  see as core to the soul of our country. Wether she’s working in New York or at her mother’s salon in her hometown she never ceases to be the best she can and to be as polite and kind as she can be.

You can find her work or her latest destination by following her instagram account:

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