How MATEO and Rodrigo Ivory are Helping People Feel Beautiful Inside and Out
For many people, defining their personal style can feel daunting. From buying clothes that fit them well to picking the right haircut or hair color that matches their personality and accentuates their features, there's more than meets the eye when it comes to fashion and beauty.
That's where Rodrigo Ivory and Matthew Gonzalez, professionally known as MATEO, sweep in with their magical touch and eye to help their clients feel like Cinderella.
The hair stylist and image consultant have stood out for their outstanding work in their respective fields for celebrities, influencers, business owners, and editorials, also teaming up to create stunning looks for the acclaimed Peechy Group by Dafne Evangelista.
MATEO, whose work has been featured in prestigious magazines including L'Officiel, Glamour, Elle, InStyle, and Marie Claire, is a triple threat, bringing a background as a creative director and makeup artist to the forefront of his image consulting work.
"Most of my image consulting clients are successful business owners," MATEO tells People Chica. "They find themselves in the middle of reinvention and want to project an image of success that is well-earned and deserved."
Ivory, who started his career in Santiago de Chile, launched his own salon in Chile in the early days of his career, serving as an instructor for brands such as Redken and L'Anza. He moved to Miami in 2018 to work at one of Miami's most high-end salons, Dafne Evangelista Beauty Lounge.
MATEO and Ivory sit down with People Chica to share their secrets to impeccable style and breaking barriers as Latinos in the fashion and beauty industry.
Many people may not know what an image consultant does or how they can be incredibly useful. How can they benefit from hiring this kind of service?
Most people fall into the false narrative of saying they don't have [a] style or a look, we say this to distance ourselves from fashion. The truth is we all have a style, but maybe we haven't found the right fit or colors that favor our body type or skin tone—that's where an image consultant comes in and teaches you about what works for you and your lifestyle.
Fashion and beauty is a subjective art, what do they mean to you?
Touché, I love how you asked me one of the questions in my questionnaire. To me, fashion is the best form of self-expression. How it can reflect someone's emotional state, level of confidence, creativity, and openness to the outer world has always fascinated me.
Sometimes I feel like these things flow through my veins, it's just second nature. I'm very intuitive with my work, I can't say there's a specific method or teaching. My soul connects to each person I work with and says, "I see you." All my clients come to me because we were led to one another to learn and grow together.
Whether individuals are fashion savvy or not, we wear, buy, and pick out garments for our everyday life. What tips would you share that can help someone define their style or the type of clothing they should wear?
A tip I would give to someone to elevate their style would be to look for great basic pieces of clothing like a bodysuit or jeans that fit perfectly. Also, take the time to find those statement pieces that reflect who they are. It could be a '90s leather jacket you found at your local vintage shop or that beautiful vintage designer bag that can elevate your everyday look no matter what you are wearing.
You have worked with several celebrities and influencers in fashion hubs like New York City, Miami, Paris, and Milan, but you also work with non-celebs. What have been the biggest takeaways from your work? What is your favorite part of your job?
One of my biggest takeaways is that everybody deserves to feel beautiful. I strive to make my clients feel like Cinderella, letting them know that they are beautiful and all I'm doing is sprinkling a little bit of my magic over them.
The best part of my job, if I could even call it that because I feel like I don't work a day in my life, is that at the end of each encounter, I have with my clients the, "Oh my God, I look so beautiful, thank you," or "Wow, I feel like my true self!"
Also, the occasional tears of joy when someone sees themselves as beautiful for the first time in a very long time.
When in an image consulting session with a client, what aspect of a person's life do you take into consideration to build their new look?
When image consulting I consider several aspects, for example, the client's lifestyle, if they are a single parent of two that won't run around in heels all day but much rather purchase a pair of cool white sneakers—I have to pay attention to that. Their occupation, where is this person working? Are they a lawyer that needs to be suited up all day? Maybe the best way they can express their flare is with an impeccably tailored suit.
I also ask who inspires them. It could be a celebrity that has [an] exceptional style or their best friend that carries themselves in a certain manner that's appealing to my client. I take the time to get to know everyone that hires me, I listen and take mental notes. Something that my fashion studies taught me was to be observant and aware of the needs of my client. I'm here to serve and support them.
We are seeing the rise of Latinos within the fashion and beauty industry—a wave that is bringing new perspectives into this world. How do you incorporate aspects of your Latinidad into your work?
The way I bring my Latinidad into my work is through my team, to be honest. I strive to always have a Latine team working by my side, whether that's from the photographers I collaborate with to capture the editorials that I dream up in my head for magazines, or the hairstylist that does the hair for my clients and shoots, at the end of the day I believe as a community we need to support each other, we're not each other's competition. If I grow, you grow too.
Hair styling can make a huge difference in someone's appearance. As a hair stylist, what do you aim for when helping someone update their look?
When someone comes to see me my goal is to bring out the best part of them. I believe beauty lives inside—all I am doing is bringing it out to help their self-esteem, and self-confidence, empower them, and make them feel like the most beautiful person walking on the street.
You're one of Miami's most coveted hair artists, using a unique technique that gives off seamless results for your clients. Can you share some of your secrets?
I feel like one of my most important secrets is that I listen to my clients. I listen to what they say and what they're trying to achieve. Many hairstylists in the industry just do whatever they want instead of listening to what the client wants.
After that first step, I treat every hair like a canvas and I paint on that canvas as if my dyes were watercolors.
Did you always know you wanted to go into hair styling? What led you to choose this as your preferred career?
Actually, my first option was to be a graphic designer. In the early 2000s in Chile, if you didn't have a career, you were no one, but then I had to stop my studies and look for an alternative, [and] that's how I fell into the industry. I was very successful and learned very fast, but it took me three years to be passionate about my career.
People are often hesitant to try new looks with their hair. What would be your best advice for someone who wants to try something new but is afraid to take the risk?
I agree with that. Many people are afraid of change. They are usually more open to creating a new look when they are going through a breakup or looking for a new job, so it gives them a chance to change. But after a few months, it seems like they are coming back to reality, and they wanna go back to their natural color or let the hair grow again.
My best advice is to try to play a little more and discover parts of your personality that you haven't seen in the past. Hair grows and you can always switch the color if you do it with a professional.
What are three tips you can give people to take care of their hair and keep it healthy after getting a cut or color?
One of my best tips is to try to create a relationship with your artist, with the person that is in charge of your hair. Don't be afraid of asking for recommendations, go to the salon every three months to get a trim, don't use vegetables and oils that you use to cook to put them in your hair, [and] enjoy them for eating, they only make your hair greasy and oily. Also, use professional products to wash and treat your hair.