New York hair stylist to stars finds himself drawn home to work

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For more information on Paul Interval's hair styling activities at The Spa and Salon at Southpointe, phone at 724-873-7337.

   

Paul Interval, 42, has worked in some of the best hair salons in Manhattan, coiffed star models for the best fashion magazines, even groomed NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon for his Tag Heuer watch commercials. Now the veteran hair stylist is coming home to southwestern Pennsylvania to ply his trade, at least part time.

The man who appears to have it all -- a lovely wife (Ford model and actress Laura Stepp Interval), two ambitious children, a home in the Hudson Valley town of Walden, north of Manhattan, and a successful career -- grew up in Washington, where he balanced an interest in athletics with creative inclinations.

While a student at Washington High School, Mr. Interval played football and baseball, wrestled and ran for the track and field team. He also liked painting, drawing and sculpting, interests nurtured by his artist cousin, Johnny Oliverio, of Washington.

"The arts always seemed to resonate with me, and I realized I had a creative as well as athletic side," he said.

With an interest in fashion, he enrolled in the Pittsburgh Beauty Academy in 1982, uncertain about a possible career as a hair stylist. By luck, the Academy put an emphasis on getting its students involved in hair competitions.

Mr. Interval was picked to participate in regional competitions in which he was one of three semi-finalists who moved on to the Hair Olympics in New York City later that year.

"The event really piqued my competitive edge, and I started pushing forward in my career," he said. "Unfortunately, I placed sixth in New York when only five semi-finalists were eligible to take part in the international finals in Sweden."

After completing his studies at the Academy, he worked for a year in Pittsburgh at Gimbel's hair salon, then moved to New York where he apprenticed at one of the Big Apple's top salons.

He also began helping in photo shoots for major fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Cosmopolitan. Soon, he began doing his own magazine gigs and styling models for fashion houses such as Calvin Kline and Donna Karan.

Currently he works at Manhattan's Studio at 19th Street.

With a clientele of socialites and entertainment celebs such as Molly Ringwald, Melissa Etheridge and Catherine Bell, and commercial work for hair care companies such as Herbal Essence and Aussie, Mr. Interval started to be drawn back emotionally to Western Pennsylvania, especially after his mother, Elizabeth, died in December. He has five siblings and his father, Gandy, who still live in the area.

Two years ago, he discussed returning home to work with Pat Zacour, who owns the Spa and Salon at Southpointe. Ms. Zacour is his sister Regina's sister-in-law.

Mr. Interval now plans to work there one week -- from Wednesday through Saturday -- out of every five, flying in regularly from New York. He started in June.

"I'm thrilled at the fact that he's bringing his 22 years of expertise to my staff," Mrs. Zacour said.

Washington resident, Karen Brown, has twice had Mr. Interval style her hair and feels he's changed her appearance "big time."


Dave Zuchowski is a free-lance writer.


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