Update: Mr. Jonal Chong, as of Jan 8 2011, has admitted that his claims of being a stylist to celebrities were entirely fabricated.
He’s the owner and managing director of Jonal Chong Hair Couture and SF Savoir Fair – both in Singapore and London.
This Singaporean hairstylist, who was based in London for 7 years, returned to Singapore in 2005 after his 5-year contract as the personal hairstylist for Nicole Kidman ended.
Apart from Kidman, Jonal Chong, 48, has also cut and styled the crowning glories of various celebrities from the hall of fame such as Hugh Grant, Courtney Cox Arquette, Ewan McGregor and Katherine Heigl.
Jonal with Nicole Kidman
Jonal with Katherine Heigl
“These people are my regulars in my salon in London. However, my favourite person will always be Nic because she’s the one who gave me my big break and I will forever be grateful towards her,” says Jonal.
During the 5 years that he was working for Nicole Kidman, Jonal said it wasn’t all glamour and fun.
“Being a yellow-skin in Hollywood, I initially felt out of place. I felt like the character E.T. – someone who landed in a totally different world. It took a lot of effort to stay in Hollywood, in the hair industry, because people judged and some were really bitchy. However, I managed to stay and make a name for myself,” says the hair guru, who has been cutting hair since the age of 15.
Jonal describes himself as someone “who loves dressing up, who loves beauty, who believes in fashion” and who feels that it’s his responsibility to make women look beautiful.
He indulged again recently by setting up his second hair salon in Singapore – Jonal Chong Hair Couture in the heart of the shopping district, Orchard Central.
The managing director officially launched his 1, 100 sq ft all white, avant-garde salon on Oct 28.
The twist to his new salon? Prices won’t be sky-high as what most of you would expect. Instead, it’d be mind-bogglingly low.
Cuts start from $13 onwards while other services such as hair treatment or colour and cut are priced from $38 up.
However, the man himself won’t be touching your hair of course. Because if he does, be prepared to pay $250 onwards for a simple haircut.
Jonal strongly believes in 15 of his apprentices that he’s trained personally for about a year to attend to his customers and satisfy them.
Jonal Chong (left) cutting the hair of one of his V.I.P customers in the V.I.P room, while coaching one of his apprentices (right) along the way.
When asked why he’s offering his hair services at “heartland prices”, Jonal says, “I want to give those customers who are not willing to pay a lot of money on hair a chance to enjoy my luxe hair services without spending a bomb. By doing this, I feel that finally, more Singaporean men and women have an equal chance to look good at an affordable price.”
Even before Jonal Chong Hair Couture was officially opened for business, he had already attended to a number of notable customers.
MTV VJ Denise Keller paid him a visit 2 days before the Elle Awards to get her hair done for the opening ceremony. One of the Polo Boys – Channel 5’s new drama series – Paul Foster, also dropped by for a haircut.
These artistes were attended to in the salon’s Very Important Person (V.I.P) room.
The hair maestro also requested for a Very Very Important Person (V.V.I.P.) room to be built for his extra special customers.
When asked who they are, Chong smiled coyly but remained professional and said, “They are prestigious bankers, lawyers and doctors.”
He has yet to go back to London to check on his salon there. According to him, “the salon isn’t doing very well because of the economic downturn”.
However, he’s proud of the fact that he’s still in contact with Nicole Kidman.
A few of his famous works of her include the famous Chanel No.5 advertising campaign in 2004 and the movie – Birth, that Kidman starred in that same year.
Her sudden change in hairstyle, which was cut short by Jonal to suit her character, was a bold statement compared to her usual locks.
He said, “Nic loved her short hair. Although it was a drastic change in hairstyle, she was comfortable in it and pulled it off really well.”
After being in the business for over 30 years, the celebrity coiffeur already has plans to retire soon.
Jonal says, “I can’t go on forever doing this. I definitely have to step down soon and my right-hand man, David Oh, will take over me.”