Sunday, February 06, 2000

Salon star a real draw

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LUDLOW — I have discovered a secret about this town. If you want to find a woman — any woman from your mother to your teen-aged babysitter — check Suburban beauty salon.

        Last week, half the female population seemed to be stuffed into it. There were women getting haircuts, women discussing friends' haircuts and women with vague excuses for hanging around.

        If you call the salon, which is really just a tiny house, one of these women may answer the phone. At the moment there's only one hairdresser, and they like to help him out.

        His name is Adidian, which is pronounced “Aydee-un.” (He legally changed it to just one word.)

        The women are Adidian groupies.

        “I love him,” said 14-year-old Stephanie Poe last week. “He's like, so cool. He acts like a kid.”

        “He's in style,” says Nicole Litton, 15.

        “We love him to death,” says Carolyn Signorile, 42. “We live through him. He's done more things, my God.”

        As usual, the object of all this affection was circling his current project. He snips, teases and sprays while assorted visitors talk about whatever — Girl Scout cookies, Ludlow's nit-picking city council, tattoos, snobby actresses and their sicko fans.

        Adidian frequently interjects, sometimes pausing to wave a comb for emphasis.

        “I've been doing short-short on these Indian Hill women,” he says to a customer with red goop in her hair. “Spiky is so cute on them.”

        A few minutes later, the

        topic is the sequel to Silence of the Lambs:

        “Helen Hunt, there's no way she could hold that role,” Adidian says. “Susan Sarandon would be perfect, but she's too old. She's an awesome actress.”

        He has the same praise for Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. He should know about their acting: He did their hair for Shawshank Redemption.

        Adidian is 34. Born and raised in West Covington, he has left and come back enough times to be interesting — and to know that this is where he belongs.

        He loves the slow pace, the small-town gossip, the customers who have him over for dinner and put him in their weddings. This spring, just for fun, he's going to Ludlow High School's senior prom, at the invitation of one of his teen-aged customers.

        Adidian and his partner, Paul Ferguson, are the only openly gay couple who frequent Ludlow. Adidian wasn't sure how they would be received at first, but he has a certain confidence about such things. Be true to yourself without flaunting your relationship, and “you can make whatever you want out of your life,” he says.

        The result: Ludlow's women love him and a fair number of men love what he does with their hair.

        Last Thursday, Jim Gilbert settled into the hot seat as his girlfriend, Billie Sue Brown, circled the chair with Adidian.

        “Take his sideburns off,” Ms. Brown said.

        “No!” said the hairdresser.

        “Now, Adidian. It grows too fast.”

        “But sideburns are sexy!”

        Mr. Gilbert just sat. He's been through this before.

        “I just let them do what they want,” he said.

        To study hairdressing, Adidian lived in Los Angeles for about a year. He hated it.

        “Everyone's in such a hurry,” he says. “I like to step back and look around and enjoy things.”

        It wasn't until he returned to Cincinnati that he started doing hair for the movies, working with Northern Kentucky stylist Jeni Lee Dinkel.

        For several years, he owned his own salon in Cincinnati, then sold it. He's not much of a businessman.

        Two Saturdays ago, Adidian did hairstyles for 17 girls going to the high school's big Snowball dance. Then it got snowed out. The girls cried. Adidian and Tracy Collins, who owns the salon, invited them all back for redos, free of charge.

        People are always asking why he stays in Northern Kentucky. It's so conservative, they say, and you could be doing hair for Tom Cruise!

        As Adidian trimmed her sides last Thursday, Amber O'Brien took care of that question.

        “What would you talk to Tom Cruise about?” she said. “You'd have better conversations with real people.”

        Clearly, Adidian agrees.

        Karen Samples is Kentucky columnist for the Enquirer. Her column appears Thursdays and Sundays. She can be reached at 578-5584, or by e-mail at


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