When Lisa Rinna changed her iconic pixie cut for the first time, she entrusted Michael to install long clip-in extensions. When Ariana Madix made her first Watch What Happens Live appearance post-Scandoval, it was Michael who created her messy updo.
The hair guru of choice for just about every Housewife (not to mention Vanderpump Rules star, Summer House tenant, and Southern Charm-er), Michael has been styling the most notable reality stars of our time for well over a decade.
Born and raised in New York, Michael is a first-generation Italian American who has done hair since, he says, “the invention of the hair dryer.”
“I would help [my mom] apply box dye to her roots, so it was from when I was a little boy that I had this passion for hair,” Michael recalls. That passion turned into a profession, and he worked at a salon in the city before opening his namesake salon in the Westchester, New York, village of Scarsdale. “I shot for the stars,” he jokes. But really: “I fell in love with Westchester. I built up a huge clientele.”
Then Real Housewives of Orange County star Tamra Judge’s publicist slid into his DMs with a hair emergency. She was so impressed that she wanted to introduce Michael to her client.
Though he was familiar with the Housewives, Michael didn’t know Judge. However, he says, “She was known for having bad hair.” She booked him for an appearance on WWHL, and he took the opportunity to transform her look with a custom set of hair extensions. It paid off: “People were going crazy on Twitter,” he says of her makeover.
Things snowballed from there. “Kathy [Wakile] had seen Tamra’s hair, and she had just done her first season of [The Real Housewives of New Jersey],” he says. “Jersey was the one show I watched. It was the most relatable for me.”
The *Real Housewives of New Jersey* star and her hairstylist share an oral history of the biggest hairstyle in Bravo history (literally).
Before long, practically every Housewife in the tristate area was requesting Michael on set. Then Judge flew him to LA to do her hair for one of the famous Summer by Bravo commercials, where he met Beverly Hills Housewife Kyle Richards.
“Every time Kyle would come to New York, I’d work with her,” he says. And yes, he’s responsible for one of her biggest transformations ever: “I cut Kyle Richards’s hair off—we did a real lob on her.”
Beverly Hills today, Miami tomorrow: Scrolling through Michael’s Instagram, it’s clear that he really is the Andy Cohen of hair, up close and personal with different Bravo-lebs day to day, or even hour to hour.
“My schedule’s crazy,” the stylist, who is also brand ambassador for Voloom, says. “I literally work two full-time jobs, between being in the salon four days a week and then I’m on set as much as I can be.” He works around WWHL tapings and reunions, though nonstop days aren’t uncommon. “Sometimes I go into the city at 6 a.m. for press, then I go into the salon, then I go back to do Watch What Happens,” he says.
Reunions are all-day affairs, and he’ll often work on multiple ladies’ hair at once. After all these years, Michael has built the Housewives’ trust, minimizing any unnecessary back-and-forth over glam—for the most part.
“There are some times when they have their ideas,” he says. “For the Salt Lake City reunion, I did not want to do a ponytail on Whitney [Rose]. I wanted to do short hair.” He eventually gave in, noting that he was happy with her look in the end. “But I didn’t love her dress,” he says. “She knows this; it’s not a secret.”
Brutally honest? Maybe. But Michael is as thick as thieves with his Bravo family. His Housewives besties were all at his 2017 wedding, and Wakile even gave a speech.
Back in Scarsdale, clients may even get to rub shoulders with their favorite stars while getting their signature Julius Michael beach waves. “It’s so funny, a client will reference [a Housewife’s photo] and they happen to be in the hair salon. I’m like, ‘Oh, she’s right there,’” he says.
And according to the stylist, there’s no drama inside the salon walls. “It’s a happy place,” he says. “If they’re not nice, they’ll have hair issues.”
Lindy Segal is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor whose work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Fast Company, InStyle, and others. She also writes the Substack newsletter Gatekeeping.
Originally Appeared on Glamour