More Than Just An Option: Mycke Arcano Aims to Dominate the Fashion Industry at His Own Pace
In the world of fashion, male and female muses are always at the front and center of it all – be it on a cover of a magazine or in a tv commercial. But behind every successful photo is a village of artists whose eyes for the tiniest details create the perfect shot. They are the photographers, lighting and art directors, make-up artists, hairstylists, fashion stylists, and more.
31-year-old Mycke Arcano is not new in the industry. There's a high chance that you have come across his portfolios of headshots of different celebrities all over social media with #HairByMycke. From women to men's hair, Mycke knows by heart that hairstyling is more than a career – this is his passion for a lifetime.
But starting in the industry is not a cakewalk for him. He endured many rejections and struggles to land where he is right now.
"It wasn't easy. If you're going to pursue this, you have to have a thick skin. People that I encountered had sneered at my work, "Di ka magaling," "Bakit ka nandito?" "You call that a hairstyling?" Mycke recounted. A certain fashion designer even questioned his talent and said "Bakit ikaw yung hairstylist na binook?" to his face. But those remarks and doubts did not stop him from doing what he does best.
Mycke's love for hairstyling started at the four corners of his home. He remembered hair styling his mom and little sister for events. His passion for his craft grew more when he became part of a theatre organization in college and was assigned to style the cast. From thereon, he knew this is the profession for him.
With nothing but a clay doh wax, hair comb, and a lot of guts, Mycke pursued hairstyling while in college. He started doing assistant work in shoots, attend classes in the day, and take hairstyling gigs in the evening. His side gigs would earn him Php 250 - 350.00 per head. To get clients, he would invite people he knows to do collaborations and fun shots and post their outtakes on social media in hopes of piquing the interest of the right people. "May notion kasi sila na pag hairstyling, parlorista ka lang and I grew up in a patriarchal society na very lenient ang machismo. Gusto ko may maputanayan sa sarili ko and sa parents ko na I can make a living out of hairstyling," he recalled.
Mycke was unstoppable in breaking this notion. In the first years of his career, he had gigs from left to right, and it seems like there's no slowing him down. But the reality of being a freelancer dawned on him sooner in his career. "May week na mayaman ka, may week namang hindi” as he puts it.
But the game changed in 2011 when MEGA Magazine opened its doors to aspiring stylists through the reality show Mega Fashion Crew — a reality show that gathers all make-up artists, hairstylists, photographers, and models in one competition.
"I joined Mega Fashion Crew Season 1 kami yung Gerber season kasi kami yung pioneer team. I was eliminated in Episode 3 'cause ang hanap ata nila yung may personality. I thought my story ended there. But on the light side my magazine covers came out unexpectedly and sunod sunod siya," he recalled. His luck was on his side. Mycke was asked to return for the wild card episode.
"Nilabas ko lahat ng makakaya ko sa hairstyling. You want personality, I'll give you that! I came up with different hairstyles," he added. In the grand finale, he landed Season 1's first runner-up. "I am still happy even though na first runner up ako. People would notice me na that I am that chubby guy with v hairstyle," he added.
As a hairstylist, Mycke has worked with the biggest names in the industry. Influencers, celebrities, models, you name it. But there's one who imprinted a lasting impact on him and his career, and that's Kim Jones. "I was tapped to be a hairstylist for her TVC and when we went to Thailand to shoot that TVC and that was really a game-changer for me cause my work is being featured and shown in a different country."
After being 12 years in the industry, Mycke felt there is still a lot more to do. "Maraming clients na dumarating, pero ako lang kasi yung plan B or C nila. I want to be the first option, the top of the mind na hairstylist," he uttered.
In 2019, Mycke booked several big names in the show business. He has done hair for teen stars like Vivoree Esclito, Kyline Alcantara, and internet sensation Mimiyuhh. "Dito ko na realize na hairstylist pala ako," he said. But come 2020, the year when the pandemic happened. Mycke was in limbo due to a health crisis. "I underwent a surgery. I had my gall bladder removed and also had a blood infection. I woke up after the surgery at a time wherein the Taal volcano exploded and Kobe Bryant died. It felt like I was waking up to a nightmare," he recalled.
The year was also challenging, especially for freelancers who are working in the creative industry. Shoots and events have been canceled, and there is little demand for creatives. But Mycke did not stop. He took time to recalibrate things, unlearned the old ways, and learned new things. The verge of men's hairstyling grew with the emergence of Oppas from KDramas and BL series from Thailand, and he joined that trend. "I studied Asian men's hairstyling especially the ones from Koreans, Taiwanese, and Thais."
Mycke wanted to pursue more on men's hairstyling as some are not accustomed to seeing guys rocking different hairstyles.
And he has only one message for his 20-year-old self: "To my 20-year old self, please keep going. Never lose that fire. You will meet people along the way that might cost your sanity but trust your instincts. It will be a bumpy road to become that hairstylist you aspire to be. But today, after 12 years, your life will change immensely so keep going and be kind always!"
WORDS by Alvin James Carino