His Own Words

His Own Words

as his compelling autobiography Hits the shelves, toni Mascolo talks about business, family and making it


TONI: MY STORY charts the meteoric rise of Toni Mascolo OBE,
from humble beginnings in Southern Italy to global success
and hairdresser to the stars at the helm of TONI&GUY

We meet Toni Mascolo on the same night his autobiography Toni: My Story is released. Sitting in a salon chair in the newly-opened North Audley Street branch in London’s Mayfair, he’s relaxed amid a sea of people buzzing about the evening ahead. Toni remains unruffled,  but that’s what over fifty years as founder and CEO of a major global haircare brand will do to you – nothing appears to faze him.

After celebrating over half a century of Toni&Guy the business in 2013, and a decade as Official Sponsor of London Fashion Week last year, an autobiography seemed like the next logical step for Mr Mascolo. And he admits it was his long-term ambition to commit his fascinating story to paper. ‘It’s been very rewarding; it’s probably the most amazing thing I’ve done,’ he says. It took several drafts before he was satisfied with it.  ‘I wasn’t happy doing a book purely about business.

I wanted to involve ideas I’ve had that might benefit other people.’ The book does indeed allow us to get to the heart of the family that became one of the haircare industry’s biggest success stories. From Toni’s early childhood in the sleepy Italian town of Scafati, near Pompeii, which was marred  by WWII, to the Mascolos’ move to England to begin a brand new life – it’s a rags-to-riches story in the truest sense. The tome also touches on the hardships and tragedies that shaped the man, sparking his innate drive to succeed. After losing his mother at 19, Toni channelled his energies into helping provide for the family.  ‘I had to work hard to help my younger brothers and father, who had gone to pieces,’ he explains. ‘I worked hard to forget what happened – and I learned that working as a team benefits everyone.’

Family ties have always been very strong for Toni. He talks about his brothers with fondness, ‘I was blessed with artistic brothers, great talents,’ and admits that there was no grand plan to begin with, just  a natural instinct to survive. Thankfully, theirs was a family that pulled together in a crisis, not fell apart. ‘We achieved what we wanted to achieve – initially to survive and eventually to better ourselves.’

The book also charts the making of the global haircare brand, from its first salon opening in Clapham in 1963, to the launch of the award-winning label.m product range that is now synonymous with the cutting-edge looks of the London catwalks.   Add to that, prestigious accolades that include a Papal Knighthood, an OBE and a Knighthood of the Italian Republic and one might assume that Toni Mascolo would be content to hang up his hairdressing scissors for good. But nothing could be further from the truth. ‘I never want to feel like I’ve arrived. I’d get bored sick and probably die ten years younger if I’d felt like I’d made it ,’ he laughs.

And given such astounding professional success, it’s even  more surprising that his most memorable moments are none of these milestones, but those of his wife and family. Top of  Toni’s list of achievements are his 40-year marriage to his beloved wife Pauline, and the births of their three children. He also cites the success of his daughter, Toni&Guy Global Creative Director Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck – in particular, the London Hairdresser of the Year title she won at the age of 19 – as one of his proudest moments. Though given that family is the cornerstone of the Toni&Guy brand, this really comes as no surprise at all.

TONI: My Story is now available to buy, click below to purchase

  • Words: Catriona Taylor

  • Photography: From Toni Mascolo's Personal Collection