Sophie Kaspar, 36

W 22nd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves

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Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

What do you do? I am a freelance hairstylist. I do print and runway stuff, and haircuts for regular people, too.

How does one wind up playing with hair professionally? When I was 19, I woke up one morning and I thought, I would love to work on others' hair. I was on a trip in Australia for a year, doing nothing, so maybe my brain was so empty that I finally got good ideas.

Fashion Week's coming! That's a lot of model hair...and model tears? No, I mean, models are very used to scalp pain. When I'm in a rush, I tell them, "Sorry, I cannot be polite now, I cannot be very gentle with you. Just close your eyes and go through that pain, please." [Laughs]

It's like going to the dentist. Exactly. If they're happy with the results, they forget about the pain two seconds later.

Where are you from? Vienna. I've been in New York almost four years now. My big dream is to go from New York to Los Angeles by car. I see that trip through a pink glass, I guess.

How do you feel about strip malls and obese people? I just want to see them live and all these clichs everyone is talking about. I mean, if they are happy, I'm happy. If they are not happy, I think mankind should educate them to live a healthier life.

Well, in any case, be prepared for a lot of highways and cornfields. Maybe it'll be meditative.

Those are rose-colored glasses. [Laughs] I guess so.

More from Sophie

"I love to go out during the day—I'm an old lady. My favorite thing is to go to the Warm Up at PS1 and have my whole going-out done at 10pm."

"I love fashion and I love magazines and I love the whole industry—though of course I also hate it sometimes. But I was always aware that we were not saving lives here."

"The standard of life is very high in Vienna compared to New York. And the money I pay for a studio here, I'm sure I could get a three-bedroom in Vienna. And everything there is a little bit more modern. The subways are more clean, the electricity wires are not hanging down in the streets, and there are no rats and no roaches. But I enjoy New York a lot. These are just facts, not complaints. Right now I'll stick with my Chelsea."

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