My high school classmate Fabio Sementilli left a year early to chase his dream of becoming a hairstylist under his older sister’s mentorship and opening his own salon.
He ended up doing much more than that — over the next 30 years, his skills, work ethic, and love for people who take him from Toronto to Los Angeles where he became the internationally-famous go-to guy for hair, trained thousands of stylists, and become the Vice President of Education for Wella, which was absorbed by Coty (in other words, a brand evangelist for the beauty giant). He was killed outside his home in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood on Monday evening.
Fabio and I both went to the same high school: De La Salle College “Oaklands”. Though we moved in different circles — me with the nerds, student council, and the theatre crowd, him with the “Gino Patrol” (“Gino” is the Toronto area equivalent of “Guido”) — we were friendly with each other. He “friended” me on Facebook about six years ago, and we’ve messaged each other back and forth ever since. We’d trade “I’m flying for bidniss” photos, but if it were a contest of how often, he’d win; where I was on a flight once a month, it seemed as if he was on a flight once every week. He sent me some nice congratulatory messages when I got engaged to Anitra, and again when I married her.
He was supposed to come to our 30th high school reunion in October but was unavailable. He sent us a video where he sent his greetings, wished us the best, and reminded us that the Gino Patrol was still alive and kicking.
Modern Salon wrote a lovely tribute, which included their favorite Fabio quotes:
- ON HAPPINESS: “To be truly happy, you must be ready to give 100% and expect nothing in return.”
- ON LEADERSHIP: “Leadership is not about a title. It’s about attitude…the right attitude.”
- ON ATTITUDE: “You must have a positive attitude. Surround yourself with people who add to your life who are positive and have a great attitude.”
- ON INTEGRITY: “You need to make sure you have integrity. Make sure it’s with your clients, friends and co-workers.”
- ON MENTORSHIP: “There are so many great hairdressers out there, and the best way to be successful is to give it away and pass on to the next generation.”
- ON VISION: “It’s more than just having an idea. It’s not enough. It’s taking that vision and making it come to life…following through.”
- PAYING IT FORWARD: “The next level of greatness is about being a human. We are all in the same business – we must pay it forward.”
Fabio had a wife and kids, and to them, I send my deepest condolences. Our high school class is already working out a way to send something nice to his family. Requiescat in pace, Fabio, and I hope that justice is served on your behalf.
I’ll close with this video by American Salon Stories, which should give you a sense of the kind of guy Fabio was: