Thursday, April 19, 2018
Business

Politically connected Brandon salon goes Bollywood

BRANDON — Hair stylists and makeup artists at Divine Designs Salon & Spa will close up shop for three days, pack up their equipment and cater to Bollywood stars in Tampa this weekend for the International Indian Film Academy's Weekend & Awards.

"We're so excited, you have no idea," said salon director of operations and part owner Akashi Patidar, who was born and raised in India. "We've been preparing for this event since January."

As the official salon for the Bollywood event, it could be working on as many as 300 celebrities and attendees, Patidar said.

Patidar said the salon landed the high-profile gig thanks to a connection between influential Republicans — salon owner Sam Rashid, party activist Deborah Cox-Roush and Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, the public official credited with leading the charge to bring the awards to Tampa.

"They both came to me and asked if I'd be interested in being the chief salon for the event," Rashid said. "We're really proud to be part of the team that's helping Tampa get this worldwide recognition."

Rashid said the salon and its stylists are excited to be part of it.

"I'm so close to my culture and Bollywood, so Sam asked me if I really wanted to do it," Patidar said. "Yes, it's publicity for the salon and spa, but it's also because of our passion for the culture and Bollywood."

The salon, which has been around since 1999, normally operates with 18 stylists but will bring 30 to the hotels this weekend, Patidar said. The staff has been practicing popular styles among the Bollywood crowd.

"It seems to be a mix between braids and upstyling," concierge manager Roberto Rolon said. "A lot of the girls have been wearing big curls and tight braids."

Rolon said stylists came in early every Tuesday since January to refine these skills in preparation for Saturday's big event. As it drew nearer, Patidar said they bumped their practice times up to two days a week.

The stylists will be setting up shop at two hotels for trials today and Friday and event prep on Saturday, Rolon said. Concern had arisen over whether the hotels would be able to support the power of all the blow dryers and equipment the salon will need, but Patidar said there will be an electrician on site to make sure it goes smoothly.

Landing this event is a dream come true for Patidar.

"It's a lifetime opportunity, and I am thrilled," she said. "Every time I think about it, I have tears in my eyes."

She is most excited to see actors Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Hrithik Roshan.

"Madhuri has been in the industry for about 25 years now," Patidar said. "They call her the queen of dance. Whenever she dances with the Bollywood songs, she can express herself really, really well. She's been my favorite as long as I can remember."

As for Roshan: "He's ridiculously good looking."

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.

Comments
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Updated: 11 hours ago
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Federal regulators are poised to impose a $1 billion penalty on Wells Fargo for a number of alleged misdeeds, including forcing customers to buy auto insurance policies that they didn’t need, according to people briefed on the regulatory action. The ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schrager will have...
Published: 04/19/18
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief op...
Published: 04/19/18
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Published: 04/19/18
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Published: 04/19/18