Celebrity Stylist Mark Townsend’s Insider’s Guide to Los Angeles

Mark Townsend
Mark Townsend

Photo Credit: Hilary Walsh

Everyone who is anyone knows the name Mark Townsend. This is the man, after all, who has styled the most famous heads in Hollywood, from Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain to Amy Adams, Lea Michele and Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen. The best news: Mark, who had been living and working in New York full-time, is available (by special request) at Sally Hershberger‘s Los Angeles salon. Hooray indeed! An army brat, Mark hails from Lakeland, Florida. After completing high school, Mark entered cosmetology school and quickly found his calling. He supported himself throughout beauty school by assisting at a local hair salon, where he eventually secured a full-time position after graduation.  Mark eventually decided to move on to bigger and better endeavors, and his strong interest in fashion led him to New York City where he began assisting well-known hairdressers such as Oribe and Sally Hershberger. Eventually his film work led him to major productions like Vanilla Sky and Minority Report, working closely with stars including Tom Cruise (whom he still styles) and Penelope Cruz. Today, Mark’s career spans every aspect of the business, from photo shoots and advertising campaigns to fashion and celebrity. In 2009 he became the International Dove Celebrity Hairstylist – a position that has  taken him all over the world speaking on behalf of the brand.  Of his chosen profession Mark concludes, “I never see myself tiring of this or becoming jaded. Any stylist will tell you, hairdressing is a profession where you’re constantly learning something new all the time. It’s always evolving and I love it.” Here are this hair guru’s haute secrets to the City of Angels.

Sally Hershberger Los Angeles
Sally Hershberger Los Angeles

Where were you born:
Lakeland, FL

How long in LA:
15 years

Silver Lake


Favorite Restaurant:
Petite Trois. You literally feel like you are transported to Paris; they put a piece of rustic bread and salted butter on the counter and every bite of food is the best you’ve ever had.

Best Sushi:
Sugarfish or Matsuhisa.

Best Italian:
Speranza on Hyperion in Silver Lake is so cozy and romantic on the patio. They make their own pasta and have a great wine list.

Best dessert:
For something lighter I love Pazzo Gelato on Sunset in Silver Lake has the best gelato and sorbet.

Best place for a romantic date:
Cliff’s Edge on Sunset in Silver Lake has the most romantic patio and the food is delicious.

Best Sunday brunch:
Black Cat at Sunset Junction has the best biscuits and gravy (and I’m from the South!) and amazing cocktails. And I can appreciate that it’s an adults only restaurant.

Best place for a power business meeting:
La Scala in Beverly Hills. Many a deal has been made over their chopped salads.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?
Hotel Covell just opened in Los Feliz and it’s gorgeous

Favorite shopping venue/boutique:
Barney’s has it all. I basically wear a uniform every day; black James Perse T-shirt, 7 For All Mankind jeans, Theory or Michael Kors sweater, and Prada sneakers.

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches:
Mohawk General Store at Sunset Junction and Shinola in Silver Lake (and they also have the best dog accessories).

Best Spa:
When I really need to check out I love the Four Seasons.

Favorite Charity Event:
P.S Arts.

Favorite Cultural Event:
Food Truck Fair.

Favorite Cultural Institution:
Sunset Junction Street Fair is the craziest mix of music, food, and shopping and is the best people watching ever.

Best Steakhouse:
Mastro’s in Bevery Hills.

Best Pizza:
Pizzeria Mozza. I love to sit at the bar and split a pizza with a friend.

Best Lunch:
Messhall Kitchen in Los Feliz, especially if it’s a drinking lunch!

Best Gym/Athletic Facility:
Gold’s Gym or hiking in Griffith Park.

Best Massage:
The Raven Spa for deep tissue massage is fantastic.

Best Limousine/Driving Service:
Uber has changed my life.

 Best Museum/Exhibit:
LACMA. I am so inspired by art, you can see it in the hair I do sometimes.

Describe your city in three words:
Home sweet home.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore:
The best part of my job is that I get to work in some pretty incredible locations. LA has some amazing architecture and I love when we get to do shoots at The Stahl House or homes by Lautner, Neutra, or Frank  Lloyd Wright. I also love working on the studio lots where you can see some much film and TV history and where it was made. I’m so happy the Hollyhock House is open at Barnsdall Park.

 All-around favorite spot in Los Angeles:
My house. Nothing is better than having friends over for game night!

Best Aspect of Los Angeles:
I feel more at home with the lifestyle in LA; I like having a car and a house and a dog and a small yard. I can be at the beach in 45 minutes or in the dessert in 2 hours. And I know it sounds so cliche but the weather is pretty spectacular.