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Rochester Magazine July 2015
Celebrity stylist Stefania Buonomo: 10 years later
Nancy O'Donnell, Rochester Magazine, July 2015

In Rochester Magazine's inaugural issue, Stefania Buonomo described how her beloved father, Cosmo, motivated her to move to New York City and work at Federic Fekkai's famed Upper East Side salon.

"[In 1997], I wanted to make a lot of money for my him a car and send him away on vacations," she said then.

Cosmo had moved here from his native Italy and, after divorcing, he raised Stefania and her sister Marianna.

In New York City, Stefania was soon styling the likes of Christie Brinkley and Melania Knauss (aka Mrs. Donald Trump). But after several years, she was ready to return home. Early on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Buonomo left her lower East Side apartment for Rochester. She kept the radio off during the drive, so she had no idea what was happening back at the World Trade Center.

"When I got to my dad's house, he was crying," she recalled. "He hugged me and said, 'I knew you'd be OK.' "

She was thrilled to be back home, with him. But a few months later, Cosmo was diagnosed with lung cancer and died.

Today, Buonomo's love is 4-year-old daughter Sofia, whom she co-parents with her former partner, artist Kurt Ketchum.

"She's a ball of light," she says of Sofia. "I learned a great deal about love from being my father's daughter, but loving Sofia is a whole other level of love. Nothing could have prepared me for this joy."

Metro Salon, which she had opened less than two years before we first met up with her, is thriving today. She has hired more stylists over the years. And the 100-percent organic, aromatic skin care line she was creating at the time with aromatheraphy expert Michael Scholes now lines a wall in the salon. It's called MIMO 7, a combination of her father's nickname and his favorite number.

Stefania Buonomo, who returned home to be near her dad, now has a new loved one in her life. (Photo: Matt Wittmeyer)
Her work schedule has changed dramatically with Sofia's arrival.

"I changed the infrastructure. I leave every day at 4:30 p.m.," she says. "I want to be home to give her a bath, read her a book. These are crucial moments. I have the ability to do this. There are a lot of mothers who can't. I'm grateful every day … With Sofia, I won the lottery."

It also helps that Ketchum is a "very hands-on dad."

And Buonomo's own dad—the reason she returned to Rochester—lives on in an unseen way.

"I know love because of my dad," Buonomo says. What does she think her father would say to Sofia if he were alive? "He'd tell Sofia, 'There's nothing you can't do.' He would empower her. He'd say, 'Whatever you want to do, Sofia, you can do it.' "

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POST Magazine (July/August 2014)

Profile of MIMO7 SKINCARE, Metro's 100% all-natural, small-batch skincare line

Rochester Business Journal logo

Rochester Business Journal logo ROCHESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL (JAN, 2011)

To read the article "The Spiritual Side of Beauty" click: HERE

Rochester magazineROCHESTER MAGAZINE (NOV.--DEC. 2010)

We asked experts, writers, colleagues and in-the-know friends to find some of the best that Rochester has to offer. And we looked in some less-common categories, to try to get beyond the usual suspects.


Stefania Buonomo, owner of Metro Salon, just added her own natural skin care line of cleansers, tonics, masques and creams to her salon.  MIMO7 (that would would be the nickname of her late father and his lucky number) includes ingredients like oat bran, bee pollen, seaweed powder, glacial clay and essential oils.

For more info on MIMO7, please visit our Products page.


stefania' pressHair stylist Stefania Buonomo left Rochester in 1997 for one reason. “I wanted to make a lot of money to help out my dad. I wanted to buy him a car and send him away on vacations.”
Cosmo Buonomo, once a marble cutter in his native Italy, had put in long years as a mechanic at Gleason Works, and Stefania worried about his health.
She headed to New York and landed a job at Frederic Fakkai’s Upper East Side salon, a rarefied world of the $365 haircut and glitterati clientele—Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Debra Messing, Uma Thurman and others. As the apprentice, Buonomo learned to read the cryptic signals of the master stlylists.
“ Sometimes it wasn’t even in words,” she said as she lifted her arm, imitating a sudden dramatic gesture that translated to, “Blow-dry long straight hair perfectly flat.”
Soon Buonomo was tending the waves of supermodel Melania Knauss (now Mrs. Trump III) and Christie Brinkley, sprucing up Maury Povich, executing precision snips to Regis Philbin’s nape, escorting Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon to just the right bottle of apple cider clarifying shampoo. By May 1998, she was making house calls to the likes of Rosie O’donnell, who watched on TV as she won an Emmy (the cut was temporarily suspended for victory cries).
Styling wasn’t all. Buonomo also had to look the part. “I had to be an example of how people want to look,” Buonomo said. “But I couldn’t afford the Prada or Tod.” One client wanted to know where Buonomo got her top. “I didn’t want to tell her, but she kept asking, ‘Where did you get that great top?’ I told her I couldn’t remember, and the next thing I know she’d jumped up and grabbed the neck of my shirt so she could read the label. The she asked, ‘What’s H & M?’”
But one day, Buonomo had an epiphany. “I was walking across the street to buy bottled water, and within the 10 feet I walked, I was surrounded by an ambulance siren, a jackhammer, four cars beeping and a fire truck racing by. I was literally shaking by the time I crossed the street, and that was it. I decided I had to leave.”
She flew to Costa Rica to study aromatherapy. When she returned, she decided to come back to Rochester.
She packed up her lower East Side apartment, a few blocks from the World Trade Center, and started driving early on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The whole way, she never turned on the radio. “When I got to Dad’s house he was crying,” she recalled. “He hugged me and said, ‘I knew you’d be okay.’”
After the shock of 9/11, Stefania was happy to be living with the man she calls the love of her life. But within a few months, her father would be diagnosed with lung cancer. A few months after that, he died.
“I never felt so alone and desperate,” she said. Once again she took to the road. She traveled to Colorado, worked with spiritual teachers, fasted and meditated. Then she returned to Rochester, deciding this time to stay.
Today, Stefania is the owner of Metro Salon on Gibbs Street, where she works with her sister Marianna—“something my father always wanted”, she said. She plans to mix a little of Manhattan’s edge with a holistic approach she developed out of the experience of her father’s death and her spiritual journeys. She has learned that beauty isn’t just about the right cut. “It’s all about feeling good inside, to feel good by connecting. Since, I’ve come home, I’m connecting.”

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Look, I know you’re hot. You know you’re hot. But how to show everyone else how very hot you really are? Go see Stefania. She used to handle celebrity hair in New York City with Frederick Fekkai and she moved here recently to be closer to her family. Fred’s loss is our gain. At Stefania’s sleek, relaxed Metro Salon on Gibbs Street, you can get a cosmopolitan look at a hometown price. Plus the music selection—from Dolly Parton to the Flock of Seagulls and beyond—even has those Eastman School kids talking.

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