Michael James Baker
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that visionary editorial hairstylist and Neill Creative Director, Michael James Baker, died late Tuesday evening, November 26, 2019 unexpectedly. "Baker", as he was known to many in the beauty industry, had been battling depression for most of his life, and he lost that fight by taking his own.
Baker was a four-time nominee for the North American Hairstylist Awards and currently the creative Director of Neill, an Aveda distributor and a long-time beauty industry and leader and innovator located in Hammond, LA.
In the 80s, Baker was a sought-after editorial and celebrity stylist whose work appeared in Italian Vogue, W. Allure, Interview, and Vogue. Baker also worked as a colorist and Creative Director for Van Michael Salons in Miami beach and Atlanta where he became known for his creativity in concepting Van Michael's legendary platform hair shows.
He had a passion for educating young stylists, in the Aveda Institutes and Paris Parker Salons. He stewarded the Edwin Neill Full Potential award photo shoots carrying on the Neill family legacy. He was the creator of 5x5: The Stage: an educational experience to help stylists perform at work and was the inventor of the DeBulker, a texturing trimmer and a whole new way to create hair art. He also founded the Second Hand Scissor Project, handing down tools to inspire the next generation of stylists.
Baker is survived by his wife, Debra Neill-Baker of Springfield; son, Myles Baker and his wife Kristina of Knoxville, TN; grandchildren, Camden and Damon. He also took the role of father to son, Garrison Neill and his wife Amy; grandchildren, Ivy and Olive; daughter, Paris Neill and fiancée Jayson Seidman;.
He was preceded in death by his father, Lonnie Baker; and mother, Charline Ross.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations may be made to the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Celebration of Life service on Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the family residence in Springfield.