We Chat To Punk Icons Tish & Snooky Of Manic Panic

  • Words: Erin O'Brien

I rolled? into the Manic Panic offices in Long Island City, Queens and felt that old skool feeling while riding up the small elevator to the their ?colorful ?corporate office. I was greeted by my two ?rock n’ roll ?friends, business role models and ?January’s Diamonds in the NYC Rough – ? ?Patrice and Eileen Bellomo aka Tish and Snooky, the founding sisters behind the most recognized, global, successful hair color brand in the world! I also got to sit with ever fabulous Cindy Smith Dunaway – Manic Panic official Glitterologist/Sales Executive behind the ever-sparkly brand.

?I first met the girls back in 2008 when I booked their entertaining Punk Rock band The Si?c? F?*?cks for the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash. I had known about them and read their story about opening up a small shop back on St Marks Place on 7/7/1977 (Lucky 7 Baby!) where they styled and partied with the Ramones,The New York Dolls, Blondie, and many of the infamous NYC Punk Rock Scenesters that made a huge impact on the Punk Fashion movement that took place on the Lower East Side in the late 70s. The magical duo were even back-up singers for Debbie Harry’s early band The Stilettos.They named their original punk rock boutique on St Mark’s Place “Manic Panic” as their Mom worked in a mental ward and would tell the stories of the patients going into a Manic Panic. ?

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I sat down with the three girls and they talked about their past and their major contribution in the world of beauty and fashion today. Georgia May Jagger, Lily Allen, Rita Ora, Jemima Kirke, Anna Paquin?, Katy Perry and Rhianna? are all huge fans of the colours and ?cosmetics? of the Manic Panic line.? The ladies are known to some as the Martha Stewarts of Punk Rock (no jail sentences though!)?

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And what advice do they have for budding entrepreneurs?

“People have to make a job for themselves – if you are creative and have a love for something, a passion for something, you’re going to make your own job, and maybe have three gigs to support your passion. We started Panic Manic with $250 each. We came from nothing and even sang at night to support our start-up company. We dumpster dove to grab mannequins – we still have some of those mannequins to this day! We just figured it out. It’s not a 9 to5, it stays with you morning noon and night. Prepare to marry it!”

I felt really connected to t?hese amazing women, because you can just tell they are so very proud ?to have been a part of ?the ?Punk Rock ?movement that changed music and fashion history.? ?They had? an idea and creative people all around them?, t?hey ran with that lifestyle and vision and never stopped until it happened. ???

Although I never in my 41 years have colored my hair with their product, I love their rags to riches story. The fact that two sisters from the Bronx, who were raised by a single Mom, even surviving on welfare, then rose to super power success with Vampire Red hair dye, and turned it into a beauty empire where it is sold and highly recognized on four continents, used by celebrities to teenage girls, amazes me.

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The girls always carried themselves around the punk shows or benefits we attended in such a proper punk rock manner – it inspired me so very much. Singing “Chop Up Your Mother”? on stage? in bloody nun Costumes? and axes? and then elegantly sipping a glass of wine after the show. The women possess the? NYC?? Punk Rock attitude with class, sophistication and style. ?They are true Dia