Watch Richard and me do our final tour of the North East, all in the name of hair =)
Hello Everyone! Just wanted to share the official video from the Christian Siriano show, just to follow up on my previous post about working on his show with Sebastian Professional. As you can see, a completely stunning and flawless collection.
Aaaah, finally back to Dayton to relax for a week before we set out for Texas! I’ve been meaning to post about this super fun event, but when you put nearly 7,000 miles on your car in 18 days, it usually means you’ve been kinda busy 😉 But as much as Richard and I have enjoyed the gypsy life, we are looking forward to settling down once we get to Austin.
The Monday after working the Christian Siriano show we held an awesome even in the Meatpacking District in NYC. It was such a privilege to be a part of it. Basically, Sebastian Professional set up shop for the day and invited passers-by to walk through a wind tunnel (a simulated hair emergency) and then have one of the Sebastian artists fix their hair. We had most of the Sebastian Core team there, plus some awesome Design Team members and of course, me and Heather Rae!
One of the coolest parts of the event was that almost all of my clients for the day were from different countries! I had Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine, Canada and South Korea all represented, plus people from different parts of the United States. I always have fun meeting people from near and far so it was pretty awesome.
Also, once people had their hair fixed they could pose at the photo station and share their photos for some free Sebastian fix-it kits. But these weren’t just any photo stations… I’d have to say, we at Sebastian Professional had a lot of fun with these photos….. Enjoy!
Christina McCarver and Me:
Some sweet college freshman who came after their drawing class:
Omar, Celso and Me:
More of me and Omar:
And finally, I absolutely adored this girl, visiting NYC from South Korea:
Hello! I’m chilling in Canada with Richard right now. We have put somewhere around 2,500 miles on the car in the last ten days between Dayton, Philly, NYC, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and now Toronto. Fall is just beginning and I am pretty cold! But last week in New York it still felt like summer.
First off, being in New York for New York Fashion Week has been a major dream/goal for me since I started doing hair a few weeks ago. I worked and even organized a few shows in Pittsburgh, but didn’t feel like I really had the right to say I had runway experience until it was in New York. And it just so happened that this year I would be in between jobs and cities during fashion week. I had nothing else to be doing, so I had no excuse not to try my hardest and email everyone who I thought might be helpful about getting to fashion week. And I did. And I went. 🙂
I feel like once a stylist has done a few fashion weeks it just becomes a part of what they do, but I have to imagine that everyone remembers there first one. So I was beyond thrilled to help with such an incredible show. It was so surreal to be working on Christian Siriano’s styling team with so many top artists from Sebastian Professional.
Anthony Cole did an incredible job designing a very modern, lived in, yet glamorous look for Siriano’s gorgeous gowns. Really, the dresses were beyond beautiful and beyond time. They had flow, they had structure, just the right amount of sparkle and skin when you wanted it. I am just so thankful to have been able to be a part of such a gorgeous collection and to work beside such an incredible team: Anthony Cole, Omar Antonio, Marylle Koken, Diva Poulos, Luis Payne, Heather Rae, Celso Enrique, Sasha Zhogi and, of course, Christina McCarver. Thank you all so much for always being welcoming and wonderful.
Below are some photos, but there are better photos HERE.
Anthony Cole teaching us the style.
PS more to come from that weekend, but check out #sebastiansavedmystyle on your social media for some fun pics from our event in the Meatpacking District a few days later!
Hello Everyone! As most of you know by now, I was one of the winners of this round of the Vidal Sassoon Scholarship. This means a five day course at the prestigious Sassoon Academy, all expenses paid. I could not be more thrilled! As a lot of you know, this was not my first time entering. I am so glad I entered again and that my bud Neil was willing to work the project until we had a winning entry. Thank you so much to everyone who helped me get to this point! Especially Sam, Nita, Maureen, Richard and Elysia for being featured in the film.
While I was in Europe last month I was surprised to discover that a lot of the professional product lines in Europe are actually salon exclusive (compared to the relatively few brands that are actually salon exclusive here). It is something that is beginning to shift now, Europe becoming more like us. But it is a big issue in the beauty industry there, where as long as I can remember our drugstores and supermarkets have been filled with more kinds of products than you could imagine. It hadn’t even occurred to me that the markets could be so different. But it got me thinking, and since then I haven’t stopped thinking…
I have often heard that in Europe the hairdressers are looked at in a different way. They are seen with more dignity and admiration, whereas in the States many view hairdressers as lower class individuals. So maybe it makes sense that people in Europe who care about their hair will usually buy products from their stylist, rather than off the internet or at a store. Retail is important to salons for many reasons. It helps us help the client keep their hair looking great, it helps fund the business expenses involved in running a salon and often salons get educational advantages when they are able to sell more products for a manufacturer. Salon retail is great for the client because you can get recommendations from someone who actually knows their hair and can help them use the product, because how you use a product is at least as important as what you use.
So why do clients venture out of the salon to buy product? I can think of a few possible reasons, most of which are baseless. A lot of clients believe that salon retail is more expensive and that they can find the products somewhere else cheaper. This is pretty much never true, but I think a lot of clients don’t even look at the price tag at the salon because they don’t want to be bullied into buying it. The same hair spray will probably be more expensive at the drug store or grocery store. Not to mention a lot of salons will exchange a product if it doesn’t work out. A lot of clients talk about having drawers and cupboards full of cheap products that they hate, yet are still nervous to buy something recommended by a professional.
I believe a lot of clients think we are trying to sell stuff just to make more money. Honestly, most hair stylists don’t make that much commission on product. There are definitely stylists that push products more, but they are misguided, because it isn’t about the money. But it is frustrating shampooing your client and feeling how dry their hair has become from using cheap shampoos and hairsprays… you do everything you can while they are in your chair but you want them to have great hair inbetween visits too. I love guiding and teaching my clients, but when I am asked how much of (insert grocery store product) to use or how to apply it, I really can’t offer much help. I receive a LOT of training on the products I use and I use them all the time for clients of all textures and styles, for weddings, for photoshoots… I work hard to know what I know about products, it isn’t just a natural gift. I can offer guidelines but I am not an expert on everything out there.
Lastly, I think a lot of people don’t trust their hair stylist. And this is related to the above point but also separate… I think a lot of clients get their hair cut by people that they don’t fully trust and therefore would rather read reviews on the internet (written by people that they really don’t know anything about!) than listen to someone who actually has their hands in their hair. It’s like all of the people self-diagnosing themselves on WebMD, or becoming “experts” on topics by reading Wikipedia articles. I’m not saying these things are bad, I read a lot of online reviews for beauty products, but I know how to cut through the BS and I also know that reading a lot of beauty blogs and reviews just makes you feel like you need things that you don’t.
The problem is, sometimes people don’t really understand what’s going on with their hair. They think they have an oily scalp, when really it is just buildup from product, or people think they need more protein-rich products when really they are using so much it is making their hair more brittle. Just like people self-diagnosing and medicating themselves in so many different directions that once they do see a doctor, the doctor has no idea what is the underlying illness and what is just a result of the patient taking a million things at once. Obviously, even a trained hairstylist can make mistakes, but usually they can rectify the mistakes, especially if you are working off just their advice and not the advice of everyone you’ve ever seen on the internet. I know our culture is generally suspicious and impatient, but if you can’t trust that your hairstylist can and will try to help your hair, you should probably find a different stylist. Just like if you trust WebMD more than your doctor, you should probably find a new doctor (and stay off WebMD!)! We live in a time when their is so much information, we need to be extremely attentive to where it comes from. But why we trust screen more than people, I don’t understand. We forget that on the other side of the screen is someone just as infallible as the people we see in “real life.”
So, you ask, why would a beauty blogger speak out against beauty blogs? I love information, but lets keep it in its place and surround ourselves with professionals that we trust. Trust your hairdresser. Otherwise you could be wasting money and wasting time, not to mention downplaying the importance of real, person to person interaction.
Yes, there were times where I felt like I had flippers for hands. Yes, I was mentally exhausted from so much new information. And yes, it was the perfect start to 2014, at least in terms of my career.
First off, I left Pittsburgh in the nick of time! I have never experienced subzero temperatures so I was thrilled to be flying away as Pittsburgh thermometers were descending to unfamiliar depths. But with the unusual iciness it was not easy to get to Los Angeles! But after a few risks and a few miracles, I made it, and was soon sharing a shuttle to Woodland Hills with some of my favorites: Meghan, Josh and Tony! Such a positive and fun group to be around. They are so easy to be around, it’s easy for me to forget that I’d just met them last summer and that this training was technically my first.
Shortly after, I was reunited with Anthony, Isa, Matthew, Oscar and Heather Rae the next morning, and of course getting to see all of the core team, Christina and Carole, and a bunch of other cool dudes on Urban and Design Team that I don’t know quite as well.
Training started with a wonderful talk from Stephen Moody, the charismatic and successful Brit who has been all throughout recent hair history. His stage presence was inspiring. Then we jumped into the nitty gritty and got our hands on the blades and the shears and I felt like I had flippers for hands, trying so hard to get the cuts perfect. Over the next few days, more cuts, some styling and them presenting in pairs.
Throughout training, and really the last few months, I have felt weighed down by big decisions, most of the decisions circling around the concept of who I want to be. The last day of training I had a bit of a moment, where a lot clicked for me. We had an acting coach come in to guide us through some skits. I had a lot of fun with it and was very eager to jump up and do everything. The coach had started to rely on me as a goto Ginny pig. But then all of a sudden he wanted us to speak about things we loved. Could be anything, silly, deep, person, place, hobby, anything. I cycled through my brain thinking about what I could actually talk about without getting too emotional or sounding too crazy and nothing seemed like it was really representing me and really, at the heart of the matter, I am an extremely private person. Ultimately, I am fairly open to any specifics but always afraid of being type cast, put in a box.
Realizing how much I actually did hate talking about myself was somewhat eye opening. Of course the coach called on me first, and I gave him the, don’tmakemego eyes, and he let me off the hook for awhile. When everyone else went I thought a lot about what a love and what represents me as a person and as a hair stylist. I came up with a pretty good answer, I ended up not sharing it though because I got a good opportunity to talk about storing food in my purse on end and took the easy out.
But what I would’ve said is that what I love is helping people find themselves. I love looking in someone’s eyes and seeing what they need and knowing when I can give them what they need and knowing when they need time. I love healing people who hurt, distracting people from pain, getting people to think about what is important to them, which often times makes them realize they have most if not everything they need. I love making people feel the truth that they are special.
And that is why I started doing hair.
I just went through to scope out the competition for the What’s Next Awards, and there are some great entries! I really was expecting to see more, but I am sure they will start coming in faster as the deadline approaches. Some of the entries I saw were great, but could’ve benefited by a few small tweaks to the photography, wardrobe, makeup, etc. Below are some tips to keep in mind when you submit. I am not a judge so take my words with a grain of salt, but I did win this competition last year and I intend to enter this year. So why help others? Because it pushes me to get even better and because I want to be happy for and proud of whoever gets chosen for the finals =) It is a life changing competition, so style your heart out!
-Get a professional (or professional quality photographer)! Having a nice camera is not enough, you need the eye, the lighting skills… you need someone who can effectively showcase your work.
-Get a professional makeup artist. I do makeup for my own shoots but I don’t recommend this unless you have experience, even if you are quite good at doing your own makeup. Hygiene, product knowledge and a specific kit designed for print work can make a big difference. This year the makeup is very simple. Less heroin/rocker chic and more natural, editorial styles. There is more of a fashion feel to this collection.
-Get a model that fits your look. To be in line with this collection, the styles show a little more wardrobe so you want a fashion-worthy model. You want great bone structure so it doesn’t take away from your style.
-Wardrobe should be SIMPLE and probably black. Jewelry, if involved, should be understated and not distracting.
-This collection isn’t particularly colorful so you don’t need to highlight colors in the photography unless you are featuring creative cellophane placement.
-This collection is also less “busy” than other collections, there are no braids and if there were an unspoken word to define the collection I think it would be “movement.” Your style shouldn’t be a copy of the styles, but it should look like it would fit in next to the others.
-Have fun. Be fearless. =)
And check THIS out for more info! Pay attention to what you will be judged on and be sure you use Sebastian products in creating your style!
Greetings Pittsburgh friends!
Next Saturday, November 30, my former teacher/current boss, Derek Piekarski, will be hosting a fundraiser for City of Hope at his new salon space. City of Hope and the P&G Professional Hair Care lines have been partnering to search for a cure for diabetes with the Hope is in Style Campaign. Come on out if you are in town that night, hang out with a bunch of cool people, drink some beer, and help support the cause!
Diabetes is a disease that hits particularly close to home for me. I grew up in a family with a lot of diabetics, and I always assumed everyone had diabetic relatives until I went away to college and realized how many misconceptions there are regarding diabetes. Most of my aunts and uncles are diabetic, on both sides of my family, as well as three out of my four grandparents, one parent and one sibling.
As many of you know, I am biracial so the two sides of my extended family have very little in common. My mother is Chinese, and one of the few non-diabetics in her family. Two of her siblings are diabetic, but are quite slim/petite. They have Type 1 Diabetes. They eat well, and mostly always have, yet they still need to watch carefully (including making sure they don’t eat too much fruit or other sources of natural sugar). Her little brother was diabetic from a young age, and despite his healthy lifestyle and decades of taking insulin he is awaiting a new kidney and liver. He is in his mid-fifties with two teenage sons.
The Caucasian side of my family is ripe with diabetes. They mostly have Type 2. Both of my grandparents on this side of the family were diabetic. My grandparents both died in their sixties. And more recently, my father’s older sister passed away, also in her late sixties, after at least a decade of regular in home dialysis treatments. Dialysis is a common treatment for diabetics. Basically you are hooked up to a machine that filters your blood because your organs are no longer able to.
My father is also diabetic, but with the help of my mother has always worked very, very hard to eat well, and is on his way to being the first in his immediate family to make it to 70 in a few years. He does have the genetic predisposition towards diabetes, but he is also a Vietnam Veteran and Veteran’s Affairs acknowledges a spike in diabetes for Vietnam Veterans due to exposure to Agent Orange. He probably would have been diabetic eventually regardless, but who can say for sure whether he may have had a few more years disease free? And regardless is it is true for him, countless other veterans may have diabetes due to Agent Orange exposure.
During my sister’s first pregnancy she was diagnosed with Type 3 Diabetes, which is the only sort of diabetes that isn’t necessarily lifelong. Type 3 develops while a woman is pregnant and then usually goes away after, but it is a warning sign that the woman may develop Type 2 later on.
I tell clients that I try to eat well because I am worried about diabetes, and they always say, “But you are so petite!” And I am, but I have seen diabetes in every shape and size and it is not only no fun, it is also deadly.
Hi Friends! I am currently staring right down the nose at my NAHA shoot. This Saturday I will be heading out to Ohio to hopefully get some killer photos for the North American Hair Awards. This will be my first time submitting to NAHA and I must admit that I am pretty stressed out.
First off, I have been working a lot on my video for a scholarship competition for the Vidal Sassoon Academy (google Beauty Changes Lives if you don’t know about this!) and that has been incredibly enjoyable but pretty time consuming. And it has required more teamwork than I am used to, which is fine except for finding time to meet and get footage, etc. etc. Secondly, I am also starting to lay the mental groundwork for my creations on stage at Intercoiffure in just a few weeks. On top of that What’s Next Awards just launched their competition so of course my head is spinning thinking about the Alter Ego collection.
Lastly, my NAHA visions came to me in a series of dreams and I am having great difficulty implementing my designs. And yet, the desired styles are small (though detailed)… but will they be BIG enough for NAHA? Truly, if I can get across what I’m thinking, I don’t know if NAHA will even like it because I have really never seen anything quite like some of these concepts…. And yet the visual interest and impressiveness (if I can achieve it) will be so subtle. I always wonder if I waste my time with some of the little things I obsess over.
So, I am writing this fairly lengthy post to tell you and remind myself why competitions are worth the stress! Here are some of the main reasons it is worth it to enter:
1) Exposure. This is not even necessarily about your talent being exposed to the world but about YOU as an artist exposing the world to YOURSELF. I entered a few competitions with no success before winning the What’s Next Awards. Honestly, as long as I was satisfied with my own work I didn’t mind not winning. My first contest was in beauty school and I went all out and it taught me a lot about organizing shoots, working with photographers and models and also about turning my inspiration into a style and finding inspiration everywhere, which are skills that are applicable to salon work, and really everything else. You learn to activate your brain!
2) Seriously, What do you have to lose? This is huge to my life philosophy. I pretty much just do things unless there is a probably chance of a bad outcome. When it comes to contests, what is there to lose? Most are free or can be done on a budget. I tend to not talk about my work as much as I’m told I should, but when clients hear about “extracurriculars” it boosts their love and they are more likely to refer clients, tip better, come more often, etc., which I would bet would more than make up for any entry fee. Losing a hair competition is not a big deal. Most people lose. And it isn’t always a matter of talent, it is a matter taste and what the judges are looking for.
3) And if you are worried about wasting your time, seriously, what else are you doing with your time? Many of the most successful people I know have no time and yet still always find time. My mentor for the year, Anthony Cress, always finds time to chat with me if I need it and I’ll tell you, this is a busy man! Works six days in the salon, plays in a band, runs a flourishing beard and mustache club, wins NAHA and places as a semi-finalist in Trendvision and STILL has time to deal with me. Trust me, you are not too busy to enter a competition! I mean, obviously you have to really enjoy hair to enjoy doing it and thinking about it when you aren’t at work, but really I think “extra-curricular” hair activities make doing hair in the salon more enjoyable. It has a way of refreshing your love for hair!
4) You could win. Hey, it’s possible! You could! And the more contests you enter and the more you learn and grow from each one, the better chance you have of becoming a winner one day. Honestly, entering the What’s Next Awards last year was a great source of stress, and part of that was because I had this huge, aching feeling that if I gave it my all that the What’s Next Awards would change my life. If I could just create my vision everything would change for me. And it truly has! I have received so much warmth and support from Sebastian and so many opportunities I never would have imagined. So much more than just the award on my mantle.
5) Join the conversation. Do you ever feel like something is missing, like there is something to add to the world of hair? Competitions are a great way to join an international artistic dialogue. Show the world what you’ve got. And be proud of it.