Last monday I had the honor of working with Deborah Ferguson on a shoot for her online Magazine contentmode.com, known for her chic Interview, Elle and Nylon editorials, she has worked big names such as John Galliano, David Lachapell, and countless celebrities. She grew up and went to College in London during the 80’s and has since made her way across the pond and bases herself in New York. With all her credentials she still finds it important to use and embrace young people in the industry and I suppose that’s how I got in on this gig.
Allow me to be honest; not that its rare, but right now I find it important to put myself out there. I mean, what’s a blog for anyway? So the shoot was last monday. I found out about it on Saturday morning. I am not a session stylist. I am a haircutter. I can style my haircuts and make them look good. I hate up-hair with a passion. If you put a bride or brides mate anywhere near me, I get queasy. That being said, my boss Laini Reeves calls me Saturday morning and tells me I have a shoot with Deborah Ferguson on Monday.
I moved to LA to become a session stylist because its obviously where I felt I lacked in my hairdressing. That did not keep my jaw from dropping to the floor from shear terror of the unknown. I spent all day Saturday questioning, second guessing, worrying, asking other stylists for advice and I hadn’t even seen the images of the model we were using. I had 2 small images in an email and they were of a model with long hair. This was only for the “feel” of the hair she wanted for the shoot. This was not the model.
Finally, on Sunday, Deborah sends me the link to the models website, I go to it, click on her pretty face, she has short blonde hair. The images Deborah originally sent me were of a long haired model with disheveled hair. I had a game plan for long hair. BUT SHORT HAIR????? What can I do with that? The only thing I could recall, and seemed to keep recalling over and over was this nightmarish wedding party I did with my friend Nikki Wynn. As I said before, I HATE wedding hair and every bright, shiny, high maintenance face that comes with a wedding party. This girl, who was dead set on having Nikki do her hair, had to come to me and she had DUN DUN DUNNNNN short blonde hair. Just like the model I would have to do on Monday. I curled, and I stared. and stalled, for as long as possible without having to haphazardly stick pins into this poor, unhappy, unknowing, lonely blonde girl. I mean it was bad enough that her BFF was getting married and she was still single, but having ME do her hair on top of that? Nobody deserves that. NO ONE. So it came to the point where she kept looking at the back and wasn’t digging it and started to get teary eyed as if this was her wedding.
Meanwhile I am reduced to a hairdresser assisting a make-up artist fixing my hair mistakes! Do you know what that does to your professional pride? It isn’t good. I can tell you that. It’s obviously haunted me down to this very day, and now you poor folks have to hear about it. Back to present day. I see the Model on the Ford website, and for having such a pretty face, she instilled only unsettling thoughts of what-ifs. Thoughts of failure and having to move back to Texas with my tail between my legs. Is this dramatic enough? I am not exaggerating. I was kind of panicking. I did have the reassurance that Laini would help and also my friend Candice who is an amazing session artist was there with me Saturday and Sunday morning. I got all the verbal advice from Candice that she could possibly stand to share, and communication with Laini was nil. Sunday night, around midnight, I get a text from Laini saying “You’re going to be fine, just go for it”. Monday morning, I wake up with that good old fashion emptiness in my stomach, pack up my equipment and go. I show up at the location meet the model, get set up and start going.
In the email I recieved Sunday, Deborah had referenced the Spring 2011 Gary Graham show as the type of hair she was looking for. I liked the feel but that didn’t mean I had any clue on how to get it. So I start right in because I don’t really know what else to do. So she had a bleached blonde bob and I decided to put a little hair spray in it and backcomb her entire head. Suddenly, I start feeling comfortable, I start actually digging the way it looks. Then Deborah arrives and I think she could kind of feel me putting finishing touches on the look. So she pulls out her iPad and shows me that what I am doing looks just like the hair from the previous issue of contentmode so I needed to modify it a little. She was nothing but sweet about it though. So it occured to me that I had this thread I bought from a hobby shop in Dallas and this big plastic sewing needle. So I began to sew her hair up and then used pins to organize the hair further.
It’s useless to go into the details until I get the images but it turned out really nice. I couldnt believe what I had produced.In the end, I was able to put together a look that I would never have thought I could do. I could second guess myself into oblivion or on a smaller scale just into mediocrity and never evolving as a hairdresser. I have had so many hairdressers tell me that they felt the exact same way and unless you put yourself in that position where you have to work with what youve got, you wont know what you have. The experience really instilled a lot of confidence in my styling abilities and I am really looking forward to whatever is the next job. Dont second guess yourself. Own what you know. Here is an image from her current issue. Hair by Anthony Nader: