I never played with Barbies…

May 15, 2012

So, I wanted to write about something and I had this post update so I just decided to combine the two. I hope you dont mind.



The main reason I moved from Dallas to Los Angeles was to do session work ie: hair for photoshoots and the like. Since starting with Toni&Guy in 2001 it was all scissors and cutting hair. From the start I avoided updo’s and curling irons like bird flu. I wanted nothing to do with any of it, though in the back of my mind, I envied all the people, mostly the girls, who did it with ease.



Since Toni&Guy is departmentalized and someone in my position already does not do color or anything involving chemicals, it would seem logical that you would want to cover everything in your realm and styling is obviously a big part of that. Being a guy who never really played with hair growing up kind of leaves you at a disadvantage and hair can be an intimidating textile for my kind. When you cut hair, the hair falls off and the desired shape is hopefully there. With styling you are having to manipulate whatever shape is already there into something completely different. Most of the time you are providing this insurmountably intimidating service to some eager, brace-faced,  prom girl or some over stressed bride or bridesmaid (the latter usually being worse than the bride herself). None of these scenario’s made me want to have anything to do with any of that. I would rather hide in the break room.



In fact weddings themselves make me want to run for my life. Working them at least. Im always down to party…




All things considered, I, for some reason, wanted to work in fashion and for that, you must “style” hair. In fact, cutting hair is rarely ever a part of the job. I always had a feeling that if I pushed myself hard enough I could get over this very real fear of mine. Although my feelings might change from job to job depending on who im working with, I think assisting is a good thing and it is a necessary evil if you want to dredge down this path. You end up doing a lot of work for free, along with having no choice but to set aside any pride you had built up in the past, no matter what you accomplished, where you worked, or what your status was there. You will be degraded, count on it. Although, if you are an optimist like I tend to be, you can see the bright side. Education. Even if it was the worst day of your life, you learn something. It could just be learning how you never want to be, or how you will never treat your assistant when you are in that position or…..



… it could be how to do a really clean pony tail.



Either way,  you always come away with something of value. Even if you want to disembowel the miserable bastard you are working under. There have been times when I wanted to quit this path due to the person I was assisting. A lot of these people dont have much going on aside from HAIR so they tend to take themselves very seriously making themselves look good at your expense. Exciting huh?! So while you do learn so much in these situations, its going to take a bit more on your part.


Essentially, what you are mostly trying to do is build up confidence in yourself by recognizing the things you already know. Of course, there are plenty of techniques to learn but confidence is the most important and you cannot get that without experience.




Now I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “go-getter” in any sense of the…… term(?). I usually tend to wait for the opportunities to come to me. This is not a good thing. If you ever want to make it in the industry, you have to have a portfolio and if you wait for these opportunities to come to you, its going to take you a very long time to build your book. So wherever you are, if this route is part of your plans… you must test shoot. Get your friends together and make it happen. Fortunately for my procrastinating self, I have had some jobs come to my doorstep that have been pivotal for my confidence levels.



If it were up to me and my lack of urgency, I would probably just rot here in LA until some agency felt sorry for my withered girly hands and gave me some half-hearted representation. Knock, Knock… Some jobs came my way. It was three jobs within a week that came through. The first was a fashion film short, the second, a music video, and the third, a test shoot for a photographer friend. Each time, each job, I did something I didnt realize I could do. I styled hair that actually impressed people. Not haircuts. The crazy thing is, this had happened to me before. The problem was that I did not keep the pace going long enough to sustain any sort of real confidence in my work.



Who’s fault was that? MINE. Ill tell you why…..








Am I proud of the fact that I wasnt grabbing the bull by its horns and taking control of my situation? No. I was scared though. My insecurities got the best of me and made me stagnate. Fortunately some friends came to the rescue and presented a challenge. I learned something about myself and what I am capable of…



Another astonishing thing is that I am feeling a creative flow towards hairdressing. As I get more comfortable and familiar with styling hair, ideas are starting to pour in. Its exciting to the point that I finally ordered a block and a stand purely for styling, so that I can practice at home. Crazy… I know. Should I have done all of this a long time ago? Yes. Thats why im writing this, maybe through my trials and many errors, I can save you a bit of time and heartache.



Ill leave you with this post. These are more random images that I found inspiring. I hope you enjoy them.















1 Comment

  • Amelia
    January 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Thank you so much for writing this. I felt at time as if you were reading my mind. Being on the edge of this new frontier is exciting and horrifying. I don’t allow myself to explore and get consumed by it because I’m so scared. It feels good to know that is a human emotion. Time to get my butt in gear!

    Thank you.


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