NAHA + NAHA = WOW!by George J. Miller
What started you in the Beauty Industry?
Sue: Right after high school, I worked as a “Saturday Girl”, in a salon to overcome my shyness. I ended up enjoying being with people and doing their hair, so I went straight into hairdressing when I was 16.
Damien: I was fascinated by visiting a barbershop and having my hair done in a salon when I was young. The hairstylist created quick transformations that created confi-dence in the person — I was fascinated by it, I thought it was cool and here I am!
Do you both presently work in a salon?
Sue: I don´t work in a salon anymore. I travel for JOICO International doing photo shoots, guest artist training, and platform work at trade shows which keeps me very busy.
Damien: Not much. Education was my next step. Who wouldn´t want to travel the world, meet great people, and teach them something you love?
What advice would you give to talent fresh out of school?
Sue: It is important to listen: I always say, “You have two ears and one mouth.” You can be so excited to do hair that you rush through the basics. But it´s only when you truly understand your basics that you can build on that foundation and that´s where the creativity comes in. Learn, learn, learn…I am still learning and I have been doing hair for 25 years!
Damien: Experience working with different peo-ple, different situations, different salons, differ-ent hair, different techniques and evaluate your strengths, and weaknesses. Create a plan of ac-tion so you have a structured way of achieving your goals. There is a whole arena out there: sa-lon professional, educator, editorial stylist, but you have to be great at it. You have to be unique in your personality or your skills as a hairdresser. Find something you´re very good at, something you love to do, cherish it, and constantly push yourself to learn and improve.
What inspires you the most?
Sue: My inspiration comes from the natural ele-ments outdoors, anything to do with colors and textures that surround me.
Damien: My inspiration is person´s head right in front of me: It´s what I´m going to do to enhance the individual beauty of that person.
What are your goals at this point in your career?
Sue: First my goal was to finish beauty school, then to build a clientele in a salon, then I wanted to be a great platform artist and obviously one of my goals was to win NAHA which I´ve finally done. Now, I want to be recognized as an industry leader!
Damien: Basically when it comes to goals, I want to become even better at what I am doing whether it´s cutting or finishing hair, working with a celebrity, working with a magazine or working for the movies. Whatever it is, I want to do my best and to do it even better.
Does anyone in your family work in the hair industry now?
Sue: Back in England, I have aunts in the hair industry and my mother and sister are florists, using color and design every day, so art is in my family.
Damien: No, I´m one of eight. We have a carpenter, a clothes designer, and a photogra-pher. I come from a very artsy, creative family… were all mad!
Where do you find “new” Ideas?
Sue: I´m always looking from the color aspect, so when I look through a magazine I might tear something out because it attracts me from a color point of view. It could be something that has nothing to do with hair color or our Industry, but something draws me to it. I also go to art galleries to see how the artists combine colors together and how they use texture with color to get new ideas.
Damien: There are certain ways of applying color, certain ways of cutting hair that will always remain a consistent foundation. But “new” is all about reinvention, or finding a better, faster more efficient way of doing things. I take inspiration from the past by relating it to today: I pull it apart and put it back together in an unusual way, so it looks current and fresh.
What size shears do you prefer?
Sue: I actually still use 5 1/2” because that´s how I was taught .
Damien: The same. The small ones are good for intricate things but they don´t cover a lot of space on a head and the larger ones are cumbersome. The scissors should become part of your hand, they should feel fluid and natural.
What´s your best technical tip?
Damien: It´s not rocket science, but something I do to polish my work is to always chip into the edges of the hair or into the hairline. Doing this softens the edges to create a head-hugging, feminine, flu-id, flowing shape to anything you do. And I always use clean, neat, methodical sections to delivera very well constructed shape that is easy to main-tain while grows out neater, too.
Sue: From a color point of view, my best techni-cal tip is that I always use three colors on any one head: Light, medium, and dark. This way you can never make a mistake and they will always blend and flow. More than four colors becomes too busy. The base color is your “dark,” then choose your “light” color and the level in between is your “me-dium” color.