January was a great month, and start to this new chapter of my life (cliche). The first half of this month D R A G G E D along, recovering from the holidays is always an uphill battle, and as if that wasn’t already stressful enough I was also preparing for my first ever professional showcase.
RAW Natural Born Artists, is an L.A based company which “provides independent artists within the first 10 years of their creative career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity. RAW ventures to provide the platform for those artists to be seen, heard and loved.” Not only for hairstylists but. makeup artists, visual artists, musicians, etc. I was invited to be a part of their local Louisville-artists-only show!
So, how the heck did this happen??? In late November of ’17, someone reached out to me via Instagram. Which is crazy, like hi hello, me? I still don’t know how they found me, but I’m definitely not complaining. I immediately freaked out, naturally. The process of actually being chosen to participate in a RAW showcase after you’ve been submitted consists of two phone interviews, and tons and tons of back and forth emails. After all that though, comes the best yet most daunting news that a creative person can receive “no real guidelines, it’s your showcase, be creative and show the world your work”. That isn’t verbatim what I was told, of course, but you get the idea.
I’m just going to cut the fluff, I was freaking out. I had to come up with a theme, find models, dress the models, sell my 20 ticket minimum and showcase my talent. This is where I skip all the crummy details and just say, I am thankful for my friends, my boyfriend, my family and everyone that supports me. I had one of my close friends, and mentor, Dara Michelle style my models. She was the person who opened the door for me to get into doing hair for photoshoots, and I didn’t hesitate to ask her if she would be willing to style my models. She created an amazing look based on an Inspo??? of “share and wear”. Which is suits, stripes and lots of print blocking. My models were three friends who were willing to give me complete creative freedom when working with their hair. I was so humbled by the outpouring of support from my family and friends. They bought tickets, and shared and posted about the event! Without them I may never have surpassed the 20 ticket minimum that’s applied to each first time artist with the company. Which had been a major stressor from the moment I agreed to participate in the show.
Now you’re thinking, models and clothing styles are cool, but what hair did you do Lisa? I honestly don’t do well under pressure. However, I knew that if I could get a clear idea of each of the looks I wanted to achieve, it would be a lot less terrifying. So first, I knew I wanted to incorporate braids into one of my looks. After bouncing around a few ideas, I settled on doing box braids on my model, Niko. I’ve loved braids for as long as I can remember, and I knew it would be uniquely cool to add long braided extensions to a male model with shaved sides. My second hair look was inspired by @HairGod_Zito. I love how he combined shaved sides with a mix of a mohawk and a mullet, so I cut my second model, Gray with that inspiration in mind and then colored his hair with light pinks and purples. The third look was by far the hardest look for me to mentally construct. My last model Holly, is one of my co-workers and volunteered herself to be my third model. I knew I wanted the same pinks and purples that I’d put into Gray’s hair to be represented, and I wanted to add a little texture to make it more interesting. I’d had this mid-shower vision of small gold rings hanging in her hair, I knew it would be the perfect way to add some texture and sparkle, as well as set her look apart from Gray’s. Trying to figure out how to do that turned out to be an adventure of its own. I ended up with a container of tiny jewelry links from Hobby Lobby. We clamped them down at spaced intervals and teased the hair between the links to both hold them up and further develop the texture I was looking for.
Lots of ideas, right? All of my hair prep was done the week of the show, not because of procrastination, but the pinks and purples I wanted to show were pastel. I couldn’t risk colouring too far in advance and having the colour fade through washes. The final iteration of Niko’s braids were done the night before the show, but the entire month of January had basically become a weekly ritual of practicing box braids on Niko for hours at a time. My wonderful boss, Xac helped me braid his hair the night prior to help save me some time, stress, and to prevent braids from loosening and falling out (which of course some did an hour or so before stage time. They could really make an Olympic sport out of re-braiding under pressure).
Showtime. The day of the show was also my birthday (like could this story have any more twists?), so I woke up, got my nails done and got ready to do my final prep of my models. The boys were ready, so all I had to do was style Holly’s hair which was a mixture of crimping, curling and teasing the strands that had the rings. At this point everything became a blur, and on the way to the venue, I was whining that I would never ever ever do another showcase. Getting to the location, I realized how everyone else was basically in the same boat I was in. We were all freaking out, pits sweating, brows dripping and frantically asking “what time am I going on again?” People were everywhere, getting ready, changing, asking for safety pins.
Doors for the event opened at 7; time couldn’t have ticked any slower in those preparatory hours. I’ve never been much of a drinker, but when Holly asked me if I wanted a drink as the event began I have never appreciated an overpriced beverage as much as I did then. Sorry, Mum. Moving along. Doors opened, lights dimmed, music started and this massive wave of energy flowed into the venue as people started to enter. All of my stress (well, most of it) washed away as I started to talk to people, and see my models (my friends!!!) walk around with my work.
This is where I’m not sure what else to tell you. I didn’t think I would enjoy the show, as I was so focused on how stressful I thought this show would be, that when I finally started to enjoy it, I stopped thinking completely. The night flew by, as I managed to somehow rebraid two fallen heroes before the showcase started, Holly’s rings managed to stay in her hair all night, and I managed to not fall in my heels.
I know this is a long post, and I don’t want to bore you. I would like to to just finalize this post by saying how grateful I am to be a part of this experience. I went into this it overwhelmed, nervous and unsure of what to expect. I said I was whining on the way there, feeling underprepared. By the end of the night I was ready to do another showcase. All the anxiety I had felt in the days and weeks leading up tp the event was no longer important. I felt the gratification of seeing my work, my friends and my vision walk on a runway and it felt like a little light on a dream I’ve had doing hair for runways.
So, do I plan on doing another showcase? Maybe!!! Do I think I should stop typing and just add some pics of the show? Yes.
I hope you find this post interesting, and I wanna know if you have ever done a showcase or want to do one!! Thanks for reading. Messypot