Stephanie was my salon house model from 2009 until last December. During that period she became a chameleon of styles and colors. Every salon visit was an opportunity for me to be an artist with her hair. She never flinched when I said “let’s go lavender and short today!” or “how about pink?”. This year Stephanie has left Seattle to experience change bigger than her hair. She is now traveling through Asia. I thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on her past looks.
To many of us how we look is such an ingrained part of our identity we are hesitant to go for big changes regularly. I wanted to get Stephanie’s take on her 3 year experience as a hair stylists muse. What did she love? What didn’t work, and how did each look effect how others perceived her. Read on to hear her response.
Why were you so open to change with your hair?
” I don’t think I’ve ever obsessed over my hair. Before I started working with you, I would get a haircut once or twice a year. The only two looks I ever really went with were ‘long’ or ‘short’. I also had never dyed my hair, mainly because in my family being a natural blonde was part of my familial identity – my sisters and I were the “Neapolitan” sisters, with my older sister being a natural redhead and my little sister being a natural brunette. I think I just reached a point where I was bored with my hair and ready for a drastic change, so when you asked “How would you feel about going red?” I immediately replied “Sounds good to me!”
The first color we put on you was red. How did it make you feel and effect where you were in life?
“I loved becoming a redhead! It felt like I had donned a whole new persona, as though I could be whomever I wanted to be. The timing of it was apt, too, in that I had just gotten a new job after a long period of unemployment due to the recession. I was starting a new chapter in life and putting a very difficult time behind me, and the new hair color helped give me confidence to embrace all the great opportunities I was coming across.”
How did constantly changing your cut and color affect how people viewed you?
“I think one of my favorite parts of making drastic hair changes is how people respond. When I moved here from Georgia I was a super shy wallflower who did NOT like to draw attention to myself. Changing your hair makes it an instant talking point, and made me a lot more approachable to people – it eventually became a game at work where people would try to guess what color I would go with next. The more extreme the style, the more people I had coming up to me to tell me how much they loved my hair. The only person who ever expressed dislike for my hair was my mother, who was convinced that boys would never want to talk to a girl with a mohawk. I tried to tell her I got hit on more when I had a mohawk than when I had my long blonde hair, but that didn’t change her mind. Oh well.”
Which style was your favorite?
“The mohawk!! More specifically the blush pink mohawk. I was surprised by how much I loved that hairstyle. I was so nervous to get it – I wasn’t sure I could pull it off and I also wasn’t sure how my employer would respond to it. I still can’t believe the positive feedback I received from my bosses as well as my more conservative clients.”
Which style was your least favorite?
“My current cut. I knew that for traveling I wanted to tone down my look – I wouldn’t have room for any hair products in my backpack and I wanted to blend in as much as possible. It’s exactly what I asked for and you did an awesome job, but after several years of fun colors and styles, going back to a blonde bob feels really tame and no longer representative of who I am as a person.”
As Stephanie was preparing to head off to Asia we needed to create a look that worked for travel. It needed to be easy to maintain and she is traveling alone so she needed to blend in more than stand out. While it isn’t her favorite look it will certainly fit the bill. Safe travels and best hair wishes Stephanie! Until we get you back in the salon….
If you’d like to follow Stephanie as she explores Thailand and the surrounding area follow her blog: www.thewayfaringwriter.com