What country are you from and where do you live?
I was born in the United States, Artesia New Mexico to be exact, and now residing in Fleming Island Florida just outside of Jacksonville, Florida, the Northern Florida area. I grew up in New Mexico until the 8th grade when the family moved to California in 1967, opened my own salon in 1980 then moved to New York in 2000 then on to Florida in 2013.
Title of what you do and what company you work with?
I am a Redken Artist and my title is Redken’s Global Artistic Ambassador. I also have a Sam Villa tool brand established in 2006.
Education background (Hair school, art school, no school)?
I graduated from Ponce College of Beauty in San Mateo California in 1977.
What is your signature style/artistic expression to your work?
In the beginning of my career, I was really into the avant-garde and then a third of the way through I started to gravitate to precision, fundamental cutting and finishing. At that time, I wanted to focus on being a teacher and not so much a showman.
The Hairdressers’ Hairdresser is what I am about….an educator…. a teacher ….as a hairdresser I must never cease to learn….salonable work with an edge.
Do you have a career turning point or big break that has helped your career?
The turning point of my career was when I joined Redken as I was given the resources to become a great facilitator. I thought I knew how to teach, yet Redken paved the way for interactive learning in the industry which changed me as a platform artist. The 2018 NAHA Lifetime Achievement Award and the International Hairdressing Awards Influencer of the Year confirms I am on the right track as a teacher who desires to make hairdressers better hairdressers.
What was your scariest and proudest moment in your career?
The scariest moment was the moment prior to receiving 2018 NAHA Lifetime Achievement as I was standing off stage thinking how this industry gave my career life. You see, awards represent achievement, and to an extent they show more about who you are as a person because they show desire, ambitions, goals, and accomplishment. It was a scary moment of reflecting how I got where I was at that moment.
What is next for your career goals?
All I want to continue to do in this business is to teach, develop and watch others grow. My work will continue to speak to that commitment. Over the years so many people have asked why I do what I do. I will continue to choose to make hairdressers better hairdressers as a teacher in this industry. I will continue to stand before an audience motivated by the passion to teach, not to say what is right, what is wrong. For over forty years so many people have generously shared so much knowledge with me. I choose to pay it forward and share with others. I will continue to stand before an audience as a hairdresser who is proud to be a teacher who chooses to grow hairdressers by adding educational VALUE to the industry.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your business?
Education…. Education…. Education… Over the years education has broadened my outlook on trends, it promotes the “how” in technique and enhances communication skills and business skills, yes even business skills.
So many people have asked how I got to where I am….I went to every class….show…business class…I could attend. I always had an attitude that I would walk away with something. I have always told myself as a teacher I must never cease to learn, and I also believe that as a hairdresser we must never cease to learn. Education is essential for any kind of development. Education today can be more felt than described, as it is the backbone of our industry and a body cannot stand upright without a backbone.