What It Takes to Be a Celebrity Hairstylist’s Assistant
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Want to know what it takes to assist the crème de la crème of celebrity hairstylists? Then look no further than the gallery ahead in which the mavens behind the locks of Cardi B, Chrissy Teigen, and more dish on how to apply to shadow or assist them and what it takes to nail the trial process.
Precision, Professionalism & Organization
–Kahh Spence @kahhspence
When looking for an assistant, my top three qualities are precision, professionalism and organization. My assistant MUST be punctual with their timing, precise with all of their work and always have their schedule, products, and kit organized. My clients expect these things of me so it’s only right that I expect them of my assistant.
How to apply: I usually hire assistants by referrals, as my peers typically know what I look for so I trust their judgement. However, my team and I often receive DMs or emails from new stylist looking to shadow me for the day. I always request a portfolio or link to their work and decide from there if it’s a good fit.
How to nail the interview: Be confident in who you are and what you do. Don’t overdo it, but don’t be afraid to show me what you have to offer because I often like to refer assistants to clients without being present. I want to make sure my assistant is equipped with the proper knowledge and decorum to stand alone with one of my clients if it comes to that.
I usually have 2 assistants in NY and 2 assistants in LA. Each assistant specializes in something different. When I’m working on wigs, I’ll call one assistant because I know he/she has more experience with wigs. If I’m working with natural hair and we’re just styling (blowout, ponytails, etc.), I’ll call another assistant because I know that’s her strong suit.
Good Attitude, Humble Background & Good Energy
–Anh Co Tran @anhcotran
How to apply: I generally like a professional email, as it is business related, but I’m hip! I look at all my DM’s on Instagram 🙂
How to nail the interview: As cliché as it sounds, just be yourself!
Usually, my training program takes one to two years, but it all depends on the person. Also, sometimes, there are instances where it didn’t work out so we had to find a replacement.
I prefer word of mouth and personal recommendations, but I do post on Instagram! Feel free to send me those DM’s!
Kind, Honest, Friendly & Eager to Learn
–Cervando Maldonado @cervandohair
1. The first quality I look for is someone who’s kind, honest, friendly, eager to learn and passionate about they do
2. Someone who is not affected being around celebrities and know how to handle themselves in those situations.
3. Someone who has a vision of what they see for themselves in their future career.
How to apply: The best way is to reach out to the manager at my salon or my agent and leaving a resume including an instagram where I can look what their work is ,see what’s their vibe is and if that person is someone I’d like to work with.
How to nail the interview: To be on time or ahead of time, to be very clean and organized, be a good listener and some who pays attention to details and picks up on things fast.
I switch assistants every two or two and a half years. Usually I go by referral from a college or a former assistant that knows my style, my personality and the way I like to work.
Cool & Easy to Be Around
–Laura Polko @laurapolko
1. I love someone who’s cool and easy to be around but I don’t want to talk much or people who get too comfortable
2. I prefer they have experience and are fast learners if not
3. Grateful and happy to be there and not in a rush to leave
Usually if I need someone I’ll try out someone out who has reached out either via email or direct message or through a mutual friend.
How to nail the interview: Don’t overthink it, be nice, and do your best.
Prepared,Well-Mannered & Confident
–Laini Reeves @laini_reeves
1. I want someone that thinks for me.
2. Someone who’s always prepared and two steps ahead.
3. They should look professional as well; clean and well put together.
4. Have good manners; doesn’t speak until spoken to. When coming with me to assist on my celebrity clients, they don’t get overly excited. Stays calm and cool and is there to help me, not the client.
5. Someone confident.
6. Someone ready to truly learn so I can teach them to do great hair.
I only go with recommendations for assistants. So if someone wants to work for me, shadow me, they have to know how to get to me through personal relationships.
Pre-Emptive, Punctual & Organized
–Jillian Halouska @jillianhalouska
1. Being a good assistant is more of having the pre-emptive knowledge of what the artists wants and figuring that out. Don’t know what pin to pass? Hold different sizes and options. Notice which one, for which style, we usually grab. Same with brushes. Same with combs, Same with products. Learn what they need before they even know they need it.
2. Keep things stocked and keep inventory.
3. Keep the station clean and know how they like their setup.
4. Be on time. And by be on time I mean be 15 minutes early.
5. Most of all, be willing to learn and be excited about it. When you’ve soaked up all the knowledge you think you can, that’s when it’s time to be on your own in a bittersweet goodbye.
How to apply: The best way to land a job is to put your entire being into making it happen. Call the agencies and ask to be put on their assistant rosters. Send eloquently written emails to artists that inspire you. Ask them to take a chance. Tell everyone you know. You never know who might be able to help get you t a new step in this dream. Assist at a salon. Do tests shoots anytime your asked. Say yes to everything. Even if it’s free.
How to nail the interview: When interviewing, show how passionate you are and remember- it’s not about getting the job, it’s about keeping the job.