Paving her way from salon stylist, education, through the world of editorial, master hair colorist Rachel Bodt has created some of the most stunning and iconic hair colors you’ve seen grace the covers of your favorite magazines. Though colorists often lie in the shadows with their work, it’s inspiring to see Rachel make a name for herself in the fashion world. Residing at Cutler Salon in New York City, she sees a regular clientele in between working on wigs, extensions, and hair pieces for major fashion campaigns. Keep reading to hear about her journey…
How did you get your start in the industry?
I was always enamored with hair, as a young girl I would go to the salon and just sweep just so I could watch. So from a young age it was decided in my head that I would go to hair school as soon as I graduated high school; which I did. I moved to New York to attend the Aveda Institute. My first salon I ever worked at was Toni and Guy. They decided to turn the salon into a full time academy a small group of us were asked to stay. It really made me look at my career and ask what I wanted for myself. I decided to move on and found myself at Cutler Salon. I have been at the salon for over 10 years. After years of building a clientele and teaching on the education team, there was always something inside me that knew I needed more, but I didn’t know where to start.
I met Christine Lavigne at the salon. Christine is such a highly respected person in the industry and I wanted to get her advice and insight on editorial and celebrity work and how does one even get to enter. I owe so much to Christine for taking the time and introducing me to Didier Malige and James Pecis. I was so excited and so hopeful they would work with me, they both had me do projects fairly soon after. My first credited piece was a wig I colored for James Pecis that was on Kate Moss in British Vogue.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
I think I had 2 big hurdles.
One obstacle was not getting consumed with the idea that there were no editorial colorists. People would tell me it’s too hard and impossible. It’s amazing to see now how color really is at the forefront and the acknowledgment colorists are getting.
Another obstacle was I was the head of the Cutler Education team for many years, and once I started getting more jobs it became hard to juggle. I had to follow my heart and devote my attention and energy into my new path. This meant no more teaching, which was such a bitter sweet feeling, but I had to listen to what was inside and follow my passion.
Who are some role models who have inspired you?
Didier Malige, for always doing beautiful work, having a wonderful heart and always being so open and kind to me.
James Pecis, being so creative. Watching him grow was always so inspiring to me, he is always pushing the limits and always open to new ideas.
Tracey Cunnigham for really paving the road as a colorist and showing the importance that hair color makes. Trusting me enough to send me her clients and always sharing information.
Ben Stewart who is my mentor and friend, who trained me, has always always believed in me, and who I can call at any time day or night and talk hair color.
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
I love hair color that is wearable, lived in and sexy. Color that has a sense of glamour, but not overly done.
What was your last major makeover that you’ve done?
Michelle Williams for the Tony Awards and Michael Pitt for Ghost in the Shell.
Which hair products or tools are always in your kit?
I would say some of my products that can never leave my kit are:
Olaplex, Redken Shades EQ (it’s amazing on extensions, wigs, and any hair condition that comes at you), Artego painting bleach, and my favorite tail combs that I get in Paris. Kenra makes the best grays, blues, and soft pastel tones.
What is your favorite Instagram account to follow?
My favorite accounts are Didier Malige @bartpumpkin, James Pecis @jamespecis, Home Agency @homeagency, Pat McGrath @patmcgrathreal, @JuergenTellerpage, and Next Models @nextmodels since I work with them often.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
People speak from their experience and what they have seen. Don’t get consumed with those thoughts, follow that voice inside you, there is room for everyone, and new paths can always be paved.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? What advice would you give to new stylists?
The best advice I have ever received as simple as this is:
Create the life you want.
Create the life you want was a huge lightbulb for me. Don’t just do things just to do them, do them because your heart is in it. Be open to roads that maybe weren’t on your radar, but if they feel right, try them! It could be better than you had imagined.
What is the next chapter for you?
To keep expanding my career in editorial and celebrity hair color.
I will be heading to Paris this September for the shows and see where that takes me.
For more #manespiration, follow @rachel_bodt.