Sam Villa, Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken, has long been known for his positive, encouraging nature and his belief that education is the key to a better life and understanding. Following his acceptance of the North American Hairstyling Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Villa announced his latest initiative, #ArtistsSupportingArtists. We sat down with Villa to discuss this movement that encourages everyone to be the best possible version of themselves, which includes being positive on social media.
Q Why did you start the #ArtistsSupportingArtists movement? Why do you think it is so important for the industry?
A We started #ArtistsSupportingArtists to communicate in a more thoughtful, respectful way, promoting growth and evolution in the industry. The general climate of communication has shifted in the past 10 to 15 years. It seems the more brutal the attack, the more follow-up comments or “likes,” which in turn fuels more negative remarks. In that moment, it’s so easy to forget that the person on the receiving end is a living, breathing human with feelings. Artists tend to have large hearts and a level of insecurity around their work, so this type of communication is especially damaging. Overcoming that insecurity to share their art on a social media platform for the entire world to see is an act of courage deserving of respect and support, not mindless attacks.
Q How does #ArtistsSupportingArtists help?
A As an industry, we need to unify and promote stylists to be the best they can be. It’s a movement and commitment to being positive on social media, to build trust, confidence and success. We’re tagging positive communication with #ArtistsSupportingArtists and ask that we all communicate with the same level of respect digitally as we do in person.
Q How can stylists gauge whether their comments are being constructive instead of critical?
A Stick to feedback that creates a conversation, provides opportunity for discovery and doesn’t carry an emotional punch. Offer suggestions like, “Have you ever tried a version where it’s thinner at the bottom?” or “If you want to blend that fade a little more, try…”
Q If you could send out one positive message to artists, what would it be?
A Turn to education to develop your eyes and hands, and create your own voice and stick to it. Becoming successful takes a lot of hard work and time, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not growing as fast as you’d like. Stay focused, work hard, be consistent and the social recognition will come.
Q What is the best advice you have ever received?
A To embrace social media and the power that it has to connect. We use it to bring more Sam Villa to more people every day.
Photography: Courtesy Sam Villa