Youthquake: A New Generation of Beauty Influencers

The future of our industry is in the hands of a new generation of beauty professionals. They’re the trendsetters, the influencers, the ones to watch. While this is by no means a definitive list, it’s a jumping off point. We take a look at some of the young people who have smoked the competition or are making their mark in the salon, on social media or in the community.

Mark Bustos
It’s not styling celebrities that’s given hairstylist Mark Bustos (@markbustos), 31, acclaim. It’s his dedication to helping others. While visiting family in the Philippines, Bustos was overcome by the number of needy children he encountered. Bustos, who’s been a working hair stylist since his teens, set up a temporary barbershop to help the children’s cause. Bolstered by his positive experience, after returning home to New York City, he decided to help the homeless by taking his skills to the streets. Every Sunday Bustos, and his photographer Devin Masga, ask homeless men and women if they’d like a haircut. “Jemar Banks was the first homeless man I ever approached. I cut his hair on a park bench on the lower east side. He was quiet, kind and gentle,” says Bustos. “When I finished with his haircut, I handed him a mirror. And the only words he said were, ‘Do you know anybody that’s hiring, I want to get a job.’ Those words told me I was making a difference.” And, as Bustos would tell anyone, he doesn’t treat his celebrity clients any different from his homeless clients. Case in point: His first experience with renowned designer Phillip Lim. “I had no idea who he was. I had a broken left hand, and I held my comb between my index and middle fingers. I treated him exactly like I treat every single client,” says Bustos. “I cut his hair six times before he happened to hand me his business card. Then I realized who he was. I’ve been cutting his hair every five days since then.” This unyielding commitment to “treat everyone with respect and kindness” comes from his personal formula for success—or, as he calls it, the 4 Cs: courage, commitment, consistency and compassion. “It’s very simple, our job is to make people feel good. That’s the bottom line,” says Bustos. “As stylists we need to stay educated, so every time we complete a service, we leave that client with a greater sense of self-confidence.”
Mark Bustos
It’s not styling celebrities that’s given hairstylist Mark Bustos (@markbustos), 31, acclaim. It’s his dedication to helping others. While visiting family in the Philippines, Bustos was overcome by the number of needy children he encountered. Bustos, who’s been a working hair stylist since his teens, set up a temporary barbershop to help the children’s cause. Bolstered by his positive experience, after returning home to New York City, he decided to help the homeless by taking his skills to the streets. Every Sunday Bustos, and his photographer Devin Masga, ask homeless men and women if they’d like a haircut. “Jemar Banks was the first homeless man I ever approached. I cut his hair on a park bench on the lower east side. He was quiet, kind and gentle,” says Bustos. “When I finished with his haircut, I handed him a mirror. And the only words he said were, ‘Do you know anybody that’s hiring, I want to get a job.’ Those words told me I was making a difference.” And, as Bustos would tell anyone, he doesn’t treat his celebrity clients any different from his homeless clients. Case in point: His first experience with renowned designer Phillip Lim. “I had no idea who he was. I had a broken left hand, and I held my comb between my index and middle fingers. I treated him exactly like I treat every single client,” says Bustos. “I cut his hair six times before he happened to hand me his business card. Then I realized who he was. I’ve been cutting his hair every five days since then.” This unyielding commitment to “treat everyone with respect and kindness” comes from his personal formula for success—or, as he calls it, the 4 Cs: courage, commitment, consistency and compassion. “It’s very simple, our job is to make people feel good. That’s the bottom line,” says Bustos. “As stylists we need to stay educated, so every time we complete a service, we leave that client with a greater sense of self-confidence.”
Larisa Love
With more than 150,000 followers on Instagram and a schedule that is booked solid through 2017, Larisa Love (@larisadoll), 26, is taking the hair world by storm. After working as an assistant at various salons, she started seeing clients at a private studio in Los Angeles—a big risk that yielded even bigger results. When she isn’t behind the chair, Love travels the world teaching classes and blogs regularly, sharing her journey with fellow stylists. “Hair is my art,” says Love. “And inspiring people about life is my passion.”
Larisa Love
With more than 150,000 followers on Instagram and a schedule that is booked solid through 2017, Larisa Love (@larisadoll), 26, is taking the hair world by storm. After working as an assistant at various salons, she started seeing clients at a private studio in Los Angeles—a big risk that yielded even bigger results. When she isn’t behind the chair, Love travels the world teaching classes and blogs regularly, sharing her journey with fellow stylists. “Hair is my art,” says Love. “And inspiring people about life is my passion.”
Carly Rae Lawrenson
Carly Rae Lawrenson, 24, works at Harlow Salon on Music Row in Nashville, TN, which is fitting since she writes and plays music. “I’ve been able to write and work with some incredibly talented musicians,” says Lawrenson. Still, she is grateful for the opportunities that hairdressing has afforded her in the four short years she’s been a licensed stylist. In her first year as a TIGI Ambassador, she took a leadership role at the salon, organizing education for her co-workers. She’s also worked alongside TIGI European Creative Director Akos Bodi, TIGI Global Technical Director Christel Lundqvist and TIGI US Technical Director Richy Kandasamy. Lawrenson’s long-term goal is to become part of the TIGI Artistic Team, participate in Fashion Week NY and try her hand at editorial work. We predict you’ll be hearing a lot more about this rising star in the years to come.
Carly Rae Lawrenson
Carly Rae Lawrenson, 24, works at Harlow Salon on Music Row in Nashville, TN, which is fitting since she writes and plays music. “I’ve been able to write and work with some incredibly talented musicians,” says Lawrenson. Still, she is grateful for the opportunities that hairdressing has afforded her in the four short years she’s been a licensed stylist. In her first year as a TIGI Ambassador, she took a leadership role at the salon, organizing education for her co-workers. She’s also worked alongside TIGI European Creative Director Akos Bodi, TIGI Global Technical Director Christel Lundqvist and TIGI US Technical Director Richy Kandasamy. Lawrenson’s long-term goal is to become part of the TIGI Artistic Team, participate in Fashion Week NY and try her hand at editorial work. We predict you’ll be hearing a lot more about this rising star in the years to come.
Peter Marks
Peter Marks, 24, who works at 6 Salon in Birmingham, MI, loves working in a fast-paced environment that allows him to have a positive impact on his clients’ lives. “When I’m doing hair, it’s only me and the client,” he says. “Nothing clears my mind more.” While he loves where hair is going, Marks has always been partial to the intricate hairstyles in the pre-Sassoon era that held for days—think Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol, which is set in the 1950s. So where does Marks see himself in five years? “With all that’s available in this industry, there is so much I can do,” he says. “Salon owner, educator, editorial stylist—they’re all of interest to me, and I intend to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.”
Peter Marks
Peter Marks, 24, who works at 6 Salon in Birmingham, MI, loves working in a fast-paced environment that allows him to have a positive impact on his clients’ lives. “When I’m doing hair, it’s only me and the client,” he says. “Nothing clears my mind more.” While he loves where hair is going, Marks has always been partial to the intricate hairstyles in the pre-Sassoon era that held for days—think Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol, which is set in the 1950s. So where does Marks see himself in five years? “With all that’s available in this industry, there is so much I can do,” he says. “Salon owner, educator, editorial stylist—they’re all of interest to me, and I intend to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.”
Suede Brooks
Just 16, Suede Brooks is the daughter of beauty industry icons Steve and Lisa Brooks, who own Diva Salon in Las Vegas. The popular Internet personality is best known for her Tumblr blog (beachbikiniklass.tumblr.com) and her YouTube channel, MSFTxGYPSY where she video blogs about beauty and fashion. Now one of the youngest tastemakers on digital media, Suede began engaging with like-minded teens by posting content to her Instagram account. Last year she attended BeautyCon Los Angeles, the world’s premiere fashion, beauty, wellbeing and lifestyle destination for fans, brands and content creators. When hundreds of content creators and celebrities came together to discuss the future of online media, hang out with fans and participate in panel discussions, Suede was there to get it all on video.
Suede Brooks
Just 16, Suede Brooks is the daughter of beauty industry icons Steve and Lisa Brooks, who own Diva Salon in Las Vegas. The popular Internet personality is best known for her Tumblr blog (beachbikiniklass.tumblr.com) and her YouTube channel, MSFTxGYPSY where she video blogs about beauty and fashion. Now one of the youngest tastemakers on digital media, Suede began engaging with like-minded teens by posting content to her Instagram account. Last year she attended BeautyCon Los Angeles, the world’s premiere fashion, beauty, wellbeing and lifestyle destination for fans, brands and content creators. When hundreds of content creators and celebrities came together to discuss the future of online media, hang out with fans and participate in panel discussions, Suede was there to get it all on video.
Edward Lampley
Born and raised in Nashville, TN, editorial hairstylist Edward Lampley, 32, got his start at Bumble and bumble in New York City, where he was first assistant to legendary hairdresser Jimmy Paul for almost four years. “He taught me so many lessons, but one of the biggest ones was that you have to do something creative everyday,” says Lampley. Taking this advice to heart, he actively seeks out inspiration from music, art, travel and his wife, and applies it to his craft daily. When he decided to go out on his own, he sat down with his mentor. “We decided collectively that it was time, and it was a really good conversation about how this opportunity would allow me to grow more in my career,” Lampley says. “We decided on a date for six months later, and that was it.” Lampley moved to London in 2015 to gain editorial experience with European clients and then returned to New York to continue his work within the fashion industry. He is now a lead session stylist in demand with recent work shown in publications such as Vogue, Interview, and W.
Edward Lampley
Born and raised in Nashville, TN, editorial hairstylist Edward Lampley, 32, got his start at Bumble and bumble in New York City, where he was first assistant to legendary hairdresser Jimmy Paul for almost four years. “He taught me so many lessons, but one of the biggest ones was that you have to do something creative everyday,” says Lampley. Taking this advice to heart, he actively seeks out inspiration from music, art, travel and his wife, and applies it to his craft daily. When he decided to go out on his own, he sat down with his mentor. “We decided collectively that it was time, and it was a really good conversation about how this opportunity would allow me to grow more in my career,” Lampley says. “We decided on a date for six months later, and that was it.” Lampley moved to London in 2015 to gain editorial experience with European clients and then returned to New York to continue his work within the fashion industry. He is now a lead session stylist in demand with recent work shown in publications such as Vogue, Interview, and W.
Stephanie Lee
New York native Stephanie Lee (@beautybylee), 30, has been influencing the beauty world since 2011. You may know her from her YouTube channel Beauty by Lee where she has almost 200,000 subscribers. Lee uploads videos weekly ranging from makeup tutorials, morning beauty routines, product reviews and hair how-tos. The beauty influencer is someone to reckon with in her quest to change world one face at a time.
Stephanie Lee
New York native Stephanie Lee (@beautybylee), 30, has been influencing the beauty world since 2011. You may know her from her YouTube channel Beauty by Lee where she has almost 200,000 subscribers. Lee uploads videos weekly ranging from makeup tutorials, morning beauty routines, product reviews and hair how-tos. The beauty influencer is someone to reckon with in her quest to change world one face at a time.
Crayton Eisenlohr
Crayton Eisenlohr, 25, came to New York City from the “farmland of Michigan” right out of high school to become a visual artist, specializing in Plexiglass sculptures and avant-garde photography. “I had been showing some pieces in Montreal for about two years when I realized that it wasn’t personal enough for me,” Eisenlohr says. Iconic colorist Brad Johns, who has become a mentor, convinced him to go to beauty school. After graduating from the Carsten Aveda Institute in Manhattan, Eisenlohr acepted a position as a receptionist at Marie Robinson Salon; a year later he became her assistant. Last May he was promoted, earning a spot on the floor as a colorist. “Brad taught me that the way to mastering any craft is to be open to learning constantly,” says Eisenlohr, who is adamant about not becoming stagnant in one way or tool or practice. “Being a young colorist in New York, I’m really taking an artistic approach to color, and it’s very fulfilling to me.”
Crayton Eisenlohr
Crayton Eisenlohr, 25, came to New York City from the “farmland of Michigan” right out of high school to become a visual artist, specializing in Plexiglass sculptures and avant-garde photography. “I had been showing some pieces in Montreal for about two years when I realized that it wasn’t personal enough for me,” Eisenlohr says. Iconic colorist Brad Johns, who has become a mentor, convinced him to go to beauty school. After graduating from the Carsten Aveda Institute in Manhattan, Eisenlohr acepted a position as a receptionist at Marie Robinson Salon; a year later he became her assistant. Last May he was promoted, earning a spot on the floor as a colorist. “Brad taught me that the way to mastering any craft is to be open to learning constantly,” says Eisenlohr, who is adamant about not becoming stagnant in one way or tool or practice. “Being a young colorist in New York, I’m really taking an artistic approach to color, and it’s very fulfilling to me.”
Joey George
Hairstylist Joey George, 28, first found his creative outlet as a ballet dancer and was ranked as one of the top five male dancers by the Youth American Grand Prix in 2004. Fresh out of high school and determined to pursue a career in the arts, George moved to New York City and enrolled at the Carsten Aveda Institute. Upon graduation, he quickly got his first break as an assistant at Bumble and bumble, counting founder Michael Gordon as one of his mentors. But George hasn’t completely left dancing in the dark. In 2014, he joined Lady Gaga for her European tour of ARTPOP, creating wigs and head-pieces and styling her hair day to day. Recently, he signed on with Oribe Hair Care as a brand ambassador and educator. “I cherish the opportunity to travel internationally as an educator teaching workshops to a range of stylists,” says George. “It’s truly an extraordinary experience.”
Joey George
Hairstylist Joey George, 28, first found his creative outlet as a ballet dancer and was ranked as one of the top five male dancers by the Youth American Grand Prix in 2004. Fresh out of high school and determined to pursue a career in the arts, George moved to New York City and enrolled at the Carsten Aveda Institute. Upon graduation, he quickly got his first break as an assistant at Bumble and bumble, counting founder Michael Gordon as one of his mentors. But George hasn’t completely left dancing in the dark. In 2014, he joined Lady Gaga for her European tour of ARTPOP, creating wigs and head-pieces and styling her hair day to day. Recently, he signed on with Oribe Hair Care as a brand ambassador and educator. “I cherish the opportunity to travel internationally as an educator teaching workshops to a range of stylists,” says George. “It’s truly an extraordinary experience.”
Jenny Strebe
Hairstylist, educator, social media rock star—Jenny Strebe (@theconfessionsofahairstylist), 33, is all that and more. The over-achiever has been working in the beauty industry since the day she graduated from high school, making the leap from her small town beginnings in Walla Walla, WA, to the national stage, working steadily along the way as the educational director of Toni&Guy for six years and then doing freelance work. In an attempt to fuse her hairdressing talents with her love of educating, Strebe launched her blog, The Confessions of a Hairstylist, three years ago and has racked up impressive numbers: over one million views on the blog, four million views on YouTube, and a combined following of over 400,000 through her social media outlets. Strebe has also authored the book, 100 Perfect Hair Days and has become a rising star of Butterfly Circus.
Jenny Strebe
Hairstylist, educator, social media rock star—Jenny Strebe (@theconfessionsofahairstylist), 33, is all that and more. The over-achiever has been working in the beauty industry since the day she graduated from high school, making the leap from her small town beginnings in Walla Walla, WA, to the national stage, working steadily along the way as the educational director of Toni&Guy for six years and then doing freelance work. In an attempt to fuse her hairdressing talents with her love of educating, Strebe launched her blog, The Confessions of a Hairstylist, three years ago and has racked up impressive numbers: over one million views on the blog, four million views on YouTube, and a combined following of over 400,000 through her social media outlets. Strebe has also authored the book, 100 Perfect Hair Days and has become a rising star of Butterfly Circus.

Linh Phan
Linh Phan (@bescene), 31, has 150,000 followers and counting. He is owner and stylist at Bescene Studios in Kensington, MD, has an eye for balayage, ombré and color correcting that have helped him grow a loyal social media following and clientele. In February, he began to expand his career by traveling across the country (with fellow hair stylist @hairgod_zito), teaching his techniques at different salon venues.
Linh Phan
Linh Phan (@bescene), 31, has 150,000 followers and counting. He is owner and stylist at Bescene Studios in Kensington, MD, has an eye for balayage, ombré and color correcting that have helped him grow a loyal social media following and clientele. In February, he began to expand his career by traveling across the country (with fellow hair stylist @hairgod_zito), teaching his techniques at different salon venues.
Mimi Wilson
Mimi Wilson (nailsbymimi.tumblr.com)—a 30-year-old manicurist whose work regularly appears at New York Fashion Week, and Cosmopolitan magazine’s Mani Wars champion—wanted people to stand up and take notice of nail art. Her solution: create one day specifically dedicated to the craft. In 2013, Wilson announced on social media that August 3rd was International Nail Art Day, and her declaration instantly took off. Thousands of nail artists, bloggers and salons posted photos for INAD, using the hashtag #inad. And, the INAD tradition has continued ever year. “I realized that INAD was blowing up when I received posts and photos from France, Ecuador and India,” says Wilson. “Nail art lovers from all over the world are coming together celebrating their creativity. And nothing could make me happier.”
Mimi Wilson
Mimi Wilson (nailsbymimi.tumblr.com)—a 30-year-old manicurist whose work regularly appears at New York Fashion Week, and Cosmopolitan magazine’s Mani Wars champion—wanted people to stand up and take notice of nail art. Her solution: create one day specifically dedicated to the craft. In 2013, Wilson announced on social media that August 3rd was International Nail Art Day, and her declaration instantly took off. Thousands of nail artists, bloggers and salons posted photos for INAD, using the hashtag #inad. And, the INAD tradition has continued ever year. “I realized that INAD was blowing up when I received posts and photos from France, Ecuador and India,” says Wilson. “Nail art lovers from all over the world are coming together celebrating their creativity. And nothing could make me happier.”
Cynthia Alvarez
You might think that songstresses like Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Shakira would command only an industry vet to do their hair. But, you’d be wrong. Hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez, (@cynthiaglam), 29, has toured multiple times with these talented women, and her rock star clientele is only growing. Her starting-off secret: a mentorship with texture specialist Tippi Shorter, Aveda’s global artistic director for texture. Under Shorter’s tutelage, Alvarez mastered the art of applying wigs and extensions. And when you’re on stage—showcasing a serious amount of hair for the audience—you want a wig and extension expert on your side.
Cynthia Alvarez
You might think that songstresses like Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Shakira would command only an industry vet to do their hair. But, you’d be wrong. Hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez, (@cynthiaglam), 29, has toured multiple times with these talented women, and her rock star clientele is only growing. Her starting-off secret: a mentorship with texture specialist Tippi Shorter, Aveda’s global artistic director for texture. Under Shorter’s tutelage, Alvarez mastered the art of applying wigs and extensions. And when you’re on stage—showcasing a serious amount of hair for the audience—you want a wig and extension expert on your side.
Jamison Shaw Codner
Representing the third-generation in the Shaw family salon legacy, Jamison Shaw Codner is the son of world-renowned stylist Candy Shaw and the grandson of Jamison Shaw, a former world champion competition hairdresser. Codner started out sweeping the floor and folding towels in his mother’s salon when he was just 14; now at 26, he runs the business side of the family’s companies: Jamison Shaw Hairdressers, Jamison Shaw’s Advanced Training Academy and Sunlights Balayage. Under his leadership, all three experienced their most profitable year ever in 2015.
Jamison Shaw Codner
Representing the third-generation in the Shaw family salon legacy, Jamison Shaw Codner is the son of world-renowned stylist Candy Shaw and the grandson of Jamison Shaw, a former world champion competition hairdresser. Codner started out sweeping the floor and folding towels in his mother’s salon when he was just 14; now at 26, he runs the business side of the family’s companies: Jamison Shaw Hairdressers, Jamison Shaw’s Advanced Training Academy and Sunlights Balayage. Under his leadership, all three experienced their most profitable year ever in 2015.
Clariss Rubenstein
After graduating from the Vidal Sassoon Academy, Parisian-born hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein (@clarisshair), 33, found herself working in Washington DC on influential political figures, such as first lady, Laura Bush. “She was one of my first clients right out of school,” says Rubenstein. But instead of busying herself in the Capital, Rubenstein set her sights on Hollywood. She knew it meant starting all over, but a west coast move would give her the chance to work with her role models—Chris McMillan, Jen Atkin and Johnny Ramirez. Luckily, the gamble paid off. Under McMillan’s guidance, Rubenstein mastered the “undone texture” look, and celebrities, such as January Jones, Dakota Fanning, Mindy Kaling and Kaley Cuoco, made a point of requesting her services. After a few years in Los Angeles, Rubenstein opened her own boutique salon, Gloss, in Beverly Hills.
Clariss Rubenstein
After graduating from the Vidal Sassoon Academy, Parisian-born hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein (@clarisshair), 33, found herself working in Washington DC on influential political figures, such as first lady, Laura Bush. “She was one of my first clients right out of school,” says Rubenstein. But instead of busying herself in the Capital, Rubenstein set her sights on Hollywood. She knew it meant starting all over, but a west coast move would give her the chance to work with her role models—Chris McMillan, Jen Atkin and Johnny Ramirez. Luckily, the gamble paid off. Under McMillan’s guidance, Rubenstein mastered the “undone texture” look, and celebrities, such as January Jones, Dakota Fanning, Mindy Kaling and Kaley Cuoco, made a point of requesting her services. After a few years in Los Angeles, Rubenstein opened her own boutique salon, Gloss, in Beverly Hills.
Michelle Schindler
A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School, Michelle Schindler was mentored by men’s grooming expert Diana Schmidtke and has worked at both Chris McMillan the Salon and Trust Salon in West Hollywood, CA. Schindler has cut hair for celebs like Seth MacFarlane, Michael Keaton and Ethan Hawke, and she is in high demand for shows such as The Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Schindler, 25, understands the technicality of men’s hair and knows what goes into a good haircut. “My favorite part of cutting men’s hair is the challenge,” says Schindler. “There is no room for error when working with short lengths, which means that every snip counts.”
Michelle Schindler
A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School, Michelle Schindler was mentored by men’s grooming expert Diana Schmidtke and has worked at both Chris McMillan the Salon and Trust Salon in West Hollywood, CA. Schindler has cut hair for celebs like Seth MacFarlane, Michael Keaton and Ethan Hawke, and she is in high demand for shows such as The Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Schindler, 25, understands the technicality of men’s hair and knows what goes into a good haircut. “My favorite part of cutting men’s hair is the challenge,” says Schindler. “There is no room for error when working with short lengths, which means that every snip counts.”
Brenton Lee
At 27, Brenton Lee (@brentonleesalon) is nothing short of a hair prodigy. At the age of 14, he was cutting hair and by 16, he had enrolled in beauty school. He is the owner of Brenton Lee Salon in South Pasadena, CA, and a platform artist/educator for Wella. Lee has won over 20 hairstyling awards, including Wella Trend Vision National Gold Winner 2014. He was also the key hairstylist for Michael Jackson’s “We are the World” (Haiti) and has worked with celebrities such as Nia Long and Lindsay Lohan. When he isn’t working on fashion shows and editorial shoots, Lee travels throughout the United States to train and teach at major hair shows, because one of his main focuses is to give back by teaching young professionals and offering his talents to support charities.
Alisha Basham
An accomplished stylist and educator for Wella and Sebastian Professional, Alisha Basham, 28, was Wella’s Young Talent Trend Vision winner in 2014 and 2015. She was also a Trend Vision Finalist in 2011, won Trend Vision Bronze 2012, and was a Trend Vision Semi-Finalist in 2013. When she isn’t behind the chair, Basham is passionate about teaching Trends, Foundational and Collection Courses to others. “I always want to be progressing and learning,” she says. “Education is essential to being successful in this career.”
Alisha Basham
An accomplished stylist and educator for Wella and Sebastian Professional, Alisha Basham, 28, was Wella’s Young Talent Trend Vision winner in 2014 and 2015. She was also a Trend Vision Finalist in 2011, won Trend Vision Bronze 2012, and was a Trend Vision Semi-Finalist in 2013. When she isn’t behind the chair, Basham is passionate about teaching Trends, Foundational and Collection Courses to others. “I always want to be progressing and learning,” she says. “Education is essential to being successful in this career.”
Samantha Peters
Samantha Peters, 23, Sebastian’s 2014 What’s Next Awards winner in the student category, worked in the wedding dress industry before becoming a stylist at Studio 78 in Oceanside, CA. She continues to grow her clientele at the salon and enters different hairstyling competitions. “My career has changed in ways that I couldn’t have imagined,” says Peters. “And I am constantly challenging myself to become a better stylist with each client that sits in my chair.”
Samantha Peters
Samantha Peters, 23, Sebastian’s 2014 What’s Next Awards winner in the student category, worked in the wedding dress industry before becoming a stylist at Studio 78 in Oceanside, CA. She continues to grow her clientele at the salon and enters different hairstyling competitions. “My career has changed in ways that I couldn’t have imagined,” says Peters. “And I am constantly challenging myself to become a better stylist with each client that sits in my chair.”
Gabriel Quinones
Gabriel “GQ” Quinones (@gqfromgqcuts), 28, is the owner of GQ Cuts Hair Shop in La Puente, CA, and an international educator and platform artist for Johnny B Hair Care. He traveled with LMFAO as their backstage barber. When he isn’t behind the chair or participating in one of many hair shows around the world, Quinones films step-by-step men’s styling tutorials for his wildly popular YouTube channel.
Gabriel Quinones
Gabriel “GQ” Quinones (@gqfromgqcuts), 28, is the owner of GQ Cuts Hair Shop in La Puente, CA, and an international educator and platform artist for Johnny B Hair Care. He traveled with LMFAO as their backstage barber. When he isn’t behind the chair or participating in one of many hair shows around the world, Quinones films step-by-step men’s styling tutorials for his wildly popular YouTube channel.
Fernie Andong
Fernie Andong (@fernthebarber) isn’t hard to recognize because he’s everywhere. Known to many as Fern the Barber, he has been a featured platform artist at Paul Mitchell’s annual Gathering and Caper events, as well as a featured artist in Paul Mitchell’s The Cutting System DVD. Andong, who is 35, is also a featured cutting educator in Milady’s Barbering Textbook and continues to impress others with his fine attention to detail in men’s barbering. “It is my passion to give back to the beauty industry the way my leaders gave to me,” says Andong. “Paying the education and experience I had forward.”
Fernie Andong
Fernie Andong (@fernthebarber) isn’t hard to recognize because he’s everywhere. Known to many as Fern the Barber, he has been a featured platform artist at Paul Mitchell’s annual Gathering and Caper events, as well as a featured artist in Paul Mitchell’s The Cutting System DVD. Andong, who is 35, is also a featured cutting educator in Milady’s Barbering Textbook and continues to impress others with his fine attention to detail in men’s barbering. “It is my passion to give back to the beauty industry the way my leaders gave to me,” says Andong. “Paying the education and experience I had forward.”
Lizz Kopta
Lizz Kopta, 31, holds a BFA in Theatre, though she admits that she hasn’t used her degree since she graduated. Instead, she held a variety of odd jobs. About four years ago, she decided it was time to get back to her artistic roots. “I was having drinks with David Caruthers, who works for Sam Villa,” Kopta says. “He told me to go to beauty school.” Kopta took his advice and entered NAHA for the first time just two years after she got her license. She didn’t win that year, but in 2015 she was named Newcomer of the Year. “I love this industry,” says Kopta, who has been mentoring students at her alma mater, Taylor Andrews School in West Jordan, UT. “You can change someone’s life with a haircut.”
Lizz Kopta
Lizz Kopta, 31, holds a BFA in Theatre, though she admits that she hasn’t used her degree since she graduated. Instead, she held a variety of odd jobs. About four years ago, she decided it was time to get back to her artistic roots. “I was having drinks with David Caruthers, who works for Sam Villa,” Kopta says. “He told me to go to beauty school.” Kopta took his advice and entered NAHA for the first time just two years after she got her license. She didn’t win that year, but in 2015 she was named Newcomer of the Year. “I love this industry,” says Kopta, who has been mentoring students at her alma mater, Taylor Andrews School in West Jordan, UT. “You can change someone’s life with a haircut.”
Bianca Hillier
After graduating from cosmetology school, Bianca Hillier, 25, trained under Sulekha Hilton and assisted for a notable list of celebs that included Natalie Portman. She quickly turned her talent into a career at Sally Hershberger Los Angeles and prides herself on her natural ability to create dimensional color hand-tailored to each client. Hillier’s stunning work can be seen on social influencers Rocky Barnes and Cailin Russo, as well as pop star Becky G, and she is also the exclusive colorist for the Osbrink Agency and newMARK models.
Bianca Hillier
After graduating from cosmetology school, Bianca Hillier, 25, trained under Sulekha Hilton and assisted for a notable list of celebs that included Natalie Portman. She quickly turned her talent into a career at Sally Hershberger Los Angeles and prides herself on her natural ability to create dimensional color hand-tailored to each client. Hillier’s stunning work can be seen on social influencers Rocky Barnes and Cailin Russo, as well as pop star Becky G, and she is also the exclusive colorist for the Osbrink Agency and newMARK models.
Dustin Villa
Dustin Villa, 22, was named Student of the Year at NAHA in 2015. So was he surprised when his name was called? “It was surreal,” he says. “When they said my name, I think I blacked out for a second.” Villa, who works at Fringe Salon in Tucson, AZ, describes himself as a colorist a heart. So who inspires him? “I admire Peggy Gonzalez, an educator at the Aveda Institute in Utah, but Lupe Voss is amazing,” he says. Villa appeared onstage at Congress in Minneapolis last fall where he met Alan Ruiz, global director, Aveda artistic team, who offered some career advice. “He told me to take as many classes as I can in the next five years to refine my skills,” Villa says. “The rest is up to me."
Dustin Villa
Dustin Villa, 22, was named Student of the Year at NAHA in 2015. So was he surprised when his name was called? “It was surreal,” he says. “When they said my name, I think I blacked out for a second.” Villa, who works at Fringe Salon in Tucson, AZ, describes himself as a colorist a heart. So who inspires him? “I admire Peggy Gonzalez, an educator at the Aveda Institute in Utah, but Lupe Voss is amazing,” he says. Villa appeared onstage at Congress in Minneapolis last fall where he met Alan Ruiz, global director, Aveda artistic team, who offered some career advice. “He told me to take as many classes as I can in the next five years to refine my skills,” Villa says. “The rest is up to me."
Inspirational Youth
The brainchild of Anthony Mascolo, TIGI International Creative Director, Inspirational Youth began in the UK in 2004 as a way to find and develop new talent. “When I began my career, my brothers gave me the opportunity, support and inspiration to experience photo shoots and shows, which gave me invaluable experience.” he says. “In turn, I want to provide today’s young hairdressers the chance to grow their talent. They are the future of our industry.” The original concept has now expanded into a global initiative with participants in Germany and the USA competing to be the best of their generation and become part of the Inspirational Youth team, expanding their technical and creative knowledge, enhancing their presentation skills and learning about fashion and photographic work. In 2014, Peter Marks and Carly Rae Lawrenson, both from the United States, were winners and were taken under the wing of the TIGI team where they learned invaluable skills that will serve them throughout their careers.
Inspirational Youth
The brainchild of Anthony Mascolo, TIGI International Creative Director, Inspirational Youth began in the UK in 2004 as a way to find and develop new talent. “When I began my career, my brothers gave me the opportunity, support and inspiration to experience photo shoots and shows, which gave me invaluable experience.” he says. “In turn, I want to provide today’s young hairdressers the chance to grow their talent. They are the future of our industry.” The original concept has now expanded into a global initiative with participants in Germany and the USA competing to be the best of their generation and become part of the Inspirational Youth team, expanding their technical and creative knowledge, enhancing their presentation skills and learning about fashion and photographic work. In 2014, Peter Marks and Carly Rae Lawrenson, both from the United States, were winners and were taken under the wing of the TIGI team where they learned invaluable skills that will serve them throughout their careers.

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