I recently had the honor of being interviewed for a documentary film called One Life Project, directed and produced by James Morrison and his partner, Rachel Aceves. When James, the international artistic director of Toni & Guy/TIGI USA, asked me to be part of the project, I was thrilled. And when I found out who else would be interviewed, I felt honored and humbled.
The project came about when Carson Chirico was killed in a car accident in May 2004. The son of Laurel and Frank Chirico (both hairdressers and business partners of James'), Carson, 21, had just begun a promising career in our industry. This tragedy gave James the push he needed to do something he had always hoped to do: share with the world the true beauty of the beauty industry. We usually view the industry from the outside in; James, as he put it, "wanted to present a view of the industry from the inside out." And that's what he did.
One Life Project debuted in January at the TSA's Symposium 9 in San Francisco (and makes its East Coast premiere at IBS New York on April 18); it was very well received. The film shows us how the hair industry is driven by people who have vision, who never give up, who overcome hardships and turn them into gifts that go way beyond their ability to cut hair or run businesses. It shows how success isn't something we simply attain, but rather is a way of living and responding to life, a choice we get to make every day.
Stephen Moody, Rachel Aceves, Winn Claybaugh, Vivienne Mackinder at the San Francisco premiere of One Life Project.
The night of the premiere, I also met one of my idols, Vidal Sassoon, face-to-face. I had tried to meet him at an event the previous evening, but he was surrounded by so many people it was impossible. After the film, the room cleared except for a few of us. I turned around and there he was, right behind me! I was instantly starstruck, yet somehow managed to introduce myself to him and thank him for his eternal contribution to our industry. He knew who I was because he had just seen the film, too. I even got my picture taken with him—and I'm still pinching myself over that one.
Ruth with Vidal Sassoon
So is James Morrison. "I still pinch myself that this melting pot of talent came together for one cause: to share the human interest side of the business to positively affect even just one life," he says. And he has done just that. See for yourself. To learn more, visit www.OneLifeProject.org.