When Luxury Brand Partners launched the web-based talk show, Late Night with Tev Finger in January, the core strategy was to book two hairdressers—one old guard (most likely a Baby Boomer) and one new guard (probably an Instagram sensation), sit them down together on a sofa and wait to see what happened. Imagine, if you will, industry icon Vivienne Mackinder, who worked for both Vidal Sassoon and Trevor Sorbie, chatting with the Instagram phenom Iris Smith (@glamiris). Curious? Check out Season 1, Episode 4 at lnwtf.com. And yes, the WTF was intentional. Because, you know, WTF—it’s just hair, and everybody seems to be having so much fun. Finger engages in lighthearted banter with his guests that’s as relaxed and engaging as anything you’re likely to see on late-night television. He seems smitten with Mackinder’s British accent, which he calls absolutely smashing. Mixology Mike plays Ed McMahon to Finger’s Johnny Carson. Dressed as Papa Smurf, he mixes a drink for Mackinder that he calls the Thorny English Rose. “How do you drink something with these spikes in it?” says Mackinder, who nevertheless gamely takes a sip. Later, Finger challenges Mackinder to a dance-off. It’s all good fun, but there’s more going on than meets the eye.
One of Finger’s objectives is to provide a showcase for female hairdressers, who have not had the same level of exposure as their male counterparts. “We like bold females,” he says. “I’m meeting amazingly powerful women. The show’s been a breeding ground in that respect. We had Eden Sassoon on, Larissa Love. There’s a world of new talent out there.” The idea to pair guests like Garren, John Paul DeJoria and Jonathan Anton—the old guard—with rising stars like salon owner Aaron Grenia of IGK and Instagram stars like Jenny Strebe (@theconfessionsofahairstylist) and Eva Taiibi (@evataiibi) was a calculated decision. “Millennials are a force to be reckoned with,” says Finger, “and the old guard needs to see this new world that’s emerging, from salon suites to social media, or they’ll go out of business.” Finger points out that the show was never about promoting his company’s brands—Oribe, R+Co, Smith & Cult and V76 by Vaughn. Instead he’s committed to disseminating information. “We’d like to ignite the industry and help people learn from each other,” he says. “We want to be a game changer.” Finger also hopes that people outside our industry will catch episodes online and see hairdressers in a different light. “I am sick of going to a cocktail party and when someone says, what do you do, and I tell them that I work in the beauty industry, they look at me like, oh, so sorry you went the wrong way in life,” he says. “We want to raise the bar from the consumer’s perspective.”
Finger allows that each show is a “massive expense for us” and that they need to build an audience. Somehow we don’t think that’s going to be a problem. For one thing, Finger is surprisingly funny. Alluding to the plethora of emails he’s received from viewers, he concluded that “you hate me.” Want a good laugh? Go to the website and watch one of the LNWTF Shorts. We recommend the music video spoof of Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball by the LBP Boys Choir. Watch for Finger, in a smear of bright orange lipstick, wielding a sledge hammer. It’s not to be missed.