In the TRENCHES with Hair Artist Amanda Fator,
by Robin Fator for Real Fake Magazine
Dreams do come true! Amanda Fator is a Platform Artist with Sexy Hair, she travels the globe teaching hair cutting and styling techniques. She also works behind the chair at Studio S in downtown Redding. In addition she is a regular part of RealFake Magazine editorial photoshoots. This September she was part of the select Sexy Hair team that worked backstage at The Blonds Spring/Summer 2017 fashion show in NYC. Being her sister-in-law certainly has it's perks: she is my personal hair stylist and she lives just 2 blocks away from me. On Friday afternoon we settled into her sunlit living room where she gave me the inside scoop on this amazing opportunity and how she got to where she is today.
Robin Fator: Amanda, when did you start doing hair?
Amanda Fator: I got licensed in 2003. First I worked at walk in haircut place for about 2 years, it was an Xpert cuts, then I was promoted to a commission salon at Mission Beauty. From there I went to an independent contractor position at a couple of salons and then I have been at Studio S for 6 years.
RF: How did you become a Sexy Hair Educator?
AF: One of the salons I was working in had a Sexy Hair educator come in with a sales rep to sell products to the salon owner. The educator wasn’t busy, so I picked her brain about how she got started in that position. She was from Sacramento, and I realized: “Oh you don’t have to be from LA to do this?” She said she submitted pictures and a resume and they hired her and trained her. A couple of years later I looked into it, and I sent emails to Sexy Hair and applied. They hired me and I went to LA to train in 2010. I started as a Sexy Hair rep who was Demo certified- I did store visits and and floor demos. It was a sales position in the beginning. From there I went up to Hands On certified meaning you could start training other stylists. Then, I went up to Backstage certified, meaning you could work at shows and assist master artists. Now I have Platform certification and I be on stage at hair shows- and I am a brand ambassador for Sexy Hair. This is my seventh year with them.
RF: How did you get the opportunity to do hair at New York Fashion Week for The Blonds?
AF: Modern Salon Magazine and Sexy Hair partnered for a contest to select a Sexy Hair team for New York Fashion Week. They wanted a faux hair look that could be useful for models who need to change their looks in between shows. The judging panel included Sexy Hair corporate and Modern Salon editors. My look was picked unanimously by all the judges. I was 1 of 2 people who got a unanimous vote. 10 were picked for the team.
AF: In June Sexy Hair announced the winners for the team and revealed the designer. The Faux bob with Audrey (model Audrey Alice Becker) was the winning image that got me a spot on the team.
RF: Jamie and I gave you a little direction for this look, because it was for an editorial shoot that will be revealed later this month.
AF: But coincidentally the contest was announced the morning of the shoot!
RF: Cosmic connection!
AF: I had a plan to do that hair, but with the contest, I amped it up a bit more. The techniques came from a sexy hair training I did in January for runway hair. Miguel Marrero, who had previously done hair for the Obamas, taught a specialty texture class. He was a famous hair stylist from Puerto Rico who has recently passed away. He taught me a lot of the techniques I used for Neon Noir and this winning image (above).
RF: Where did the inspiration for the hair style at The Blondes come from?
AF: Inspiration for the Blondes came from the fashion designers: They said Clash of the Titans,She-Ra, and Chaka Khan, it was their 10th anniversary, so they wanted blonde hair. They seem to always use wigs. Wigs are great for cohesion for the models. In an interview for Modern Salon The Blondes said they know in fashion it’s a whole picture of hair, makeup, shoes, nails. They are so involved, they know how important the details are for the over all look. We did 4-5 tests and they came to the hotel to supervise our progress and we got the thumbs up one hour before the runway show started!
AF: The wigs were synthetic hair custom made in London. They were pre-curled and looked like ramen noodles. It took hours to get them to the point where they had enough volume, including using thinning shears to take some of the hair out and pack pieces at the root and to created a cloud of volume.
AF: We had 21 wigs and 18 models. It was 6 hours per wig. We had a production line which was cool because we all touched each wig. There was one I can remember putting on the model’s head and I did a lot of the prepping while they were on the foam heads.
RF: How was it being backstage?
AF:Milk Studios had a huge hair studio. 2 separate rooms for hair and makeup. It was so professional, we had so much space. Even the corporate team said: don’t get used to this. This is top notch and exclusive.
RF: Were there celebrities?
AF: Kelly Osbourne, Dasha, Amanda Lepore, drag queens, Christina Milian, Teyana Taylor, yes there were a lot people that looked familiar.
RF: Did you get to go to the afterparty?
AF: We were invited to the after party at TAO in downtown New York. That was over the top phenomenal. After open bar closed there was maybe only 40 people left, and we got to hang out with the designers who were super friendly. David was sooo nice, you could tell he really cared about us. They specifically understand how crucial the hair is. David did wig styling for a New York department store for their windows. He has a lot of experience and sets the bar pretty high.
RF: What is your advice for hair stylists who are dying to get an opportunity like this?
AF: Get in with a brand. It’s extremely hard, and you would have to spend your whole career, to build a portfolio on your own outside of a brand that is so good a fashion designer would know you and request you. The brands sponsors the shows. Sexy Hair sponsored The Blondes show because of advertising and media coverage. The biggest thing is getting in with a brand weather it's as an educator or being on an artistic team. A lot of it is submitting your work and taking photos, and emailing who ever you can get ahold of. Contests are big too. Winning a contest can be a game changer for your career. You need at least 4-6 months in advance to submit your work for NYFW.
RF: This opportunity wasn’t random and not the first time you tried to win a contest, right?
AF: No, years of building my resume. My past submissions did not have the quality photos that this one did. You have to have professional photography to compete. Hands down. Your cell phone is not going to have the same impact. Most people have $60,000 worth of student loans from college and the cost of training for hairdressing is so much less expensive than a college education, you should invest in yourself and your business. Putting your profits back into your business is crucial.
What an inspiring narrative of hard work and creativity! Thanks so much Amanda for sharing your story with us.
For more information on Amanda visit https://amandafator.weebly.com/