Meet the 2012 Spread the Love Winners

Six new grads will criss-cross the country, visiting more than 150 communities and sharing their passion with the world!

A physics major, a former Army systems specialist and a budding journalist are among the six unique and passionate beauty professionals who have been selected as the 2012 Matrix Spread the Love Ambassadors. This wildly enthusiastic group of cosmetology school grads will set off on the journey of their lives in January, visiting not only 50 Spread the Love Salons and 50 Spread the Love Schools across America, but also stores, salons, beauty schools and shows in order to soak up knowledge, experience the best of the beauty industry and share their enthusiasm for their field and for Matrix with the millions who will read their blogs and social media posts and view their videos.

This is the second year for the successful Matrix Spread the Love program, and Matrix Marketing Director Yaniv Shapira reports that the company received more than 200 applicants for the six spots. After culling those essays and video entries, 20 finalists were flown to New York for a final round of interviews and auditions. After meeting with the Matrix team and engaging in a variety of team building activities, the final six were chosen by a roster of judges which included Matrix Vice President and General Manager Colin Walsh and members of the Matrix Executive Leadership team, as well as a variety of magazine trade partners. The winners were then whisked off for a shopping spree with a professional fashion stylist in preparation for an exciting first day of photo and video shoots. “We had so many amazing candidates and I can’t begin to describe how difficult it was to choose,” comments Yaniv. “But after just one day, it was clear that these six are an amazing group. They are already close friends. They are each passionate and excited and filled with the Matrix spirit.”

Meet the 2012 Spread the Love Ambassadors:

• Joshua Falewitch, 21, Xenon International Academy, Omaha, NE: Nominated by his aunt, who works in the beauty industry, Joshua’s confidence is already climbing. “Being chosen has proven me wrong in my assumptions that I’m incapable of doing a lot of things I aspire to do,” says this aspiring writer. But he admits that he has a skill for adapting quickly to all sorts of people—something that he hopes will serve him well in the beauty schools that he will visit in 2012. “I’ve proved to myself that if I put my mind to something with passion, it’s within reach,” he says, “and that’s the message I want to carry to all of the Spread the Love students and stylists.”

• Natalie Fox, 23, Kohler Academy, Scottsdale, AZ: After earning a degree in journalism, this vivacious Chicago area native enrolled in beauty school, with dreams of combining her artistry and communication skills. For her hilarious Spread the Love audition, she dressed up as a reporter and interviewed herself, using her round brush as a microphone. “I guess they liked my cheese-ball side,” she laughs. Natalie claims that before she enrolled in beauty school, she was like many who fail to see cosmetology as a viable career. “Now I see that is so wrong,” she declares. “But people still view it that way and as we travel, I am passionate about changing people’s minds.”

• Suzy Henningsgard, 26, Aveda Institute, Minneapolis, MN: After seeing photos of the 2011 Spread the Love winners, Suzy was determined to apply to the program. “I saw six happy people on an incredible journey and I was so interested in being part of a company that takes an interest in new students and gives back,” she exclaims. “I knew it was something I had to do.” Now, she says, she’s looking forward to putting a smile on someone’s face in a new city every single week. “Making people laugh,” says Suzy, “is one of life’s greatest pleasures.”

•Todd Kane, 43, Kohler Academy, Scottsdale, AZ: Todd’s journey to the beauty profession wasn’t direct—he has a bachelor and master’s degree, served as an Army systems specialist and worked in a variety of businesses before coming to the realization that the beauty industry is where he belongs. “I thought I would earn a good living,” he says, “but it is so much more. This is where I am supposed to be.” Todd is looking forward to exploring all of the facets of the beauty industry on his Spread the Love journey—from the salon business, to schools to photo shoots and more. He’s also eager to offer up his own experience as a businessman. “There are a lot of stylists out there who haven’t gotten started—who are overwhelmed,” he comments. “Their careers end before they even get started. I can help them build and understand their businesses. I’m happy to help!”

•Meredith Tye, 25, Caldwell County Community College and Technical Institute, Hudson, NC: Her dad’s a doctor and Meredith herself earned a bachelor’s degree in physics, but this people-lover couldn’t bear the thought of spending her life as a “lab rat.” On a senior trip to Italy, she was invited to do the hair for a friend’s fashion show and that’s when it clicked. “I loved it, and people liked what I did,” she says. This “middle child and mediator” has already picked up the nickname of “Mommy Meredith” in the group and is looking forward to doing what she can to make everyone she meets feel good about themselves.

•Timmy Willy, 21, Lafayette Beauty Academy in Lafayette, IN: Long before he was accepted to the program, Timmy was eager to spread the love in any way he could. He did manicures for the women at a senior citizen’s home and volunteered as a caretaker at his town’s free zoo. So when he learned about Spread the Love’s extensive philanthropic activities, he couldn’t wait to apply. The versatile stylist is an accomplished singer, a national award-winning gymnast and an avid horticulturist. Now he’s looking forward to “helping people and stylists and being part of the morality of what Spread the Love represents.”

Like last year, each Spread the Love Ambassador will be paired with a Matrix Artistic Director mentor. The six will also appear at national shows, including America’s Beauty Show, State Discovery and Premiere Orlando. They will also visit many of the 2011 Spread the Love Salons, who will remain engaged in the program. “On behalf of Matrix, we hope the 2012 Ambassadors have fun and get as much knowledge, experience and exposure as possible,” says Yaniv. “We hope they make the most of this opportunity to discover what they are most passionate about. We also hope as many people as possible follow them on their journey and take advantage of their fresh observations of our industry.”


[Image courtesy of Matrix]

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