Meet Ash Preston: Beauty Launchpad 30 Over 30 Winner for 2024

Get to know Ash “Preston” Preston (@prestontheartist). She is an educator and independent stylist at SG Artistry in Silverdale, WA.
Get to know Ash “Preston” Preston (@prestontheartist). She is an educator and independent stylist at SG Artistry in Silverdale, WA.
Courtesy of Ash Preston

We are spotlighting the winners of Beauty Launchpad’s 30 Over 30 contest, sponsored by Denman Brush.

Get to know Ash “Preston” Preston (@prestontheartist). She is an educator and independent stylist at SG Artistry in Silverdale, WA.


Beauty Launchpad (BLP): What is a fun fact about you? 

Ash Preston (AP): I collect taxidermy and entomology displays. One of the favorite pieces I have is a mummified frog display I made. It's wearing wire glasses and is named Reginald Waterbottom

BLP: How did you get your start in the industry? 

AP: I got my start as a very young adult. At the time a few friends were modeling. They weren't comfortable with hairstyling, and I was always the type of person to say “I can try it!” The more I did, the more I fell in love! It's something that tickled my brain just right, and it's been an amazing ride ever since.

BLP: What is your proudest achievement in the industry thus far? 

AP: This question is actually really hard to answer! I've been truly honored with a lot of opportunities and experiences over the years with runway, working with local celebrities and doing editorial work. It comes down to two moments for me: The first being my hair and makeup work on a large highway billboard promoting a huge event. The second would be when I was asked to be a panelist for an accessibility discussion with L’Oréal. 

BLP: What advice would you give to the younger version of yourself just starting out in the industry, looking back on your whole career? 

AP: First, don't worry about what everyone else is doing or what they think about what YOU are doing – trust your own intuition and your skills. Second, take care of yourself first and foremost both physically and mentally. True balance is alway more important than breaking yourself. 

BLP: What is your current favorite hair trend? 

AP: Lived-in Vivids! I love that it gives more flexibility and opportunities for clients to have something fun, while being less intense than a global application. 

BLP: What is a valuable hair tip that you want to share with your fellow stylists (whether it’s a business tip or something related to styling/working with hair)? 

AP: The color wheel is your best friend. Whether it be for permanent color, vivids or corrective work, the color wheel is one of the most important tools we should be confident in using. Take the time to experiment and play mad scientist to see what happens with color. Don't just rely on premade tubes! 

BLP: What inspires your work? 

AP: Everything is an inspiration. From other stylists' work to nature to items of clothing, I pull inspiration from anywhere I can. I will say clients bringing non-hair inspo photos is my personal favorite.

BLP: What is something that keeps you passionate and motivated in the industry each day? 

AP: Something that keeps me passionate is my clients. My space is geared towards being comfortable for all folks. Being in marginalized communities myself, I am passionate about my clients having a comfortable experience. The connections I have with them, the real talks we have, the intense excitement and enthusiasm they have for my work and accomplishments makes my heart very happy. Knowing I am being supported the way I love to support others keeps me very motivated. 

BLP: What changes would you like to see the industry make in order to grow/change/evolve/be better than it was before?

AP: As a disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent stylist, I can think of so many important changes to grow the industry. Accessibility and disability inclusion is at the top of the list. I use a mobility aid full time and require some accommodations to participate with my peers. Oftentimes events aren't fully accessible and accommodations aren't offered and are even looked down upon and talked about negatively. For example, I sit to work a lot. I was taught in school that sitting down is lazy and unprofessional. That isn't true, clients want a comfortable experience and quality results – sitting or standing doesn't impact them. Even now, people still have that idea or that you should only sit down for perimeter cutting, while I can and do sit for entire services when I need to. Disability inclusion is truly lacking in our industry for clients and fellow stylists, without the industry fully realizing that yet.  My goal is to continue my public speaking on this subject and hope to inspire growth and allyship and help others elevate and create meaningful changes – changes that will impact clients as well as current and future stylists. 

BLP: What is a career goal you have for yourself? 

AP: I would say stage education is a goal I have yet to achieve! I love educating and public speaking, and I'd love to do more of that in the industry on an event stage. Being able to speak about my experiences, my expertise behind the chair, my knowledge of self care or more DEIB work would be my next goal to achieve.

To see the full list of winners, read Beauty Launchpad's May/June issue.

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