Meet Steph Carrillo: Beauty Launchpad 30 Over 30 Winner for 2024

Get to know Steph Carrillo (@modestspotcarrillo). She is a hairstylist, educator and owner of Modest Spot Salon in Clemente, CA.
Get to know Steph Carrillo (@modestspotcarrillo). She is a hairstylist, educator and owner of Modest Spot Salon in Clemente, CA.
Courtesy of Steph Carrillo

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

Get to know Steph Carrillo (@modestspotcarrillo). She is a hairstylist, educator and owner of Modest Spot Salon in Clemente, CA.


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

Steph Carrillo (SC): I love music, but I must confess – I never know the words! Instead of singing along, I just make up my own lyrics. I could have my very own record of what I like to call "Steph's version" of all my favorite songs.

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

SC: I realized from a young age that I had a passion for hair. Unfortunately, all of my sister's dolls served as my practice subjects. I graduated from high school a semester early and immediately enrolled in beauty school. From that moment on, my career in hair began and the rest is history.

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

SC: This moment right here, opening that email from Gabby, the assistant editor of Beauty Launchpad, really gave me a boost of inspiration that I have been needing. It provided validation that my work is being seen. As artists, we are often in our heads, and I needed this moment to put me back on track.

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

SC: Never stop learning, stay humble, show up and prioritize your health. It is important to continually strive for growth and improvement in all areas of our lives.

BLP: What is your current favorite hair trend? 

SC: I love that natural texture is finally getting its moment. As a curly girl, I am thrilled to see that we are trending now! I also appreciate the dimension in color that is becoming more popular. Natural, lived-in and low-maintenance hair is refreshing to see and relatable to my lifestyle.

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)? 

SC: If you are feeling burnt out or doing work that you are not passionate about, consider making a change. Take the initiative to seek out models, offer free hair services and showcase the type of work that you want to attract to your chair. I am speaking from personal experience, and I am grateful that I took this step.

BLP: What inspires your work? 

SC: All of you! You fill my social feed with talent. Every scroll is a learning opportunity. I gain so much from each of your images — the angles, the lighting, the creativity of photography, etc. Social media can be both a blessing and a curse, but where else can you scroll for hours and learn for free?

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

SC: The love for what I do is incredibly rewarding. Being able to make people feel beautiful, improve their day or be a support system for them to confide in is truly a blessing. I am grateful to have the opportunity to show up and do what I love every day. Not many people can say that they are able to pursue their passion in such a fulfilling way.

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

SC: We have proven we are essential, and it is crucial that we receive more support for our industry. Many stylists lack insurance or savings to rely on in case of an emergency. We must work together to find ways to protect and support our industry.

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

SC: I took a step away from education during COVID. I have missed it and feel more than ever that I need to lean into that passion. I love my days behind the chair, but there is a great feeling in knowing that you have helped a stylist. The amount of knowledge you gain as an educator, learning from your students, is priceless. Teaching will always have my heart.

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

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