The Power of Mentorship: Backstage at NYFW with Hairdressers at Heart

Damaris Earlewine, the reigning Sebastian What’s Next Awards (WNA) champion, recently had the opportunity to go backstage at New York Fashion Week and join the styling team for Christian Siriano's Spring/Summer 2017 presentation - an experience she captured exclusively for Beauty Launchpad.

In addition to working with Siriano and other Sebastian Professional International and Design Team artists, Damaris also had the opportunity to work with Anthony Cole, one of Sebastian's Top Artists. Anthony, who was the lead stylist for the show, provided valuable mentorship and insights backstage, leading Damaris and the team from creative inspiration through the final look. The opportunity was a perfect example of how Wella’s Hairdressers at Heart mission of mentorship comes to life through the company’s competition initiatives, and showcases the difference mentorship can make - even for the most talented of artists!

Flip through the slideshow below to follow Damaris' journey from stage to runway!

  • Getting from here...

  • here! Here’s Damaris’ story of how mentorship has changed the trajectory of her career:

    "It’s been a wild ride! Before this year, I attended every single What’s Next Awards competition until this year when I won (WHAT!? I still can’t believe it!). Since then, I joined the Sebastian team for the trip to NYFW to work backstage with Christian Siriano – what an amazing experience! There’s something to be said about Wella and Sebastian artists - they really are #HairdressersAtHeart."

  • "

    In a room, co-creating with THIS collection of stylists? I’m still pinching myself!

    Anthony Cole, one of the Sebastian Top Artists, took lead for this show. He walked us through the creative inspiration, his vision, all the way down to his expectations for the final look.

    I had taken classes with Anthony before, but the way he was able collect Christian’s inspiration and present it in a simple, easy-to-understand way was awesome to see. It was a different, crazy experience that was super-fast-paced, and yet Anthony made it easy to learn and collaborate despite 12 other stylists and 40 models crammed together. Despite the rush, pressure and chaos we were really able to create something beautiful!"

  • "When the first model finally arrived around 1 p.m., Anthony designed the first model's look while walking through each step for us! Christian Siriano came over, approved it and we got to work finishing the rest of the hair before the show started at 4 p.m."

  • "It was a great challenge! We were working with clip-in extensions on models who had whatever hairstyle they came in with, and that was definitely a challenge for me! Diva really helped me, and as a leader of the team she spent time before the show to ensure that we all knew that at end of the day we need to represent the brand and showcase Sebastian! It was such an adrenaline rush!"

  • "Being able to talk to the Sebastian artists one-on-one gave me an overwhelming amount of appreciation for the brand and the company. It’s such a tight-knit group, and it was a thrill to be able to join and experience something like this alongside these artists."

  • "My biggest takeaway from the NYFW experience with Sebastian and Hairdressers at Heart was the importance of mentorship. Experiencing how the Sebastian team mentors others–like me!–I was reminded that the keys to teaching are patience, trust and being able to understand what it feels like to be in that person’s shoes. It was an important lesson for me as I think about mentoring others in my future!"

  • "I think my comment on Instagram from the show says it all – this was no easy task, but I was so proud and grateful to have the Sebastian team’s support and mentorship. My advice to others who want to get there? Find yourself a good mentor, because when you rub elbows with people who challenge you, it stretches you professionally and makes you want to do your best!"

  • The Sebastian Professional What’s Next Awards is currently accepting submissions for the National Competition (Entry deadline: January 9th), as well as the Regional Competitions in Orlando and LA (Entry Deadline: October 9th). If you’re inspired by Damaris’ story, enter here:!


Images courtesy of Damaris Earlewine

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