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Hits from the Past
Written by DR Hanson
Published on October 15, 2012
HEG wanted to see how hair extensions were used at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) through the eyes of a living, breathing stylist so we tracked down Holly Drakulic (Life Spa stylist and educator and Wella educator) to pick her brain about her NYFW experience last month.
Holly has been a stylist for twelve years and when it comes to living and breathing hair, Holly is suspect number one. Stories of Kool-Aid Haired Barbies and clandestine cuts in her bedroom during Jr. High School prove you can’t fight who you truly are. A lesson Holly learned early and men and women across the country are grateful.
HEG: Hi, Holly! Thanks so much for letting me pick your brain about New York Fashion Week!
Holly: Sure thing!
HEG: Before we dive into NYFW, I’d love to learn more about you and your history as a stylist.
HEG: Where did you go to school?
Holly: Regency Beauty Institute and Cinema in L.A.
HEG: Why the two schools?
Holly: Well, I went to Regency for my basic hair education and after graduating and apprenticing with Spalon Montage I realized I wanted to do more with hair and make up so I applied to Cinema.
HEG: And the rest is history?
Holly: Not exactly
HEG: Really? Why not?
Holly: My interview went well and they liked what I had to offer but there was a two-year wait to get into the school
HEG: Two years!?!
HEG: You waited that long?
Holly: I didn’t have to. After the interview I went home to Minnesota and a month later I got a call from Cinema. They said they really liked my portfolio and that was fresh on their mind. They had a student drop out and offered me the spot. I said yes. Hung up the phone. Cried for a bit. Packed up my car and drove out to L.A.
HEG: And the rest is history?
Holly: (Laughs) More or less.
HEG: Did you feel guilty for taking that spot when others were on a two-year wait list?
Holly: Of course, but I wasn’t going to turn down this opportunity.
HEG: Nor should you have. When it comes knocking, you open the door and offer it a warm beverage.
Holly: I like that and that’s exactly what I did.
Holly was in L.A. for a few years working in Hair & Make Up for TV and Movies before branching out to press junkets and photo shoots where she still dabbles to this day in Minnesota. She’s worked on Taylor Launter, Emily Blunt, tons of models and the crew from Cabin in the Woods (I got a little too excited learning Holly had touched Joss Whedon’s face). Apparently applying the same hair and make up to Kim Basinger’s character in Cellular (the movie takes place within the same day) every day for a few weeks prompted Holly to explore other avenues of hair and make up.
HEG: What inspired you to become a stylist?
Holly: Oh, wow…ummm…it’s always something I knew I wanted to do. Growing up there was never a Barbie doll in the house that was hairless from cuts or purple from using Kool Aid to dye their hair. And when I graduated from high school (I graduated early at 17) I went to college. My parents were very traditional but that first year I wrestled with whether this was something I wanted to do or “should” do. I determined college wasn’t for me, left and entered Regency.
HEG: Wow. That’s a great story. Too many people waste their time doing what’s “expected” or what others want them to. Your lucky you learned what your passion is early.
Holly: I am
HEG: Okay, on to NYFW. How did you learn you were going?
Holly: Life Spa held a hair extension contest this year where whoever sold the most extensions would get a trip to Fashion Week. I didn’t even know about the contest and in the last month of the contest my manager said I was on track to win and I was like “What?!” A month later I had out sold everyone at Life Spa and found my way on a plane to New York City back to NYFW!
HEG: Oh, so you’ve been before?
Holly: Yes. About two Februaries ago…for the Fall Show that year?
HEG: I know it’s fairly simple, but I can never remember when they do the Fall Show opposed to when they do the Spring Show.
Holly: Me neither! I had to look up a few times to see what the sign said.
HEG: So what did you learn from your fist trip to NYFW that helped with this trip?
Holly: What to bring. Which is everything!
HEG: Everything. Got it. Good to know.
HEG: And what shows did you attend?
Holly: Oh, too many…I have it written down somewhere…ummm
HEG: You want to just email the list?
Holly: Sure I can do that.
HEG: What did you learn as a stylist from your time at NYFW?
Holly: I learned about some of the new tools stylists are using. Different flat irons and this amazing curling iron called The Beachwaver. Being around other stylist in their element is always an educational experience. Watching how they twist a braid or fold that section of hair that way is incredibly inspiring. I didn’t necessarily learn anything profound. It’s more about taking those little tricks I caught and applying them to my own method of styling. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t…I guess I learned that there’s always room to grow and learn.
HEG: That sounds pretty profound to me.
Holly: (Laughs) I guess.
HEG: So I take it you wear extensions?
Holly: I do. Yes, yes, I do
HEG: What types of extensions do you wear?
Holly: I only wear easiLengths.
Holly: Yes sir! When they came and demo-ed their product at Life Spa, it was so different. Even Paul and Jennifer (of easiHair)… there was something different about them too, I don’t know, I just fell in love with product.
HEG: What was so different?
Holly: Well, they’re less evasive and much less damaging to the hair. And to be able to apply a full head extensions in under an hour is unheard of.
HEG: You do sound quite smitten.
Holly: Oh I am! So much so that they’re the only extensions we carry at Life Spa.
HEG: Wait, Life Spa of Lifetime Fitness only carries easiHair?
Holly: That’s correct. We used to carry Platinum Seamless extensions but once we brought on easiLengths it was pretty much unanimous that that was the only brand we needed to carry.
HEG: Wow. What a testament to easiLengths! Was there any fall out from switching exclusively to easiLengths?
Holly: No…well, some clients missed the way/curly options that Platinum offered but when I let them feel the hair of easiLengths, they understand why we made the switch.
HEG: What would you stay to a woman considering extensions?
Holly: First I would talk to their hair. Learn more about what she wanted. Everyone has an area of their hair they wish was longer or had more volume and I would explain the benefits of extensions and how they could improve that area of their hair. I mean, it’s really like crack for hair and everyone who get extensions cannot get enough.
HEG: That’s so true! So what would you say to a salon that was considering offering hair extensions?
Holly: The revenue they would generate is insane! I’d tell them to just try it out. Bring on a brand on a small-scale basis and watch them fly of the shelves.
HEG: Where do you see extensions five years from now?
Holly: (Pause) I don’t know. I think we may have plateaued. I mean, 10 years ago we were corn rolling hair and sewing them in hair. Now we’re linking and taping and getting clients out in an hour. Maybe the bonds will get smaller but I’m not sure how you could shave off more time. Unless there was a Jetson’s type machine where all you did was push a button.
HEG: (Laughing) That’s a great idea! And where do you see yourself in five years?
Holly: Oh, I don’t know. I’m very happy where I am. I love my clients. They’re truly the best. Being an educator for Wella allows me to go to NYC and LA a couple times a year, which is great for my AD/D. Maybe I’ll open up my own place. I don’t know… though I do know I’d love to be more a part of things like NYFW
HEG: Well, I hope that becomes a reality for you.
Holly: Thank you!
HEG: No, Holly, Thank YOU! I loved listening to all your stories and please tell Joss if you work on him again, that I love everything he does.
Holly: (Laughing) Will do.
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