Last year, Evan Erickson won the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Scholarship and he was named NAHA Newcomer Stylist of the Year. We were excited to connect with him and find out how these tremendous events have impacted his life and what he’s up to now.

BCL: Please tell us a little about your path to becoming a hairstylist.

EE: My path to hair is not what most people expect. I didn’t think I could do this as career. I started out building furniture and doing hair on the side, just scraping by with the bare minimum. Finally, a mentor of mine got me to leave Utah and move out to Dallas to work as an educator for the Aveda Institute. Through education, I found my real passion, which was teaching others to be successful in this industry. After a while there, I realized that I did not know nearly enough to be the educator I wanted to be. Now I’m behind the chair, trying to grow so I can give back later.

BCL: You won the Vidal Sassoon scholarship in Fall 2016. What was it like going to the Sassoon Academy? What course did you take?

EE: The academy was amazing, Probably one of the most humbling experiences I’ve had. The amount of talent the educators have in Santa Monica are next level. I took the ABC of Cutting course for 5 days. The educators taught without ego, not trying to show us how much more they knew than us, but wanting to see us grow. In short time we were there, we learned so much. It wasn’t just learning haircuts, we learned the techniques to create our own.

BCL: 2016 was a big year—you were NAHA Newcomer of the year and you won a Beauty Changes Lives scholarship. How did those events change your life in 2017?

EE: I’m motivated, it was the push I needed to validate my career. I’ve pushed back from photo shoots and really focused to doing great hair behind the chair. Also, I’m lucky enough to be educating within the salon and helping to pass the knowledge on.

BCL: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

EE: Natural texture is what inspires me the most. Texture in anything, hair, nature, art. I love mixing different textures to create something new.

BCL: You ended your video with #passionovertrends—what does that mean to you?

EE: It reminds me to stay true to my passions. To skip over doing what everyone else is doing and do what I love. I feel like a lot of people get lost in following the trends with hairdressing, then forget about doing what they really love. I don’t want to do what’s “trending,” I want to do what I’m passionate about. That’s what drives me.

BCL: What advice do you have for stylists considering applying for an advanced scholarship?

EE: Do it. A little effort goes a really long way. We spend a lot of time in the break room looking through Instagram and wasting time. That’s all time we could be working on essays or editing videos.

Follow Evan on Instagram @_evanerickson or @Osgoodoneilsalon.