Vidal Sassoon Professional Beauty Education – Basic
From Idaho to Paris to New York City . . . Caitlin’s career journey has taken beautiful twists and turns. While studying musical theater in college, Caitlin traveled to Paris where she fell in love with the culture and stayed for four years. When the university she attended cancelled its musical theater program, Caitlin found a way to pursue her passion for theater by working behind the scenes as a wig stylist at venues ranging from Broadway to Shakespeare in the Park productions. Below, she shares how beauty is changing her life:
What prompted you to make the career move from musical theater to beauty?
I loved the creativity of working with hair as a wig stylist. And I quickly saw that I would have a lot more opportunities for financial success working as a hairstylist compared to working as a performer on- stage.
Why did you decide to enroll in beauty school?
Working as a wig stylist did not require a license, so I started in that role. But I kept seeing all the opportunities hairstylists in the union had to pursue interesting work and make a lot more money. Most of the hairstylists were in the union which required licensure. I made a decision to commit to the career and enrolled at ARROJO Cosmetology School in New York City.
What surprised you about your beauty school experience?
I was surprised at the amount of actual classroom/theory knowledge. I expected I’d start cutting hair right away, but it was interesting to see how much textbook content – reading, understanding processes – needed to be mastered before I stepped out on the student salon floor.
How has your career evolved since graduating?
I’ve worked steadily behind the stage, in editorial and on TV. I recently wrapped up a position as “2nd in Demand” supporting the key hairstylist on Season 4 of “Billions”, a Showtime series. And now I’m working on a new HBO series, “The Undoing” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. The hair on the show has a really clear and interesting direction. Working on TV requires early wake-up calls and long hours, but it’s so rewarding and everyone on the set is very professional and working really hard. It’s energizing. When I’m not doing TV work, I’m doing a lot of theater and editorial work.
What advice would you offer others wanting to break into the entertainment side of beauty?
Always be ready to market yourself and network. Join a union. Say yes to opportunities. Go for it, but realize it’s a marathon not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race.
Was your family concerned about your decision to pursue a career path in beauty?
Yes; we really didn’t know what to expect; especially with regards to working in the entertainment industry. We’re all a little bit in shock that I’ve made it so quickly.
How do you see your career evolving?
I would like to graduate from TV into film. I also hope to travel more and work on location. I’m continuing to build my client list and hope to do more press and red carpet opportunities. Eventually, I’d like to arrive at a 50/50 split between TV and editorial.
What is something that would surprise people about working as a hairstylist on TV?
Now is a really great time to be in the beauty industry as there seems to be a tremendous shortage of hairstylists. I never feel like I have to look for work. When one opportunity ends, a referral will lead me to a new position. I don’t think people realize how much flexibility and opportunity there is in the beauty industry – especially for licensed hairstylists.