Front Row in Miami, Day 1 & 2

I am so excited to write this post. It’s a long one but a good one. I promise I really tried to make it shorter. I had the pleasure of attending a 3 day hair show in Miami, Florida hosted by Luxury Brand Partners. LBP encompasses Oribe Hair Care, R+Co, V76 by Vaughn, and Smith & Cult. There were special guests such as Vivienne Mackinder, Rose McGowan, Jim Collins, Jonathan Anton, IGK, Beverly and Eden Sassoon. It was surreal. My mind has been blown. I made new friends and deeper connections into the beauty and fashion world. I am thrilled to utilize everything I learned from this weekend of January 9-12th of 2016.
I am very fortunate to have won this all expenses paid trip. Let me explain why I have the best boss ever. During the time span of September 1st through November 30th of 2015, my boss held a retail contest among all the employees at Bella. The stipulations were simple, the first employee to sell the most retail won 1st prize – being an all expenses paid trip to Front Row in Miami. 2nd prize was a 1 night stay at the W Hotel + dinner for 2. This was won by one of our estheticians, Jacqueline. 3rd place was taken home by the beloved Charlene, aka Hollywood, and the prize was a gift card for dinner for 2. It incited the staff to pull out our big guns and really put us to the challenge. My clients were so supportive. Not only are they supportive regularly, but the instant I mentioned that I really wanted to go to this hair show and that I could possibly win it, they were all about it! Our products sell themselves really, I just guide people through the process and help them tackle what they need for their hair type and hair issues. Thank you all again for your help in winning this trip! I couldn’t have done it with out my boss, coworkers and clients continued support.
Because I had a room all to myself, I invited my mom to come keep me company. She was a good sport. I’m sure I pushed her out of her comfort zone a little, but she survived! While I was at the hair shows during the day, she relaxed in the hotel room and caught up on her knitting and Netflix.
Day 1:


We arrived in Miami around 11 a.m. We grabbed an Uber (my mom’s first time) to our hotel in South Beach at the Aloft hotel. We settled in and got dressed for the Smith & Cult Plastic Beach Pool Party at the famous Fontainebleau Hotel. If you’ve never been to the Fontainbleau Hotel, you have to check it out. I have heard about it from many clients and oh my gosh, you must see it to believe it. It is like a palace. The chandeliers in the lobby are the size of my apartment – no joke. They’re absolutely fabulous, sparkly, and magical. We walked to the pool behind the hotel which looked like the pool area and cabanas stretched to the beach and probably could cover a football field. The party was madness. I’ve never seen so many people at a pool party. Every one was dressed to the nines. High heels, flamboyant bikinis, full on hair and makeup. There were good looking staff, palm trees, and a whole lot of alcohol. There were beach balls floating in every pool like ice cubes that were tagged by Smith & Cult. It was amazing! We hung out there for a short while and then left for dinner. We had our meal at the Continental, which backed up to our hotel. It was delish! We sat at a table outside on the patio overlooking a canal. It was candlelit and I couldn’t have asked for a lovelier date – my mom! Afterwards, we turned in for the night, exhausted from our travels.

Day 2:


My mom and I slept in and woke up to the beautiful glow of the Miami sunlight. The first show started at 4, and I wanted to get there about an hour early to register and check out the venue. So I got ready, got my mom to take a picture of my outfit, then called an Uber, and went downstairs to sit out front and wait for my driver. While I was sitting on a bench in front of the hotel I see two people walk out from inside the Aloft. This is when I met my new friends for the weekend, unbeknownst to me, Gabriel and Monica.


Gabe comes up to me first and says, “You look like a hairstylist. Are you’re headed to Front Row?” I was like, “Yes! Are you guys? Would you like to share an Uber?” And we were instant besties! We were all three connected at the hip the rest of the weekend, although none of us knew that yet. Gabe and Monica were so sweet to let me hang out with them. When they realized I was by myself, they took me in as one of their own. We connected over time because we were all so passionate and nerdy about our profession. It was so fun bouncing ideas off each other and conversing about our industry. The trip to the venue was so interesting. The event center, Mana Wynwood, is located in the Wynwood Art District. You know you’re in the right neighborhood because every surface, every building, and side walk are covered in beautifully painted graffiti artwork. The streets are lined with cute restaurants, clothing stores and art galleries. Mana Wynwood Convention Center is a massive white building. It has a courtyard near the entrance that was hosting a few food trucks and re-purposed wooden benches and tables. Gabe and Monica grabbed food while I went inside to get registered. We didn’t know each other well enough at that point, so we said our short goodbyes and wished each other a good day. I walked into the venue and was instantly blown away. I was snap-chatting every moment.

I stood in line and got my badge and my swag bag (OMG I got hooked up!!) and walked around a little bit taking pictures, checking out booths of various product lines, stumbled upon a red carpet photographer and got my picture taken. I was talked into doing a photo booth, I was a bit reluctant because I was by myself but the young man running it insisted, and I’m glad I did. The pictures were super cute.


Next, I went to the ladies room (which was stocked with the best LBP products!), grabbed a coffee, and moseyed into the main event stage area. I found myself a seat in the rafters and settled in for the show. I noticed Gabe and Monica walk by and invited them to sit with me. They obliged and as soon as they sat down Monica sits next to me and says, “We just met Oribe. Go out side. He is the guy with the poodle.” The two stylists show me their phones with photo evidence and sparkles in their eyes. Unsure and elated for them, I was like OMG what do I do? I was frozen. She kept insisting I go. I was worried I would miss the show but she urgently insisted I go. She said she would watch my stuff. I grabbed my purse and ran out of the venue. And sure enough, I power walk up to this gorgeous silver fox of a man wearing all denim, holding a cigar, a beverage, a leash with a big fluffy poodle named Brutus attached. He was so carefree and welcoming. He was alone and basking in the sun and seemed so relaxed. I introduced myself he asked where I was from. He told me that he loves Austin and the music. I told him how much I loved him and all the opportunities I have received because of him, his team, and his line. I fumbled over my words and wished I had a better speech prepared. I was so nervous. I asked to take a picture with him and he said yes, he mentioned the good lighting, and to hurry in. He advised, “Don’t miss the show.” He put the cigar in his mouth and coolly walked away. I was starstruck. I ran back inside, found my seats next to Gabe and Monica and thanked them profusely for the advice. It was perfect timing. The show had just begun.


The show was mind blowing.

The emcee, actress and comedian Natasha Legarro, was hilarious. She warmed us all up and introduced one of the higher-ups at LBP. They gave a beautiful opening speech about this event being a “renewed purpose” for us all in the hair industry and asked us to please enjoy the show.

Then came out Oribe educators, Ronnie Stam and Joey George. They are adorable. But don’t let their warm faces and quirky personalities fool you. They are extremely talented and knowledgeable artists. They showed us two different looks that they styled on two gorgeous models inspired by graffiti art that Joey described as “social activism” and “masking their identities to tell a story”. Ronnie and Joey demonstrated how to use the new products. Matte Waves was described as lotion that has a starchy feeling of salt spray that is less damaging, water soluble, high shine, and enough control to clean up edges. Air Cream was described as a light moisture cream that is able to be layered. Star Glow was introduced as a water wax that is to be painted on roots for rebellious and resilient texture.


Ronnie’s model was a “flat form”. He used perm papers and gold cards to create a ruffle set in the hair. It resembled large crimps in the hair almost like mosaic tiling was folded on her head. It was a beautiful zig-zag foundation that he pieced out with his hands and then he built it in to an updo.


Photo from Joey George’s Facebook

Joeys model had a veil of brushed out, flat-ironed braids covering her face. The back of her hair was bundled and sewn in place with elastic streaming down her neck. Two very different, gorgeous, brilliant looks.

They stressed the importance of exercising your eye because styling is a visual process and ornate.

Next was the talented James Pecis. He has done countless magazine covers. He explored some looks with us that he has done in the past. How lucky are we?!?

1. The first look involved stapling hair to cardboard. This gorgeous model walks out with an exaggerated lion mane shaped dramatically curly styled hair. He turns her around and reveals how he did it. I saw sticks of wood propping up this hair piece with cardboard. Genius!


2. Next was the cover with Taylor Swift. He wanted to try a different look on her. She is always so pretty and girly. He wanted to make her look more boyish and not as soft. He showed us how he prepped the hair with the 3 new products and slicked the models hair back. Next he demonstrated how to sew hair with elastic as to not weigh the hair down but still keep it in place. He explained that elastic stretches and flexes. It moves around without pins falling out. So cool! I never would have thought to do that!

3. The next look was with a $20 wig! He said he used Superfine Strong and a lot of back combing to create a webbing to prep the hair and create a cloud shape. Next, he used kitchen scissors to deconstruct the mound while shaping with the blow dryer and more hairspray. It looked so cool. He then used the Airbrush Root Touch Up Spray to give the wig piece dimension color and contouring.


4. The final look had “no apologies”. He used Rubber bands around rough wigs and stacked them on a models head. He said it was a “little bit wrong but so cool”.

Up next was educator Coby Alcantar. She is from Brooklyn and showed us a soft, free form, versatile, elegant razor cut on a stunning model. She used Foundation Mist and Supershine Light as to no let the razor drag. She explained that “the beauty of a razor is that you are able to create long pieces and short pieces that live right next to each other that make sense.” The cut had softness around the side and back, it had elements similar to a cut called the firefly with an exaggerated length in the front. During her cut she used phrases like, “cries crossed weirdo piece” and also gave insight as to the difference between moisture and dampness. She used Surfer Comber to style the new cut and used it as a pomade. She described he products as the “less mousy of mousses”. She used Rock Hard Gel as a top coat for detail styling as to “schellac certain areas”. I loved her words. She was so badass.

Oh my gosh. Vivienne Mackinder. The hairdressers hairdresser. 5 time NAHA winner. I still can’t believe it. She came out in a beautiful sparkly long gown. She talked about how when you get “the right look on the right person it’s magic!” She showed us how to deliver the most flattering style on people according to their face shapes, face profiles (convex, concave, and straight), face proportions. These identifications help to know when to close, open, or lift the face to go for the oval ideal face shape. She gave many fabulous words of wisdom to take with us such as:

“-We’re only as good as the last style we created

-Stand out yet fit in

-Style that captures a lifestyle that is trend sensitive

-Oribe is where beauty meets fashion

-Editorialize a look never negate the beauty

-Lift the hair to elongate the neck

-Asymmetry works in everyone

-When in doubt spray

-Soft Lacquer is wicked

-a lot of stylist don’t use their mirror enough

– [something on stage took so long that] I almost had a birthday

– create a strong shape but be able to undo it ”

She was hilarious! My favorite part of her demo was how she used an Ergo Mini Crimping Iron to give a model lift at her roots. This translates so well to everyday hairdressing behind the hair. Everyone loves a little lift!
Next up, representing Oribe Hair Care, was Nicci Welsh and Adam Livermore. I went bonkers when I saw Nicci demonstrate how to deliver beach waves by using a flatiron. It’s hard to describe but I’ll try. She shaped a slice of hair with her fingers into a zig-zag shape (like when you are doing a perm and you are checking the roller to see if the perm took by slightly unrolling it and pushing it toward scalp) and essentially froze it into place by tapping the heat through. It almost red bled a finger wave. She left the ends straight. She took it one step further by showing us how you can contour ones face by placing the waves and crests exactly where you want to to accentuate eyes or lips. She described “unfinished texture as the new edge”


Her 2nd model was a demonstration of a spiral curl. She used a “curling tong” (love her accent) to give her a wind blown texture. After the set, she brushed out the curls. Next she lifted the hair up from the models shoulders she used her hands to tease by pulling the hair straight and down and pulling a few pieces up little by little. It was a gorgeous faux bob.

And finally, the perfect ponytail to show the drama of shine vs. matte. The hair was pulled back tightly and smoothly. The ends were back combed and heated up with flat iron and brushed out. So freakin’ cool!
The color line, Goldwell, demonstrated a handful of “color stories”. Educators Rebecca Hiele and Shane Bennett took us on a blonde journey through the decades. They showed us the following looks on lovely models:


– Brigitte Bardot wore knee high boots while she walked the run way to the song “These Boots”. She had beautiful, long, big curls that had crimped roots and and spiraled ends. They finished her look with a classic Bardot updo. It was messy, on top of her head. They pulled from her ends with their fingers to tease it and placed the hair on top of her head one by one as it “flooded on top of itself”.

– the Twiggy model had a short geometric pixie cut with a color block of a curved triangle above her left eye in a “peach echo”. The rest of her hair was a buttercup color.

– Grace Kelly wore a classic chignon with the hair in the back draped and twisted on itself. There was a pop of rose quartz in her bun. The updo looked movable and modern.

– Marilyn had a curly faux bob. The actual model had long hair so they braided the hair on her nape close to her scalp to hide some hair. They crimped the roots for embodiment and finished her look with spray wax.

– J-Lo’s color was mesmerizing. It was peachy tones next to caramel tones (gold and beige). The model’s before picture was a dark brown all over color. The model wore an emerald green jumper with a matching sheer cape cascading from her waist.

– Madonna’s color was described as a “Serenity like gray”. Rebecca described the color story as one that “gives the eye a starting and stopping point”. She described the style as a “lived in curl” executed with a double barrel crimping iron. She gave the model internal curls and diffused the hair with spray wax.

– Nicole Kidman was described as a strawberry blonde. Her hair was curled and wound all in the same direction. They described her hair style as “modern day red carpet” by “allowing the hair to float and have motion to it”. They gave the curl set a good brushing as to let the air through.

– The last color model to be revealed was Lady Gaga. Her color was described as a lilac grey all over with hidden gems of peach echo popping through. Her style was described as polished on top but transitioned to a volumized ripple effect by braiding the underneath and brushing it out.

The duo closed their segment with reiterating that the days of airbrushed and touched up photos are a thing of the past. They emphasized that this industry is simplifying right now. We’re “going back to hair”.


Photo from Kien Hoang’s Facebook

Last but not least, Oribe Hair Care’s Kien Hoang (Director of Training and Content) and Louis Orozco recreated a look they did for New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2016. It was described as “The Blonds went to Egypt” and “Cleopatra meets Disco”.  It resembled a bob but it was actually two high pig-tail wig pieces in the shape of pyramids. The “foundation was a center part”, two high top knot braids, a gold cuff surrounding and transitioning the wig pieces into the head. Kien said they used clippers to give it the most blunt edge possible. This was truly a finale. The models were flawless. They walked the runway as though they practiced a million times. And just when you thought it was over, gold confetti starts shooting from the stage. It was magical.

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