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Last updated: December 05, 2017

The 5 Things You Must Know To Work Backstage

BTC's Backstage Pass at Miss Universe 2017

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When 92 girls are competing in a live, three-hour beauty pageant, things get CHAOTIC backstage—even though the hair and makeup must be absolutely, perfectly TV-ready. While the rest of the world watches for the winner, BTC is backstage finding out what you want to know: How do they style so quickly and beautifully? HOW?!


Enter the CHI style team. They move fast, they don’t buckle under pressure and they get the job done. CHI artists and pageant stylist veterans Tammy Mixon and Patrick Kalle clued us in on what every hairdresser must be prepared for backstage during a show this big.  


1. Use tools that are going to get super-hot super-fast. Why? Because when styling 92 girls in a small space with very little time, stylists need to make every second count, and waiting for tools to heat up is never a good use of time.


Their go-to tool this year? The new 1-inch CHI LAVA Volcanic Ceramic Hairstyling Iron—the stylists used it to curl, wave and smooth, and with its plates infused with volcanic lava, the stylists were able to create long-lasting looks with tons of shine.


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2. Use fast techniques that are going to create big end results very quickly. Why? Again, because of the time they have with the girls.


There is no time to pin an entire curl set and let it cool because there is no guarantee the stylist will be able to adjust it later. Instead, the CHI team pins one or two sections (three at the most) at the root to keep the volume high and because it doesn’t require any additional styling after being released. They also work with big sections to move through the hair faster. 


3. Don’t change the look, enhance it. Why? Because the goal isn’t to be super creative, it’s to create beautiful hair that is going to enhance the overall look of the girl.


Stylists look at face shape and facial features to determine things like how big the volume should be or the best way to part the model’s hair. And, if they are working with natural texture, they always work with the fall of the curl pattern—never against it—to get the job done as fast as possible.


4. Know the products and tools. Why? Because it can make or break a finished look and because the climate they’re working in can change how a style will show onstage. 

Last year, the competition took place in the Philippines, a super humid climate. This year, we were in Vegas—the desert—and the air was super dry. Stylists were able to work with any of the CHI irons and finish with the CHI Magnified Volume Spray knowing with confidence that the look would last.


5. Be versatile, adaptable and ready for anything. Why? Because it’s 2017! And it’s the Miss Universe pageant! And stylists cannot just know how to create big waves on long blonde hair!


Miss Universe brings girls from all over the world, so the stylists need to be well versed in working with different hair textures and prepared for language gaps. If there is a language difference, a picture of what they might like can do the talking. Also, the stylists are only there to style the hair—if a girl has bad extensions or a messy color, it’s the stylist’s job to cover that up, not fix it.


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