A Lesson On Inner Beauty
Aubrey, Reshma and Key Makeup Artist Chika Chan, owner of Make Up Pro NY.
Imagine this—you have a client who, one day, was walking down the street with her sister when someone threw sulfuric acid in her face, irrevocably scarring her, both inside and out, for life. How would you feel when this client came to your chair?
Aubrey Loots, Wella Professionals Top Artist, had this experience when, during New York Fashion Week, he styled Reshma Qureshi, who at age 17 was attacked by her estranged brother-in-law in India. She was left scarred and lost one of her eyes. Her story is an important one, and designer Archana Kocchar asked Reshma to walk in the FTL Moda show at NYFW as a way to ignite conversations about this violence. Aubrey opened up to BTC about the event and what he learned.
Aubrey and Chika styling Reshma backstage.
“We styled Reshma in front of the press, and she was very shy. She’s very sensitive so I had to be careful with the amount of brushing I did. It was a challenge I never experienced before, and my emotions were running crazy,” Aubrey shares. He’s done countless fashion shows and worked all over the world, so it’s even more amazing to hear new lessons Aubrey gained from meeting and styling Reshma. We put together some of our favorites below.
Before-And-Afters Aren’t Everything
“Reshma’s physical beauty now is something we’re not used to,” Aubrey says. “But within 5 minutes of locking eyes with her, you don’t see a disfigurement. You see a courageous, beautiful girl. It was only afterward that I saw what she looked like before the attack. But I’d already established her beauty—I didn’t need to see her appearance before. Her beauty was her courage; it shined through.”
Photo courtesy @stellanovachs.
Take A Beat Before You Judge
“Hairdressers—and humans—are so quick to judge. We’re wired to do it,” Aubrey shares. “If you can be conscious of that, and if you can take people as they are—perfect, whole, complete—they don’t have to fit into a certain mold. Start training yourself to take a second before you run with your judgment. You’ll feel yourself start to judge, so acknowledge it and let it go. You don’t know what’s going on in that person’s life. You don’t know their story. Until you get to touch them, feel them and get into their energy, we have no right to judge.”
Put Yourself In Your Clients’ Shoes
“Sometimes when clients come in, if they have a scar or if they’re really skinny or whatever it is, you’ve got to find a way to be sensitive to it. You’ve got to make them comfortable and you can’t feel sorry for them. Inside I was just dying for Reshma, but she’s already in the situation she’s in—she doesn’t need people to feel sorry for her, she needs people to empower her.”
Reshma on the runway.
“When I run a show backstage, I encourage everyone to have fun. I try not to get locked into the chaos. And working with Reshma reminded me to continue that. We’re going to complain because a piece of hair fell out of a style? We have no right or place to complain.”
Reshma before and after the attack.
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