Articles > Hair > BTC EXCLUSIVE! Backstage at The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
December 10, 2015

BTC EXCLUSIVE! Backstage at The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

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Three years ago, supermodel Karlie Kloss made headlines when she cut off her hair days before the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (looking at you, Garren!). This year, V.S. made hair headlines once again. For the first time in its history, it wasn’t “one-style-fits-every-Angel” for the brand’s iconic fashion event. Instead the hair team, led by celebrity hairdresser and inventor of the Beachwaver, Sarah Potempa, created 47 personalized looks for each model. (Beachwaver Co. was the official hair tool of the show.) And guess who was backstage for the exclusive on the entire hair event prior to the primetime broadcast? BTC, that’s who!

Check out the backstage interviews with Sarah Potempa, Taylor Hill and Kendall Jenner!


Over 30 backstage stylists prepped the 47 models at 7:30am for their 8pm showtime.

wait, 47 different hairstyles? how??
Months before the show—which aired in high-def on December 8, 2015 in 158 countries—Sarah hit Instagram in order to “get to know” each of the V.S. models. “We were trying to understand who each girl was—what makes them comfortable and confident—to gain insights into her true self, since it was our job to enhance each one’s beauty,” said Sarah. Armed with those Insta insights, Sarah and 30 stylists—including BIG names like Nine Zero One Salon’s Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee, Celeb Stylist Ryan Trygstad and Celeb Colorist Michael Angelo—came up with looks ranging from voluminous, sexy bombshell; to modern, second-day loose beach waves; to short and chic. One look that grabbed mega headlines—Angolan-born model Maria Borges sported her natural texture and a teeny, tiny crop for her runway walk. Not an extension in sight on this beauty!

VS Angolan-born model, Maria Borges, made history by being the first girl to walk down the runway in her short, naturally textured hair.

We learned that the 90-minute broadcast required more than eight hours of prepping. More numbers? The stylists used 40 cans of hairspray, 60 curling irons and 150 pounds of clip-in, tape-in and glue-in extensions. Although, I can confirm from my perch backstage that every single girl looked absolutely stunning BEFORE a single extension or drop of makeup was applied! (Yes, I couldn’t stop staring at those luminous faces.)


VS Vet Alessandra Ambrosio relaxed backstage before her 14th time down the runway.

I also got a sense of the girls’ wide ranges of personalities. V.S. newbie Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima were super-private and wouldn’t allow photos until their prep teams had finished their hair and makeup. Others, like V.S. vet Taylor Hill and Internet darling Kendall Jenner didn’t care a bit. Kendall actually told me that she was beyond excited watching the process of transforming her hair to what she characterized as “boring” to bombshell! “This is exactly the thought behind creating individual looks for each model,” Sarah commented. “They are not the same. Each has a unique personality and a unique comfort level, and it was our job to access and bring forward that inner beauty.”

VS Newcomer Gigi Hadid, shows off her bombshell hair’s secret weapon, The Beachwaver, official tool of the fashion show!

bombshell beach waves how-to
1. Prep hair with a mega-lift volumizing mousse, and blow-dry loosely with the Beachwaver Co. Pro Dryer, lifting the roots to create volume off of a natural part.

2. Direct all hair forward and divide it in half—left and right.

3. Beginning at the bottom, section the hair into 2-inch subsections with a Beachwaver Co. Darby Clip.

4. Clamp a Beachwaver® PRO near the ends of each subsection, omitting about 1-inch at the ends. Press the arrow away from the face and the iron goes into action, rotating automatically. It does the work, although you control the temperature, speed and rotation direction based on the hair type, texture and desired result.

5. Work up the head in this manner. Complete each side.

6. Spray a flexible hairspray on a Beachwaver Co. On Set Styling Brush, which combines boar and nylon bristles. Brush through the hair lightly, then smooth the ends with a lightweight shine serum.

tip: If the hair is frizzy or curly, touch up flyaways with the Beachwaver Co. Mini Touch Up Iron.

BTC’s Quin Gable took a selfie with this year’s Fantasy Bra Model Lily Aldridge (the bra was worth more than 2 million dollars!)

4 Cheats to Bombshell Waves from Sarah Potempa
1. Beauty Sleep – Go ahead, sleep in a little longer! When you do, you’re on your way to bigger, better, head-turning hair. Really??!! Yes, really! Before turning in, Sarah tells her clients to divide their hair into three sections and apply mousse. Then, twist each section away from the face into a knot—one on the right, one on the left and one on top of the head. In the morning, release the knots, flip the head over and finger-comb the hair.

2. Victoria’s (fullness) Secret – Tape-ins, glue-ins, clips-ins and halos were everywhere backstage. “Last year, some of the girls were afraid they weren’t going to get extra hair, so they snuck to the bathroom to add their own,” Sarah revealed. “This year, we wanted to make sure we had all types of extra hair since we wanted them to feel as confident as possible. After all, they would be walking for millions of people in their underwear!” The lesson? Always have extra hair on hand for your clients—it could turn into a real confidence-booster!

3. The High Def Flyaway Fix – The show was broadcast in high definition, and high-def is ruthless. Close-ups reveal every single micro-flaw, especially flyaways. To make sure your clients look flawless for THEIR close-ups, try this trick after the hair is styled. Mist a boar bristle brush with flexible hairspray and distribute the spray evenly through the hair with the brush. To tame flyaways and add volume, mist the brush with hairspray and gently backcomb at the roots.

4. Rotate Your Way to VS Waves – In need of those voluminous Victoria’s Secret waves but a little short on time? The Beachwaver Pro itself is a cheat! Sarah invented the tool with a customized extra long barrel, digital temperature control and Left/Right control buttons (for when you’re on either side of your client’s head) for quick and easy bombshell beach waves… in half the time!