The “Social” Celebrity Panel
When the BTC Celebrity Panel gathered onstage at #thebtcshow 2017, it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to social media. For some on the panel—Beverly Hills Salon Owner Kim Vō (@mrkimvo); Victoria’s Secret stylist and Beachwaver inventor Sarah Potempa (@sarahpotempa), and Adir Abergel (@hairbyadir), whose triple A-list clients include Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst—success happened long before Facebook was a glimmer in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.
For others—Chris McMillan Salon’s Dominick Serna (@domdomhair) and Meche Salon’s Buddy Porter (@buddywporter), who works with Rita Ora, Lea Michele and Shailene Woodley—Instagram was the launchpad for their explosive ascents.
Here are some of their thoughts on social media’s massive impact on the art and business of hair:
Buddy Porter: I started my career in a small salon in Newport Beach. I posted my work every day. After a year, Anh Co Tran reached out and said, “I like your work. Why don’t you come check out our salon?” So I left all my clients in Orange County and moved and started grinding. I worked with Anh 12- to 16-hour days, every day. It’s a very work heavy environment in LA. People make sacrifices. If you don’t you fizzle. But social media handed me my career on a silver platter.”
Dominick Serna: It’s huge. It’s free marketing. People would be crazy not to use social media now. I travel all over, and when I go to another city, like New York, I can book 10 to 15 clients for a day. All because of social media.
“Instagram is a great way to share inspiration with your community.”—Adir
Sarah Potempa: When I started, I would create work for a magazine, get tear sheets for my portfolio, and when I was up for a job my agent would ship my book to the client to show them my work. Now, social media is your portfolio. It’s how you show your work.
Adir Abergel: I also think Instagram is a great way to communicate and share with your community. Instagram wasn’t easy for me—it’s a lot of work, and sometimes I just want to focus on my art. But it’s an extension of my job today. And I get inspiration from so many people I don’t know. If I ever get tagged I look at it. So please tag me. We’re artists. We’re hungry.
“If a new client is looking for a new stylist, they might look on Instagram.”—Buddy
Buddy: All that said, I work with some hairdressers that don’t do Instagram and they’re fully booked all day, every day. But they built before the world of social media. Today, with everyone posting their work, clients have a portfolio for everyone to look at. If a new client is looking for a new stylist, they might go to the person who is showcasing their work on Instagram.
Dominick: You really have to work on your photography. I have this one wall right next to a trash can behind the salon, and I bring my clients out there to shoot their hair. They’re like, “Are you serious? I just paid $200 for a haircut and you’re photographing me next to a dumpster?” But it’s the best light!
Sarah: After a red carpet event or TV appearance, we are asked how we created the look. I have to write out the steps, tips, products used. A lot of my clients—like Emily Blunt—aren’t on social media. So it’s up to me to get those shots and share those looks on social.
Adir: Many of my clients—Rooney Mara, Jennifer Garner, Kiersten Dunst–don’t have social media either. So we’re a way for people to see into their world. But it’s a fine line. You have to know when it’s ok and when it’s not. It’s about relationships. And the most important thing is to make my client feel beautiful. That comes first, always.
Kim Vo: I made it before social media. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter what, talent always wins. At the end of the day, your work is proof of the pudding.