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Collections > NYC Photoshoot for Hairdressers Unlocking Hope
March 23, 2007

NYC Photoshoot for Hairdressers Unlocking Hope

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NYC Photoshoot for Hairdressers Unlocking Hope



“Sometimes it takes a shadow to prove there is sunshine,” Slidell resident Amanda Hood said after Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home.  “I try to reflect upon this horrible catastrophe and think of all the positive things brought about by it.”  Amanda was just one of the many people who shared a story with us as part of the Hairdressers Unlocking Hope campaign, an effort created by Vidal Sassoon and behindthechair.com’s Mary Rector-Gable to build 18-20 houses in the New Orleans area- all with the hands of thousands of hairdressers. The build will take place in November of this year.  To get involved, click here.


The only way to truly understand the impact of this terrible hurricane is to hear the personal stories of those affected,” said Rector-Gable.  And that’s exactly what we did.  We talked to families who lost their homes in Katrina, and they shared with us stories of devastation, loss and sadness, but also stories of perseverance, hope and love.  They also sent us the keys to their destroyed homes – an overwhelming dose of reality for all of us when they arrived in the mail.


After hearing about the intention and goals of campaign, many of the industry’s most influential hairdressers stepped up, eager to lend their hands and hearts to the cause.  During the first photo shoot in New York City, Mary Brunetti, Vivienne Mackinder, Ted Gibson, Nick Arrojo, Richard Calcasola, Nicholas French, Sam Brocato, Edward Tricomi, Joel Warren, Carmine Minardi, Marie Robinson, Van Council and Antionette Beenders all understood the necessity of coming together and literally lending their hands to make a difference, proving Amanda Hood’s words hold truth.  “The hairdressing community, working together, can make miracles happen,” said Rector-Gable. 


Check out the A-Listers who came to the Hairdressers Unlocking Hope launch events in New York and Los Angeles!


The sun was shining unusually bright for January in New York City as the BTC Team prepared for the first of many photo shoots for the campaign.  We were excited and thrilled, but even then we didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of what we were doing and the impact it would have on everyone involved.


Richard Calcasola remembers his reaction upon arriving at the shoot. “As I entered the studio, seeing Vidal and some of our greatest industry influences bare from the waist up – a real equalizer – immediately gave me a feeling that all egos were checked at the door and we were all there for a greater purpose.”


Upon entering the studio, each stylist was given a family’s story and house key.  The Powder Group was on hand to paint an artistic representation of that story on each stylist’s hands while our photographer, Michael Pool, was there to capture the first 14 images of the campaign.  All the while, videographers filmed the action as it happened, which made for an emotional, exciting and very busy weekend.  “When I was assigned a key and a story, I immediately related.  I was given the keys to a salon that was completely gone.  It didn’t take much imagination to “feel” that pain.  It was very emotional. I was totally present.  The shooting was one of my career highs,” said Calcasola.


There were many moments when the emotion in the room was almost overwhelming, like when the reality behind the words written on Carmine Minardi’s hands – “Nowhere to Say Grace” – finally sunk in or as we witnessed the moment Ted Gibson internalized the story on his hands and saw tears roll down his face. 


There were as many light-hearted moments as there were emotional; this is a BTC photo shoot after all.  Watching Edward Tricomi and Mary Rector-Gable feel the musical vibes from the stereo and take an impromptu dance break was fun, or when Ted Gibson and Mary reenacted the cover shot of the Janet Jackson Rolling Stone issue – you’ll just have to look at the picture to know what we’re talking about.


It was thrilling to see a room full of creative, inspiring people working together towards a single, worthwhile cause.  “Philanthropy is something everyone is familiar with, but somehow we wait for the ‘other guy’ to take care of it.  I love seeing how we [the hair industry], take so much interest in making change,” said Carmine Minardi. 


The hairdressing industry is certainly making a change, as evidenced by the 14 amazing photographs we captured in New York City. The campaign was only to get better from here as we prepared for our next shoot on the West Coast.


Check back next week for a behind the scenes look at the Hairdressers Unlocking Hope Los Angeles photo shoot!


To get involved in raising money and building homes with Vidal and Mary, click here. Together, we can show the world the the power of a hairdresser’s hands!


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