Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Saia.
Kristen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
From a very young age, I knew I wanted to work with hair. In fact, I completed my senior year of high school early and went straight to cosmetology school. When all of my friends were celebrating their summer after graduation, I was in school full time and worked at two different salons as a receptionist. A few months after achieving my cosmetology license I met a man who became my mentor and taught me the foundation of becoming the stylist I am today. I was lucky enough to travel with him and work next to him every day. While doing so, I watched his mannerisms and studied his techniques. People always ask me where I learned to do hair, what school did I go to… I always say you don’t learn how to do hair in school. You learn how to get your license in school and then the years immediately following that are the real educational years. That’s where the trial and errors occur, the “I wonder what this will do” experiments and the “AHA moments.” Those are the years where you discover your style and your skills. After feeling strong enough to take on a clientele of my own, I left my mentor and worked in a small salon in San Diego for 6 years. My time spent there was the most challenging part of my new career. I was completely on my own for the first time. I was about 21 years old, working full time in a salon, building a new clientele from scratch and working nights and weekends at a bar to make extra cash.
Looking back, I don’t think I ever slept! I had the determination and the right amount of skill and somehow I made it work. When I had outgrown San Diego I made the bold choice to pack up everything and move to LA. I had a little bit of savings, a tiny apartment next to Hollywood and Vine (with occasional cockroaches) and one goal… build my portfolio and break into the editorial and film world. But LA was a completely different ballpark than what I was used to. It seemed like everyone here had their own hustle and the competition was extremely high. I bounced around a few salons and even worked in a blow dry bar to make ends meet. In my free time, I worked with as many photographers as I could. I did A LOT of free work. My goal was to get into an agency and work full times as a session stylist. It’s taken almost 5 years but I’ve finally done it. I now work for an amazing agency, Rouge Artists, I’ve joined the 706 union for hair and when I’m not on set I work out of my own little salon in Marina del Rey doing cuts and color for my favorite clients.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. My experience in this industry has been a rollercoaster. Bouncing around from different salons and cities, chasing a dream that thousands of other people are also chasing. It’s tough to stay motivated and to stay focused because there is a lot of rejection along the way. The freelance industry is not similar to a normal job where there is a routine and a steady paycheck. In my world as soon as one job finishes, I am technically unemployed again and the search for the next job ensues. It’s a constant struggle and a constant hustle.
Tell us about your childhood, what were you like growing up?
Growing up I was a rebel. I was completely uninterested in class unless it was something artistic and I did not like authority. I listened to punk rock and rock n’ roll and my hair was a different color every week. I also loved doing my hair for my girlfriends so when it came time for homecoming and prom night I remember being late to get myself ready because I was doing their hair.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memories from childhood took place during the few years my family and I lived in Florida. I was a total beach baby. My parents used to call me a fish because I was always in the water. My mom had friends who worked at a hotel right on the beach so when we had the chance we would go down there to visit. One day, a member of the staff asked me if I’d like to help him release newly hatched sea turtles into the ocean. So the next morning we got up around dawn and carried a few big baskets of baby turtles to the shore and let them go. One by one each of them ran as fast as they could into the sparkling clear water. I can still see the faint pink and yellow sky and the turquoise water if I close my eyes.
What are your plans for the future?
For me, it’s always hard to plan for the future. Living in LA has been completely unpredictable. The goal is to keep progressing in my career and to keep trying to better myself physically and spiritually. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities my industry offers and I welcome them with open arms.
- Website: www.Kristensaia.com
- Email: Kris.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @krissaiahair
- Facebook: Kristen Saia
- Other: www.rougeartists.com/hair