Congratulations on taking out the NZARH Editorial Stylist of the Year, it was an amazing shot, where did you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration for this shot was primarily from the book “The Night Circus”. It’s a story of magical people and performers in a circus that arrives in the middle of the night. This particular image was my ringmaster. I wanted to create a character whilst still making it about the hair. By using hair to make her top hat, I believe I achieved just that. I truly loved this image from the second I shot it. It’s beautiful, creative, interesting and technical all in one. I like to create images that have a feeling. Not just pretty girls with pretty hair. I want people to feel something when they look at my images.
What does winning an award of this stature, mean for you and how do you think it will it effect your career?
Over the past three years I have had so many amazing moments. Reaching the Finals for this competition was definitely one of them. Knowing it would be my last made me hungry for the win. I’m normally content with a finals spot but for this one I really hoped I could win it. To back it up two years in a row was a dream. Incidentally I think it’s the first time I’ve beaten Mana, Michael and Kylie all in one go! And I’m running with that! Ha ha!
As I said in my speech on the night, 3 years ago, nobody knew who Natasha King was. Through competing, I have made a name for myself and raised my profile which has given both myself and my team more opportunities than we could’ve ever imagined. This particular competition is great because it doesn’t require a full collection.
The NZARH Editorial Stylist is one amazing shot and is far more accessible to people than the likes of Hair Expo or Industry Fashion awards. Through competing I have been given more opportunities than I could’ve dreamed of and raised my profile. I began doing shoots with that as my goal, and now that I have achieved that, I am happy to go back to behind the scenes and help others succeed.
Can you take us through the process from start to finish of your photoshoot?
The process for a shoot for me is a really intense time. It’s months of pre planning and work long before the day. My creative team is Melbourne based so I have to be very thorough with my mood boards and plan for the day.
My mentor and photographer, Carl Keeley, has spent many hours teaching me how to identify my “vibe”. He worked tirelessly to get me to draw out the creativity that is inside me.
I am not naturally a creative, I’m actually quite a black and white business type so to create these images is hard work. It takes me to places I don’t always enjoy but also gives me the most defining moments of my life!
By the time I land in Melbourne, my entire team is well schooled on the theme and mood for the day. My mood board has been shared with them and we are all on the same page. I am blessed to work with some of the best in the business, Milana De Mina styling and Lizzie Sharpe makeup, so I am comfortable with letting them bring their own aesthetic to the table.
Because I have produced a strong and defined mood board, They understand exactly what I’m trying to bring out and smash it out of the park every time. I don’t micro manage, I worry about the hair and only the hair. After all, that’s who we are right?
For this particular shoot the day went very smoothly. Using pro models leaves you very limited with what you can do their hair (often nothing other than styling!) Also, they charge by the hour so it’s important to try and create ways to achieve your look without taking all day to do it.
Especially when shooting 8 looks in one day! So most of my creations are using hair pieces. This makes it a lot easier to “nail” the look here at home before the actual shoot day.
I generally shoot in Melbourne in January, and you can just about guarantee it’s right in the middle of a heat wave! So poor little Southland girl and 38 degree heat makes for a challenging day! But it’s all just part of the process, nothing worthwhile is ever easy right?
If you were to give us just one tip on how to come up with a winning entry, what would that be?
My biggest piece of advice to people wanting to create those winning looks would be to make sure your entire look is cohesive. Make your picture tell a story, not just a pretty model with good hair. Give off some emotion or feeling. Make it art. Something that is timeless that you could look at forever.
Tell us about what you have planned for next year?
For me, This is it for a while. I’m taking a break from the competition world to focus on what I do best, which is helping others. I have joined the NZARH Competition Committee and am excited to help grow our competitions to ensure they remain at the forefront of competing in NZ. I have had an amazing ride over the last few years, and I have far exceeded any expectations I had!
But being a ‘rockstar is not where my heart lies. I am an employer, trainer, mentor and a hairdresser first and foremost and that is what I look forward to continuing. As hairdressers we often get into this industry because we are creative, but if we are honest, most of our days are spent doing “the same as last time”.
In order to be able to feed our creative juices we actually have to do those extra things that don’t happen in our day to day lives. These things are created often late at night or on your day off, long after everyone else has gone home. This is where the magic happens, when you pull all those crazy thoughts from your imagination and get to bring them to life. That is when the hard work all becomes worth it.
Next year will see me continuing my work with the greatest brand ever, Matrix, I am thankful for the support they have given me over the years and look for to “The Collective” and my ongoing business programme with them. Secretly I’m hoping one of my team might decide to have a crack at photographic work, but it’s not for everyone. I am looking forward to having a holiday as it’s been a few years since I’ve had one!
Thank you so much to everyone in the industry that has helped, supported and encouraged me along the way. It’s been one hell of a ride! Natasha.