December 14, MODERN SALON and First Chair were given the tremendous honor to be a part of the Matrix judging panel that picked 2012's Spread the Love group. Each of the 20 finalists would have made an incredible addition to the team but, in the end, only six could be chosen.
Contestants had to launch a blog and gain followers, upload YouTube videos introducing themselves and answering questions, and get recommendation letters. Then, they had to submit essays about themselves and their path to beauty, and create a top 50 Wish List. Matrix whittled down hundreds and hundreds of entries down to 20 finalists, who were then flown to New York City to meet last year's STL group, and for an American Idol-style live audition in front of the panel of judges. After a very exciting/emotional/extremely challenging day of interviewing the 20 finalists, judges finally came to terms!
We are so excited for you to meet the members of 2012 Spread the Love!
These six recent beauty school graduates will share their journey of a lifetime as they travel state to state, salon to salon and event to event, exploring the country, connecting with stylists and learning the ins and outs of the professional beauty industry. Each week, the three teams of two will visit and work with different salons in different cities, attending beauty shows and taking in everything that makes the hairdressing industry incredible. They’ll learn new technical skills, salon business practices, and all the special ways salons touch their communities. … all in exchange for blogging and documenting their experience.
Phoenix, Arizona's Todd Kane has a life story peppered with passion, love and experience. A military veteran, he is strong, determined and has a unique perspective on life he wants to contribute to the Spread the Love team. Recently graduated from Kohler Academy, Todd has dreams of styling hair for a TV commerical or movie set. His favorite fashion icon is Tom Ford and, he says, his biggest fan is his daughter, Madi. Todd has a ton of energy, a great smile, and a strong desire to learn and contribute to everything the beauty industry has to offer.
Originally from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Natalie Fox now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and recently graduated from Kohler Academy as well! In addition to finding her true passion in hairdressing, Natalie also has a background in journalism, which will help her enormously with documenting her experience on the road with Spread the Love. Her favorite fashion icon is Elizabeth Taylor because she's the "perfect combination of sass and class" --and, not surprisingly, so is Natalie!
Joshua Falewitch has more personlity than I thought possible. He is absolutely bursting with energy, enthusiasm, and is so hilarious it just might be hard to keep yourself from hugging him at every moment. Kavista, Nebraska, and his Xenon International Academy, will be sure to miss him as he embarks upon this journey with Spread the Love. Joshua is excited to contribute to the industry in a charitable way, but also is excited to spread the word about hairdressing being a noble profession, an incredible industry that any licensed professional should be proud to be a part of. Joshua's favorite fashion icon is Pelayo Diaz, a spanish model/designer/fashion blogger who has a captivating energy that he exudes in his garment choices, and he has a tendency to push the limits and boundaries... similar to Joshua!
Ok, let me just begin my saying St. Michael, Minnesota's Suzy Henningsgard, who graduated from Aveda Institute Minneapolis, is absolutely fabulous at editing and producing videos--which will be a huge help to her when she's on the road with Spread the Love, documenting her journey. Her audition videos were so funny and witty, so full of charm, and also very well done, it's no wonder she's so full of love and life in person. She has tattoos on her forearms declaring her love for the beauty industry, and is excited to contribute and give back as she prepares to depart on the Spread the Love tour. Her favorite fashion icon is Lady Gaga for being unapologetically herself from head to toe.
Indiana's Lafayette Beauty Academy graduate Timothy Willy has an awe-inspiring passion for hair, but also a huge talent and love for singing. During his interview, and after great demand from the panel of judges, he began to sing and out came one of the most beautiful, strong voices I've heard. Not only did he impress the judges with his voice, he also tugged at our heartstrings when he began to share his own courageous path to the professional beauty industry. No stranger to facing a panel of judges (Tim recently auditioned on American Idol but, after a "memorable audition" decided to postpone that dream until a future date... more on this later), he wow'd us all with his passion and desire to spread the love!
Meredith Tye, from Lenoir, North Carolina, is one of the most interesting people you'll ever meet. She is incredibly talented at hair (she even puts LED lights into her own styles for special occasions!), but is also a skilled physicist! The Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute grad was one of the People's Choice picks, and she did an incredible job at being aggressive getting people to vote for her to become a finalist... and we're so glad she did! Meredith has gorgeous long, dark hair and will one day donate it. She would love to style Lady Gaga's hair because she'd love to show off her LED light set styles on the singer who is sure to appreciate the uniqueness as much as we do!
Now, who better to introduce themselves than the winners! Here they are!