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Reaching for the Stars

Steve Reiss | January 31, 2012 | 1:02 PM

Those of you who read the January MODERN SALON cover credits may not be familiar with the stylist who created the look. While Michelle Charles Duncan has a stellar resume, she’s not yet the industry icon that some of our other cover artists can claim to be.

Duncan’s path to the cover started when she got involved in one of MODERN SALON’s Artist Sessions, a hands-on photo shoot workshop for salon professionals led by our NYC-based Beauty and Fashion Director Maggie Mulhern. Artist Session is just one of many ways MODERN SALON Media is committed to connecting with our audience to bring “education, inspiration and collaboration” to life.

Another was our recent launch of YOUshare, a community video library on modernsalon.tv, organized exclusively for beauty professionals and students just starting their careers. YOUshare provides an unique opportunity for stylists to present their best educational and inspirational videos to their peers, across our media network, we have been highlighting some of the exceptional work. Both programs are meaningful and powerful.

Both provide valuable exposure opportunities to celebrate and champion beauty as a career choice. For a stylist, creating the cover style for MODERN SALON or having work highlighted on modernsalon.tv can accelerate a career to the next level–not only by creating demand at the salon, but to connect with sponsors, work with celebrities, or present at events.

As I travel around our industry, I’ve been fortunate to meet professionals at every stage of their careers and have enjoyed seeing all the great work they produce. It’s clear there are lots of beauty stars waiting to be discovered. All are passionate, and there is much, much talent. But the difference between those stylists or “rising stars” we’ve heard of—and those we haven’t —is generally tied to the opportunities they’ve acted upon.

Unlike some careers, the beauty industry provides plenty of ways to be recognized.

We at MODERN are proud to do our part, but acknowledge that our market’s trade shows, associations, distributors, suppliers and other throughout the industry regularly provide the platform to showcase emerging talent. Rising Stars, NAHA, Intercoiffure Nouveau and Jr. Styles Stars are just a few of the programs to do so.

With a few exceptions, most of the “big names” in the industry had humble beginnings. But they worked their way up—taking advantage of training, competitions and doing whatever they could to grow. They invested time and resources, and focused on a goal of being recognized for their true talent.

Even if you are not “reaching for the stars” yourself, you can help put them in position. Be an advocate for the future of beauty. When you recognize talent or ambition in your network of salon customers, point the stylists and salon owners in the right direction. Encourage them to enter local competitions and search out local educational opportunities. Remind them to experience and seek out top educators at trade shows, to learn from their peers, and to participate in every opportunity to connect with MODERN and other resources.

Who knows? One of these days we may showcase their work on the cover of MODERN.

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