Beauty, Sweat and Tears
Patrick Mathes may be young, but he’s poised for success with a
winning combination of talent, hard work and perseverance.

A self-described homebody, Patrick
Mathes is startlingly self-aware
for a 19-year-old who
has never lived beyond Indiana’s
boarders. He’s humble but realistic,
confident yet improvement-focused.
Give him a small circle of friends, chicken
(cooked any old way) and a Florida
vacation and he’s happy. But that hardly
means the NAHA 2010 Student of the
Year winner is content to stay put.

Choose Beauty: Patrick Mathes
Patrick Mathes makes a grand exit as he walks off with NAHA’s 2010 Student of the Year award.

You Again

Mathes’ steady path to success started
when he was 14. Working at a local salon,
he handled scheduling and sanitation;
the job crossed over with a stint at
a tanning studio.

“My parents taught me no matter
how much money you have, you should
work for what you want in life,” says
Mathes. “I’m thankful they did.”

Choose Beauty: Patrick Mathes
Family matters most to Mathes. His HR-pro mom Sandra enlightened him about networking, his dad Clark supplied continual support and his brother Rob “can be a pain but I love him to death.”

While job-juggling, he
simultaneously attended a
vocational high school for
hairdressing, where he discovered
he was highly visually
oriented. Upon graduation,
he could have gone
straight to the backbar—if
not a chair—but on-the-job
observations got him

“I had the right technical
stuff,” he says, “but I was missing
professional protocols, like customer
care and consultation skills.”
With his parents support, he hit the
rewind button for a year at Aveda Fredric’s
Institute. Founder and CEO Fred
Holzberger, recognizing a real rising
star when he saw one, financed Mathes’
NAHA photo shoot. Mathes won Student
of the Year in the same month
as his beauty school graduation. But
wait—naturally, there’s more.

Raring to go but smart enough to
slow down and get it right, Mathes eschewed
a chair for a second time for Atlanta-
based Van Michael salon’s state-sanctioned
apprentice program.

“Teachers go to college for four
years; they need more than high school
for real-world skills,” says Mathes,
whose goal is to become an Aveda educator
and eventually help the company
develop more green products. “The
apprenticeship will be great for my career;
I want to specialize in cutting, and
I know their program is fantastic.”

Choose Beauty: Patrick Mathes
The best way to celebrate turning 18? With a few close friends (l to r): Claire, Spencer, Patrick and Erin.

Bring on the Funk

Patrick’s Surprising Secrets

Guilty Pleasure: Listening to Celine Dion
Backstory: Diagnosed with ADHD, Mathes knew he didn’t want a desk job. His mom got him a reception gig in a salon and—aha moment—“I loved it and knew I could do it!”
Paying it Forward: As a USO volunteer, Mathes performed pedicures on 150 soldiers at Camp Atterbury, Edinburgh, Indiana, to honor their service.

Mathes, who dances and sings when he
cuts, says he can bring “funkiness” to a
corporation and talks about hair incessantly.
A few flashes:

  • On his winning NAHA styles: “The
    shoot crystallized my love of red and
    the idea that everyone should have
    three looks: sleek, funky and crazy.”
  • The hard part: “Telling clients a requested
    look is not right for them—
    and getting them to listen.” (Once, a
    client demanded a shaved nape, then
    hated it.)
  • Hot holiday-party hair: “Sleek and simultaneously
    wavy, like Taylor Swift’s
    hair, which is gorgeous!”

Already speaking like a sage insider,
Mathes advises others choosing beauty
to follow their dreams and continue listening
to their hearts.

“It’s hard—some days you don’t
want to go to work or school; I know
because I’ve been there,” he says without
irony. “It takes time, but if you love
it and you stick with it, you’ll go far.”

Next up for Mathes: apartment hunting
in Atlanta. Seems he’s also a believer
in Will Rogers, who said, “Even if
you’re on the right track, you’ll get run
over if you just sit there.”