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.
Patrick Mathes makes a grand exit as he walks off with NAHA’s 2010 Student of the Year award.
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.”
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 thinking.
“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.”
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.
- 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!”
“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.”