THE SALON INDUSTRY thrives on mentorship. Some of the best beauty professionals credit other established pros for helping to guide them in the quest to express their talents and, in turn, mentor others.
Although he may not like the word, Chris McMillan is clearly a king of mentorship. “I prefer ‘influencer,’ McMillan says. “It does not take away from the talents that have come out of my salon.”
Sure he is the “guy” behind the birth, rebirth, launch, update or transformation of many celebs (think Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Williams, Sarah Jessica Parker, etc, etc, etc), but he has also humbly influenced the careers of hundreds of professionals. He is the “mane man” behind dozens of hairdressers who have gone on to establish themselves in the high profile, celebrity hairdresser arena—getting their start at McMillan’s Beverly Hills salon before going on to reach their own stardom.
Ward Stegerhoek (who goes by Ward) is one of the world’s most highly regarded—and under the radar—editorial stylists. He has created new looks on hundreds of new models who have gone on to grace magazine covers and advertisements directly as a result of the Ward-touch.
McMillan and Ward, both of Living Proof, came to the Water Street Studio in NYC to help guide the next generation of new talent. Jessica Tiddes of the Solo Salon, Chicago, winner of the Living Proof “Flex Your Styling Power” contest, earned the opportunity to observe and assist the duo for their MODERN feature.
To round out the new talent aspect of this session (and issue), McMillan’s model, Kira Dikhtvar, was a contestant on season 2 of the televised model competition The Face. McMillan immediately saw her as a rising star and requested her as his model. Model Alex was perfect for Ward. With just a flip of the hair, she shows her unique looks: classic from the left and edgy from the right. The narrow undercut over her right ear and interesting tattoos showcase her alternative style. Ward jumped on the opportunity to widen the undercut and add to the asymmetry in her silhouette, which exposed her versatility.