I never set out to do celebrity hair," says Billy Lowe, who does, in fact, style celebrities. He's done hair on the sets of TV shows Desperate Housewives, Queer as Folk and The Ellen Degeneres Show as Ellen's personal stylist. "It just sort of fell into my lap. I started learning, though, that one thing leads to another."
Lowe has developed a five-step formula for getting your foot in the door if you want to style celebs, and it can work just as well for styling your local hotshots if you stay in your hometown instead of going to Hollywood. It's also just as appropriate for make-up artists as it is for hairstylists. Every city has its beautiful people, and if you want to be their hair guru, follow Lowe's lead:
1. Choose you home base carefully.
Put yourself in a salon that has a reputation for attracting a celebrity clientele. "That can be anything from a high-profile, upscale salon to a small boutique specialty salon," says Lowe. "Placing yourself in that environment will get you started." Find out which salon does the local newscasters, the casts of your local theater or commercials that are shot around town. And then include that fact on your resume.
2. Do good works.
Volunteer at charity events. "This opens so many doors!" promises Lowe, because celebrities are always involved in charitable organizations. From children's causes, breast cancer awareness and HIV/AIDS fundraising to local anti-hunger projects and help for victims of domestic abuse, a community's high-profile people come out for good causes. "Even in smaller communities, the mayor and other town leaders will participate," Lowe says. "If those are the people you're looking to attract, this will put you out there with them--plus it's a good thing to do!"
3. Dress up and mingle.
Attend the types of events that the movers and shakers attend, such as fashion shows, benefit dinners and corporate affairs. If you can't afford the $100 a plate, volunteer backstage. "Volunteering usually gets you an all-access badge so you can be backstage where the action is," says Lowe. "That has proved a great opportunity for me. I'm always backstage in the green room having cocktails!"
4. Join a professional networking group.
In any good networking organization, the idea is for one person from each profession to be represented. You send your contacts to the other members, and they send people to you. "It's a great way to become involved with other community leaders," says Lowe, who mentions Le Tip as a great nationwide group with local chapters. "You may meet a casting agent or a producer." Even your local Chamber of Commerce can put you in touch with business owners and professionals.
5. Do committee work.
It's kind of the nitty-gritty of a community organization, but committees are where people get really close and help each other. "I don't know what it is, but people are always interested to meet a hairstylist!" says Lowe. "You'll see their eyes light up when you tell them what you do."
The key is to become visible. "If you stand in a corner, no one will know you're there except you," says Lowe. "There's power in visibility. Let people know who you are and the kind of clients you would like to work with."