The Salon by Instyle National Artistic Team. From left: Jaimee Harris Smith, Miguelina Mejia,...
The Salon by Instyle National Artistic Team. From left: Jaimee Harris Smith, Miguelina Mejia, Kellie Ferraro, Amberle Culver, Brendnetta Ashley, Darcy Falls

Working with multiple hairdressers at a photoshoot can be a bit tricky. There are always different personalities to manage as well as little things like dietary restrictions and the bigger things, like ego. When we decided that we wanted to work with artists from The Salon by Instyle/JCP Salon, it was suggested that we work with their team - a group of six - we hesitated. SIX??? Water Street Studio (where we shoot many of our covers) has a beautiful flow and design, but it isn’t enormous. OK, six hairdressers, two models, one photographer, one makeup artist, one fashionstylist, one editor, a couple of assistants. FOURTEEN! That’s a tight squeeze.

When models Claire (redhead) and Christine (brunette) arrived there was new anxiety about divvying up responsibilities – questions about whether the artists would vie over space and ultimately jostle for on-set control and power. Yes, there were concerns.

Well, that concern was a total waste of time. The Salon by Instyle National Artistic Team arrived on time, well equipped and organized. They had pre-determined the two teams of three and who would do what on which model. It was a great beginning to a great day.

“We all began as Artistic Lead Educators and were promoted to National Artistic Educators,” Sr. Education Manager, Jaimee Harris Smith, says. “The team was born two years ago. Each member lives in a different region of the country and joined JCPenney as hairstylists and each had bigger aspirations.” Amberle Kerkstra, Brendnetta Ashley, Darcy Falls, Kellie Ferraro and Miguelina Mejia now lead a group of 30 educators. However, “this was the first time our team worked on set independently as a team,” Smith adds. “Working with our mentors and creative director’s, Dilek Onur-Taylor and Michelle O’Connor has helped us prepare for opportunities like this.”

According to Smith, each member brings a different talent to the table, but when working together, something special happens. “We all have our own unique styles, but when on set we take our individual uniqueness and collectively create magic,” Smith says. “We create that magic at many national events, and for trend shoots and industry shows as platform artists for the Salon by Instyle brand.”

The team calls itself the “Girl Gang” and they clearly have an unspoken respect for each other. According to Smith, “We laugh a lot and have quirky girl moments like sisters. As an all-woman team,  we feel empowered to make a difference together. By supporting each other and building one another up, incredible things happen!”

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