Maureen Anlauf: Career of an editorial hair stylist

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 10:12 AM

Maureen Anlauf: Career of an editorial hair stylistI used to work six days a week at Juut Salon and Spa in Minneapolis. In about 2002, I started taking off time to shoot my work because I wanted to have a book of my styles. I didn’t know that freelance hairstylists had a book; I wanted one to show my grandchildren some day!

My first shoot wasn’t very good, but the hair was good and I absolutely loved doing it! I felt as comfortable on a set as I do behind the chair. A client had referred me to a photographer who was looking for someone to contribute to a test, which means that all the players come together but no one gets paid. The hairdresser, make-up artist, clothing stylist, photographer and model are permitted to use the photos in their portfolios but not to sell them.

honing the craft

I learned something every time I did a shoot, and in 2006 I began splitting my time evenly: working in the salon three days and working on my photo shoots three days. If it’s your dream to become a freelance hairdresser, you balance the two, and spending that amount of time helped me to get better at this part of my craft.

When I first left the salon full-time, I took a huge pay cut! But soon I built my portfolio and started getting freelance work. Now I still make more money in the salon than outside the salon, but there’s not as big a difference. And the money is not my focus. Photo shoots are another way of fulfilling my artistic needs. On the set, I’m the only one doing hair, and it’s fun to work with creative people who all are working toward the same goal.

on to NAHA

I really like entering the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) competition. In 2006, I was named NAHA Hairstylist of the Year. I thought, “Nothing will ever feel this great as this does, so I won’t enter again.” But once you start NAHA, it’s hard not keep doing it! It’s good, clean competition. You get to tell your story the way you want to tell it instead of being hired for a job. And if you win, you get some street cred! I did win again: in 2008 I won the categories of Fashion Forward and Contemporary Classic.

I could never give up being behind the chair, but adding the photo shoots has given me balance. I never feel scattered because I’m always doing hair.



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