Stylist Spotlight

Realizing a Dream: What's Next Awards Winner Works Backstage at NYFW

September 11, 2017 | 10:24 AM
Backstage at Christian Siriano
Photo 1 of 4
Backstage at Christian Siriano
Photo 2 of 4
Photo 3 of 4
Competing for the Sebastian What's Next Award.
Photo 4 of 4

“The moment I decided I wanted to go to beauty school, New York Fashion Week was my biggest goal,” said Laura Rocha, 2017 Sebastian Professional’s What’s Next Awards winner. This weekend, with the help of Wella's Hairdressers at Heart and Sebastian Professional’s What’s Next Awards, she’s making it happen. When Christian Siriano debuts his Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Laura’s work will make its runway debut at New York Fashion Week.

 As a young stylist, Rocha made her wildest dreams come true. She accredits her strong work ethic to her parents, who, “focused on raising us to be hardworking, honest people and to always be ourselves. When you put all of that into practice, everything falls into place.” She still lives by those rules today. “They allow me to be persistent, stay motivated, and give it my all,” said Rocha. Her determination and work ethic helped her launch an admirable career, and now, more than ever, she’s motivated to keep working towards new career goals.

Life moves quickly for a What’s Next Awards winner. The day after Rocha won the Pro Category, she was swept up in an editorial photo shoot. “It was chaotic, but it was all just amazing! It really pushed my creativity.” Competitions shine a spotlight on a stylist’s art, but there’s so much more going on behind the scenes—including mentorship. Sebastian International Design Team member Anthony Cole helped her navigate the fast-paced shoot. “Getting to work with Anthony was amazing for me. He mentored me through the shoot, which made it a really memorable experience,” said Rocha. Laura learned that the simplest advice can make all the difference, like when Anthony told her, “you have to be light with your fingers.” She carries that advice with her every day and, this weekend, she’ll be taking it cross-country when she joins Anthony backstage at New York Fashion Week.

Competitions, like Sebastian Professional’s What’s Next Awards, are the perfect creative outlet for stylists to expand on their artistic visions, to meet peers and mentors, and, especially, to learn. “It’s always so refreshing when artists at such a high caliber are so willing to genuinely help and share their knowledge. I always walk away learning something new,” said Rocha. While it can be a challenge to reach out to those you admire, Laura learned that whether it’s competition or her first ever NYFW, “Marylle’s advice is always: just do it!”

 The 2018 Sebastian Professional’s What’s Next Awards entries opened on August 15th 2017 and close at 5 p.m. ET on 12/15/2017. For more information visit

 Follow Laura Rocha:

IG: @L_V_R_



More from Stylist Spotlight

Load More