October 2023

October 2023

October 2023 Cover

A.I. and the Artist

When I sent an email to hairstylist Dean Banowetz, to “Talk about A.I.” he assumed I meant American Idol, because Banowetz, “The Hollywood Hair Guy,” has been creating hair looks for competition shows for 23 years. But what I wanted to talk about was  Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the hairdressers who work on-set, styling for film and TV. 

“We have had a lot of Town Hall meetings with The Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild (IATSE Local 706), our official labor union,” Banowetz shared, when I asked how things were progressing with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG)-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) theatrical, TV, and streaming strike. “One of the concerns involves digitizing background actors, paying them for a half day, but using their image and likeness in perpetuity and without additional compensation.” That could also mean that hairstyles, makeup, and wardrobe could be swapped out using A.I.

Because Banowetz’s focus is competition reality shows, he says they can’t A.I. that. “It’s a separate contract; when you have real people and a competition, you can’t have A.I. interfere with that. Those live human experiences of rooting for a human being are crucial.”

Camille Friend, an Oscar-nominated hairstylist who visited our Artist Session: Creator Series in Los Angeles (page 10) says she uses A.I. programs for research. “A.I. is a tool we can use, and I tap into before a film to learn about different eras, civilizations, and areas of the world,” Friend says. “A.I. is here, it’s not going anywhere, and we must figure out how to co-exist; we have to come up with a new set of rules for a new technology.”

While our cover story from the Ulta Beauty Pro Team has a futuristic feel, Sonya Dove, who directed the color for the shoot, emphasizes the low-tech, human connection: “My color story always starts off with getting to understand the model and then the creation begins.”

Every year, we celebrate the human touch with our MODERN SALON 100 (page 22), an honoree program that calls out game changing beauty pros. Most came to our attention through Instagram (which uses A.I. to moderate content), but when we dig deeper, it’s often their emotional intelligence that sets them apart. They make their chairs a safe and welcoming space.

I’m a proponent of A.I. because I trust humans to harness its power appropriately, and I thought it only appropriate to ask ChatGPT to write a closing to this NOTE:

The beauty industry has a new BFF – Beauty and 'Binary'! Dive into this issue and let your neural networks of interest tingle with delight. Let’s all A.I.m for a beauty-full journey together!


Anne Moratto

Director, Content Strategy, MODERN SALON 

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