Social media helps connect people.
I have always wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look of the hair industry from someone who wasn’t an educator or stylist. So a few weeks ago – I reached out to Megan. We’ve never met in person – but know people in the same circles. In our conversations leading up to the interview I found out that Fabio Sementilli was the one who turned her onto my blog. That made me smile. He would have loved this interview – her passion mirrors his.
It is more proof that #SementilliPower will live on forever.
Communications Manager, Sebastian Professional North America
You have had an expansive career in the beauty industry. You started working out as a freelance makeup artists and then in salons as a manager and director before moving into public relations. With your background in business and communications – this career seems like the perfect fit. Did you always have a passion for the beauty industry?
I can most definitely say I’ve always had a passion for beauty, in high school I was known for coloring my own hair and my friend’s hair but I was never one to use box color. I always went to the beauty supply to search through the color swatches. You could find me sitting on the floor reading through the manufacturer’s education books to make sure I was getting my color ratios correct. And although I got my business degree instead of my cosmetology license, I just like to say:
I went the route of “the business of beauty” versus the beauty business.
Tell our readers about your role at Coty – what is a typical week like?
I work on the Sebastian Professional brand which is part of the Coty Professional Beauty portfolio. The portfolio also includes Wella Professionals, Nioxin, Kadus Professional, Clairol Professional, System Professional, OPI and GHD. My department has gone through a few name changes, External Relations, Brand PR, Communications and now Influencer Marketing, but essentially our role is to publicize the brand and support the hairdressers involved. I work closely with Marketing, Education and Sales.
A typical week involves pitching stories to trade magazines, writing up features on Top Artists, inviting media to events, drafting press releases, writing stories for internal publications, hosting media at the Wella Studio, facilitating interviews between Top Artists and magazine editors, strategizing PR activations, approving social media content and reaching out to influencers.
New York Fashion Week, Trend Vision, Sebastian Professionals What’s Next Awards, editorial photo shoots – you get to experience it all. What is it like behind the scenes at these events?
No matter how many times I’ve done it, it’s still so exciting! Especially NYFW, it’s so interesting how much value hair and make-up play into a designer’s final look. Plus it’s such a production, it can be absolutely crazy backstage – models, hairdressers, make-up artists, photographers, all crammed into the same space, trying to get the finished look ready on time. Seeing the payoff on the runway is still surreal to me. It truly is a skill to handle the hectic pace of NYFW. The hairdressers who are cut out for it are poised, calm and professional, from start to finish, it’s incredible to watch.
Backstage at competitions like TrendVision and What’s Next Awards is a different experience but equally as exciting. There’s really two parts to backstage at those events. We have the competitors prepping their final looks and our Top Artist teams prepping their presentation models.
I love seeing up and coming hairdressers working steadfastly backstage at a competitions, crafting their vision and perfecting the final touches. I get excited for them and love to see the construction involved in their creative interpretations.
Watching our Top Artist teams prep is a thing of beauty. Across the portfolio, our Top Artists exude talent and mastery of their craft. I often host media interviews backstage at these events and I love listening to our artists explain their inspiration and seeing firsthand the end result.
You get to be among the most talented artists in the industry – what are some of the best beauty and hair tips/tricks you’ve picked up along the way.
That I can never do my hair as well as they can! But I do have a few tricks I’ve learned over the years.
First always have the right tools. Buy professional hairdryers and curling irons, plus be sure to purchase well-made hairbrushes.
– Spray your flat brush with hairspray if it has static when you brush your hair.
– Velcro curlers are a girl’s best friend, actually a make-up artist tip – I use them to keep my bangs out of my face when I do my make-up. When you take them out you have a beautiful face framing wave and you’re ready to go. It’s a great tool for a quick hair touch up too. I always have one in my purse. My go-to are Jet set EZ grip curlers from Olivia Garden 2 1/8”.
– Never curl your hair from the bottom up, leave an inch or two out of the clamp until the last few seconds.
– Spray your round brush with hairspray before you blow-dry your hair to help keep the style.
– Apply more product than you think you should.
Shay Dempsey and Michael Polsinelli are two of my favorite artists – they are true visionaries. Has there been anyone that you have been star struck by when you met them?
I’m very lucky to have met and worked with some incredible hairdressers. I would say meeting Tracey Hughes and Tabatha Coffey was a big deal for me. I’d read about them so much when I worked in the salon, it was a little unreal to actually meet them. Candy Shaw was nice enough to introduce me to Tracey at an event, after I told her what a fangirl I was. And one year Tabatha Coffey was a judge for TrendVision, she was very cool to work with.
As far as being star struck, I’ll have to admit it was when I met Robert Lobetta.
I’ve had a long history with Sebastian, before I ever worked for the company. In high school, I use to go to the Sebastian Professional building (the Pyramid building which is where my office is now) to get my hair done. At that time they had a full service hair salon, in fact the first professional hair product I ever used was Laminates. Needless to say I was hooked on the brand and I loved the creative work Robert did with Sebastian and on his own. To meet and work with him years later was very surreal.
Earlier this year we lost a remarkable industry leader. What impact did Fabio Sementilli have on your career and what is the most valuable lesson he taught you?
Even though I’m not a hairdresser or an educator, I was lucky enough to work very closely with Fabio. He always impressed me with his passion and devotion to the industry. My personal mission statement has always been to give every hairdresser their 15 minutes of fame (if not more) and Fabio helped me be authentic in that pursuit.
The most valuable lesson he tried to teach me was to be consistent, always show up and follow through.
I didn’t really understand or take to heart the lesson until a few years ago but it is now the foundation of everything I do.
What is the best part of your job and the people you work with?
The best part of my job is working with hairdressers; finding opportunities that feature their craft and mastery of skill. It truly is fulfilling in a way I never knew a career could be.
Since we are a fashion and beauty blog, would you mind answering some personal questions?
Do you have a daily beauty routine?
My daily beauty routine is all about skincare. I wash with Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser every morning and night. Once or twice a week I’ll use Dermaesthetic Purifying Glycolic Cleanser and Dermaesthetic Natural Jojoba Cleansing Bead Scrub. I follow with Rhonda Alison C-Peptide Serum and Rhonda Alison Antioxidant Complex Serum (AM & PM). I moisturize with Yonka Crème 15 and Yonka Crème PG (AM) and Rhonda Alison Amino Peptide Moisturizer (PM). For eye cream I’m a big fan of Yonka Phyto-Contour.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m somewhere in between styles, I love 1950’s dresses which I mostly wear to events, and in the office you can usually find me in leggings and an over-sized blouse or sweater. Maybe California chic with a classic twist?
What are your must have makeup and hair products of the moment?
Cover FX Pressed Mineral Powder, Clean and Clear blotting papers, Milk Lip + Cheek in Perk, Ardell Gel Pomade in Dark Brown, Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus eyeliner in black onyx, MAC Mascara False Lashes in False Black, Urban Decay Naked Flush bronzer in Naked, NYX eyeshadow trio in Escape with Rico and Morphe brushes M439, M408 and G.
For hair, Nioxin System Kit 3, Sebastian Professional Dark Oil, Wella Professionals EIMI Dry Me, Sebastian Professional Potion 9 Lite and Wella Professionals Elements Hair Strengthening Serum.
What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?
A facial from my favorite esthetician, Cathy Aebischer at Casablanca Salon in Sherman Oaks California and a spa pedicure.
Since you travel lot – and I am a terrible packer – do you have any tips you can offer me?
Make a list! I never pack without my list, I have everything I could ever need on that list, including hot sauce and extra shoe inserts. I pare down as needed per trip. I suggest typing up the list and saving it on your computer, that way you can add to it as you remember items you forgot and have it ready to print out before every trip. Two items I always use and definitely recommend are packing cubes and a bra travel case.