Life is a carousel. It goes up and down. All you gotta do is just stay on.Pharrell Williams
I first interviewed this artist back in 2017. I recently caught up with Rachelle and we chatted about what she has been up to since and how her career has shifted.
You are now at the peak of your career and your journey has shifted. When not behind the chair, you are working with L’Oréal Professional as a Portfolio Educator. Tell us about the process of becoming an educator and what the role entails.
Wow, yes time flies. It’s now been about 25 years since I’ve started in this wonderful hairstyling industry and it’s never felt like work, it’s a labour of love behind my hairstyling chair.
The role of a L’Oreal Pro Educator is sharing your passion for hairstyling, techniques, knowing your L’Oreal products and a desire to help other hairstylists grow at their craft.
The process of becoming a L’Oreal Pro Educator is a detailed process of having an audition and presenting what you’re knowledgeable about colouring or styling. I’m on the colour side. I would say practicing and practicing some more for my audition is the best thing I did to have it go smoothly.
I think over the past few years we have come to appreciate teachers a lot more, especially parents dealing with virtual learning. Was the transition to the role of an educator challenging or was it something that came natural to you?
This is a great question and I could write an essay on it, so let me make a super long story short.
Was the transition to the role of an educator challenging?
Short answer is yes and no.
You see, I thought it was going to be easy because hairstyling has always been easy for me. It’s something I’ve always done in my adult life. I started hairstyling at 18 and I’m now 43. I thought I’ll share what I’ve learned with others and that’s that. Ha ha, nope, that’s definitely not how it worked out for me.
I’ve learned A LOT along the way of what educators do, they make their educator role look easy and I have so much respect for them. I can truly say I’ve enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone to learn how to present to others and I love the journey of becoming an educator. It makes me feel so alive and it’s so rewarding to share what I’ve learned through my career to help others.
Is it something that came natural to me?
Again, my short answer is yes and no.
If you know me, I’m chatty – I love to talk! I’m your hype girl, I’m high energy, I’m an empath – I love to see others win! All great traits for an educator I personally think. What I didn’t realize is, how much an educator’s role is considered public speaking and how much practice I needed to do to be comfortable standing in front of people. Teaching virtually, is a whole different ball of wax. But, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with people for online education for the last year or so.
Practicing public speaking is where I needed to grow, shake my nerves, and believe I could do it.
In all honesty, a few years ago I failed my first audition for Portfolio Artist but I was not giving up. I had to pivot and change my plans especially, because Covid-19 changed the landscape of in person education.
I ended up doing my next audition as a Portfolio Educator which is another position. I got it, YAY!
I think everyone I’ve conversed with knows I want to be a Portfolio Artist. So, the moral of the story here is, if you really want something you have to dig deep, be willing to pivot and keep showing up and keep working hard. This educator journey has only begun for me and it’s been rewarding in so many ways so far.
So, the moral of the story here is, if you really want something you have to dig deep, be willing to pivot and keep showing up and keep working hard.Rachelle Levitsky
Social media is a great way for hairstylists to showcase their work and knowledge. Do you find the interest for education posts is becoming more diverse – going beyond just beauty professionals?
Absolutely! The power of social media is incredible.
I feel sharing educational information for Hair Pros and clients alike is a huge part of showing up on social media nowadays. Not only that, but elevating others across all industries too. I feel the momentum is growing for educating others through social media. I also feel, it really is the new way we watch the news and entertainment.
I’ve learned so much on social platforms from daily hacks to other areas I love, like make-up, health, fitness and fashion. Client’s can get tutorials and see so much hair inspiration before their hair appointments. I’ve learned that Instagram is so much more than scrolling your feed.
I really believe that if you engage in a positive way and show up authentically in the online hairstyling community, you meet the coolest people across the globe. For example, I chatted with this super nice hairstylist from Brazil and it was energizing. It’s so cool to see what others are doing anywhere on the globe.
Lastly, I feel supporting each other and collaborating with others is the way to go. I love supporting others, it’s the gift of giving and that’s where I find my happiness.
I think I took that way beyond the question but I feel all of it is such a big part of social media.
We all need inspiration from time-to-time – how do you connect with other creatives?
This is another great question. Being an educator allows me to meet and follow so many inspiring hair artists online and meet them in person.
My favourite event I’ve gone to for several years is called L’Oreal National Portfolio Artist Training. This event is so beyond inspiring. Meeting and being surrounded by the best of the best hairstylists and barbers is so motivating and inspiring. There are so many talented artists who show up to this event from across Canada. I hope one day we can get back to these amazing in-person events. I’m such an extrovert. I love the energy of being in a large group of people.
I find most of my inspiration online by watching the incredible work being posted on Instagram hashtags from around the world. Also, I follow the Global Ambassadors from L’Oreal and other hairstyling companies, there are so many ways to find inspiration today.
What do you miss about those big industry events?
The people, the hairstyling, the electronica/house music being played. I miss it ALL.
I can’t wait to get back to it!
Society is now, more than ever, aware of the importance of Beauty Professionals. It’s not just about physical appearance but mental health as well. How have these past few years changed the beauty industry and your relationships with clients?
In my opinion, self care has become more important than ever.
I feel hairstylists provide that unique experience for their clients. I’ve heard of stylists offering services lately such as the silent appointment. We are a group of individuals who show up for people to make them feel better and this is one of the reasons I love the hairstyling industry so much.
We dedicate our lives to making people feel better by listening to our clients, providing a relaxing salon environment and making their hair beautiful which is so uplifting.
In my opinion, the beauty industry is a place that is forever evolving and we shift with the times.
Right now, more than ever I feel it’s about taking care of each other and supporting one another.
Overtime we all change, what makes you feel alive as an artist now?
This is the truth, isn’t it?! I totally feel that change is a beautiful thing.
Change allows us to discover all the things we want to do in life. I celebrate change and growth.
After 25 years of being in the hairstyling industry I know who I am as a hairstylist. I’ve experienced many amazing aspects of the industry and education has always been a love of mine. It all started when I sought out my cutting classes at Vidal Sassoon and now I’m fully immersing myself into the world of hair colour and lived-in balayage.
What really makes me feel alive is knowing the endless possibilities and doors that will open from all my hard work of becoming a Portfolio Educator. Also, showing up in my educator role to help others grow during their own hairstyling journey. If I can share some hairstyling educational content with a stylist that helps elevate them, that’s true happiness for me.
Lastly, and best of all, all the relationships I’ve made throughout the years. I would not be the hairstylist I am today if it wasn’t for my amazing full client base. I’ve had the pleasure of doing some of my client’s hair for over 20 years now. I’m so grateful for all the new people who sit in my hairstyling chair and who’ve chosen me to make their hair beautiful. If it wasn’t for my client’s I wouldn’t have a career to talk about and I’m forever grateful for them.