The Wella International Trendvision Awards are on a slightly different scale than most large events in the beauty industry. What came out of this experience was about more than just the hair. The best souvenir from an overall incredible trip, was a clear understanding from multiple shining examples, of what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.
It wasn’t even my turn, when ITVA came up in the event queue. I shouldn’t have even been on the plane to Berlin. It should have been Kerri, who has years of experience covering these types of events and a couple of TrendVisions under her belt already. But the universe, as it so often does, intervened with its strange and unforeseeable prerogatives and I found myself in a foreign country, surrounded by a whole lot of people that I didn’t know, tasked with covering a massive event that I had zero experience with. Just me, my camera with the wrong lens and my two words of German. To say it was intimidating is just a bit of an understatement.
You’re going to see a lot of the incredibly inspiring hair that we saw at ITVA. The talent, the passion, the creativity—it was overwhelming and dizzying and wonderful and I promise, we will get to it. There will be pictures and breakdowns, explanations and even a special little art project…it’s going to be fantastic.
But before we start on all of that, I want to take a moment to tell you about the most incredible part of the entire experience. It had nothing to do with hair. It had nothing to do with the stage or the trends. It didn’t even have anything to do with all of the illustrious names with impressive portfolios that seemed to pop up everywhere I looked. The thing I walked away with from ITVA 2015 was a completely new appreciation and perspective on women.
This is a man’s world.
Believe it or not, beauty is a man’s game. There has been a long history of men holding the top positions, making the decisions and essentially controlling the flow of the beauty industry. There are nearly twice as many male platform artists as there are women. Not to say that men aren’t doing a great job in the current beauty landscape, but it was refreshing to spend time with so many incredible women taking their place in an industry that is mainly geared towards their gender.
I work with one of the strongest, smartest, most accomplished woman in the beauty industry, so my standards are perhaps a little higher than most. The women that I had the distinct pleasure to meet and get to know to some degree on this trip, however, have left an impression on me that I am proud to say, will stick.
But it ain’t nothin’…
Some, you will learn more about in the coming weeks: Sylvie Moreau, for example, the new President of Wella Professionals, who made time in her incredibly busy schedule that weekend for an interview. Maria Castan, the head of scientific communications for Wella, who can rattle off formula tweaks and international regulations like some people rattle off sports statistics. Sonya Dove, a long-time friend of Industrie and a woman who has shown more grit and strength in the past few years than most ever do in their entire lifetime. These are women who are shining examples.
They use their position and their visibility to show what it means to be a professional, successful woman. They make us all want to stand a little taller, set our shoulders just a little bit back more and stride confidently towards whatever life may throw at us.
But there was another group of women as well on that trip. You won’t hear about them and it’s likely that you never see them. They work behind the scenes of not only Wella, but some of your favorite publications as well and they are just as deserving of admiration. Their professionalism, grace, intelligence and beauty is something that I have never experienced in such concentrated amounts in a single group.
Without a woman or a girl
I’ve always held a deep admiration for women like Mary Atherton from Wella Professionals’ Communications department. Her wit, intelligence and appreciation of fine art makes for fascinating conversation and someday, someday I will convince her to do an interview. I’m sure that she has a wealth of fascinating stories.
Then there is Pamela Rhett, also from Wella Communications. If I could be one person for one day, it would be Pamela. I am absolutely convinced that she’s the living, breathing reincarnation of Grace Kelly. Pamela doesn’t just enter a room, she enters a room. The picture of grace and poise, Pamela somehow manages to be inspiring without being at all intimidating.
I also had the distinct pleasure of spending a great amount of time with the women of the beauty press. Anne Moratto, from Modern Salon, for example; you may read her articles or see her name in the largest beauty trade publication in the US, but did you know that she’s what everyone wishes that their mom would be like? She’s warm, kind, smart and incredibly capable. She has an impressive knowledge of food and the kind of laugh that makes you want to join in until there are tears streaming down both of your faces.
Annalee, from Salon Magazine, the Canadian sweetheart who woke up every morning to run through a foreign city and—bless her heart—invited anyone and everyone else to join her. I have rarely seen so much joi de vivre emanating from a single person.
And of course, Larissa Love—the indelible hairdresser-turned-blogger tour-de-force. Smart as a whip and just as snappy, you get the feeling that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that Larissa couldn’t do if she set her mind to it.
Each and every one of these incredible women has their own set of strengths and unique attributes that left an even bigger impression that the biggest names could with the biggest hair. I experienced many types of beauty in Berlin and the world will never quite look the same. Thank you, to you all.
*NOTE: A very special thank you to our new friends at Estetica and Hairbrained as well. They were just as wonderful and engaging, but as they were also all gentlemen, couldn’t be roped in as neatly with the “inspiring women” overtone of this piece.
Photos courtesy of Wella Professionals