In today's Secrets of Success, we stop by Suite Caroline, a new hair salon collective run by industry veteran Lena Ott — you might reconize her work with Björk or Lady Gaga. Suite Caroline aims to create a working environment for stylists and colorists that is more suited to artists, those working with hair rather than canvas or clay.
One of the salon’s most awesome employees is Whitney Scott, a color superstar. We caught up with her at Suite Caroline to ask her questions about rainbow hair dye, and subtle rebellion at age thirteen.
What's it like working with Lena Ott?
Lena is my mentor, boss, and friend. She's cultivating the right environment for creativity, with the right people, by just being true to who she is. I'm just proud to be here at the salon, and contributing to that. I'm very lucky.
What made you want to become a hair colorist?
The science of it made sense to me, and it came easier to me than any other medium of art. Plus, look at all the cool other art forms that hair becomes present in: music, movies, fashion. The industry itself can be cheesy with a "trade show" aspect, but once I realized that didn't have to be the case, I became more comfortable with it. I consider myself, and those I work with, artists.
What hair trend is having a moment right now?
Rainbow hair in deep tones and pastels, though I think that's kind of always around in DIY circles — but now it's being refined and done very well, and we are seeing a cool juxtaposition of designer expensive outfits from the neck down, rainbow party neck up, so that's fun.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
Right now? Teenagers, man. They possess this DILLIGAF attitude that comes from such a true place. If they want a gnarly streak of color that looks so wrong it's right, that's what it is. I love that, I guess because I like what I create when I'm coming from that same place.
What color was your hair when you were 13?
Probably natural. I wasn't allowed to mess with it growing up. I remember dying it my natural color once, in an effort to subtlety assert my independence, but no one noticed.
Do you think not being allowed to dye your hair as a teen led to your being a colorist?
I think at the time, it didn't mean much to me other than feeling left out, but that didn't last long — I started working at a salon in high school, so once that was a sanctioned option, I started going for subtle highlights. That first salon experience really got me interested in color though, for sure.
Did you go to beauty school, or just pick up the artistry at salons?
I did go to beauty school at 18, which was really only like a ten month prep course in passing the state boards. I assisted right out of beauty school, then got a job pretty quickly as a full time stylist. When I moved here, I assisted again, then got on the floor. The assisting I did here in New York was like a decade's worth of all the coolest information all in a year and a half. Just the fact that I’m doing it now at this level in this city, having the opportunity to work with other artists, it just doesn’t get any cooler than that for me.
What question do you wish people would ask you but never do?
"Can I give you millions to travel to beachy locales?" Just putting that out there...
Let me guess, the answer is yes?