We are thrilled to partner with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) to promote all the talented artists who are finalists for the 2015 NAHAs (North American Hairstyling Awards), the most prestigious hair and beauty award in the country. We had the honor of interviewing dynamic hairstylist and, one of this year’s finalists in the “Student Hairstylist of the Year“ category, Maddie James. Check out our exclusive interview with Maddie and get the scoop on what fuels her passion for hairstyling.

Tell us a bit about your nominated collection this year. What was the inspiration behind the looks? How did the creative process unfold?
The inspiration of my collection this year was Water Color and Color Schemes. Going out of my comfort zone and experimenting with my ideas inspired me. I imagined my collection being unlike anything I had ever created before. I just started playing with color and brainstorming the concept of using Analogous and Complimentary color schemes to create something that would be edgy and vibrant. I wanted the makeup and wardrobe in my collection to be subtle and pastel, because I wanted my collection to be all about the hair.

Were there collections in other categories that you found inspiring or particularly appealing?
I was very inspired by the Hair Color collection. I learned throughout the process of creating my own collection how meticulous hair color can be. Creating your ideas sometimes takes a lot of patience. You have to be willing to experiment, work through many steps and be tedious with your application.

What is the one tool and/or product you can't live without?
Aveda Control Force!

Who are your idols in the hair industry? Have you met any of them?
My idols are Jon Reyman, Ian Michael Black and Heggy Gonzalez. I have had the privilege of not only meeting all of them, but have had the opportunity to work with Jon and Heggy.

Favorite aspect of being a stylist?
My favorite aspect of being a stylist is the creativity. There’s something amazing about seeing an empty canvas, having an inspiration, and then seeing your ideas unfold.

Which non-hair related areas do you constantly find yourself being inspired by?
I am inspired by make up and design. I have found that in the editorial world the combination of hair, makeup, and design tie everything together.

How will you celebrate a win in your category?
First probably in tears. Beyond that, there is something so gratifying about working hard for something your passionate about and being recognized for it. I know that this is just the start of something amazing and I will celebrate a win by encouraging other people to try out and put themselves out there. Competing for NAHA has given me a new outlook on the future and the industry and I want to share the experience with others.

What was the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about the hair industry?
The most surprising thing I have discovered about the hair industry is the opportunities. I have truly come to find that every facet of the hair industry comes with endless possibilities.

Do you have a ritual or lucky item you'll be bringing to the awards?
I don’t believe in luck necessarily. I truly believe that “luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” I’m bringing my mom to the awards- brightest and luckiest dime I got.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.


Be sure to STALK Maddie James to see the rest of her stunning hair art, and wish her luck at the upcoming awards!