Damaris Earlewine is the winner of the Professional category at the Sebastian What's Next Awards this year. Due to all her hardwork we will also see her styling with Sebastian Professional's team at NYFW - if thats not the best prize ever, I don't know what is! Take a peek at her amazing work and hear the advice she has for competitions, photoshoots, and life as a stylist. 


Can you tell us a little more about your collection for the 2016 What’s Next Awards?

I tried to deliver a very similar feel with both my entries for Sebastian's WNA. My rendition of the Metamorphik collection conveyed a sense of elegance while still having a seductive essence. My initial entry for the competition was titled Magnetic Flux. The goal was to be very soft and subtle while maintaining a simplistic elegant contrast between shine versus matte. My photographer was able to capture my model's sweet enticing expression. As for my entry for the competition in Miami, I delivered with an unapologetic assertiveness. Our first night in Miami at the Sebastian meet-and-greet they told us, if you're going to create something big, now is the time to do it! I wanted my model to look bold, stunning, and confident with my creation; I wanted her to strut down the runway like she owned the damn thing! 



What was the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration behind my look was brought upon by the wetsuit my model was wearing. I really wanted to incorporate Resintek and Eruptek into my final look to create a play on shine versus matte texture. I wanted to give the impression of her coming out of the water with Resintek's ultra sleek shine brushed over the surface of her braids, and Eruptek's explosive volume through her curly wavy mane expanded through the rest of her hairstyle. I was inspired to create a crimped fishtail braid down the center to resemble a sharks fin, truly inspired by her fashion ensemble, makeup and Miami's Beach weather. 


Do you have any rituals to ensure a successful shoot?

I felt like last year I literally immersed myself in everything Sebastian! I was lucky enough to attend the Metamorphik launch party at Woodland Hills Wella Studio in August. It was an up close look & learn platform discussing the inspiration behind the collection and was hosted by some of the most talented Sebastian stylist! I drove home feeling all sorts of excitement and eagerness to start the process of my entry. I then attended the Sebastian Regional Awards in Los Angeles in September following the Metamorphik Jam class taught by Anthony Cole. That was a weekend of pure bliss. Like most hairstylist, I am a very visual and hands on artist and connecting with every opportunity I had to learn was part of my "ritual" to succeeding in a contest like this. I draw my hairstyles out on paper before practicing them on my model or doll head. I find inspiration through listening to music while sketching my looks out, that's when I find what I'm looking for. 



Tips for artists thinking about entering? 

Reach out to people you know! I reached out to my local creative piers. My photographer Paul Chon, is a close friend of mine located in Orange County. My model Chanel Temple, is a Palm Springs native who's a talented Makeup Artist for Hourglass in Venice Beach. Our photoshoot location was shot at Coachella Valley's Art Scene gallery owned by Sarah Scheideman, a local Coachella Valley entrepreneur. Collaborating with other creative and talented people was the best thing I could've done to bring about a successful shoot. It's an investment that takes time, effort, and creativity. It takes a team to pull together a vision. Don't be afraid to find the right people to collaborate with on your artistic venture. 


What was the one product/tool that you couldn’t live without for this collection?

I have to say I truly couldn't have delivered without the help of both Sebastian's Resintek & Eruptek. Each product carries such a unique and distinctive element that adds that artistic perplexity. I will say that Resintek's ability to reveal a latex-like shine was a given for me! Anyone who knows me knows I can't live without shine. The shinier the better!




What was going through your mind when you won?

An array of emotions! I wanted to cry, laugh, dance on stage and fall over from exhaustion all at the same time. When they said my name it sounded in slow-motion and it took a second for it to settle in that they had called my name! Keep in mind everyone had been working so hard all day backstage preparing for the show. It seemed surreal to be on stage as one of the top 9 North America finalist, amongst all my fellow piers and in front of Michael Polsinelli and Shay Dempsey, the global artist of Sebastian. No biggie right? A thought that crossed my mind was how this young girl that started out in this business completely clueless about hair at the beginning of my career has been able to accomplish something this rad! It was truly an unforgettable night. Hard work really does pay off!


If you had a superpower, what would it be?

This might sound strange but if I had a superpower it would be to freeze anything ice cold! I tend to run pretty hot so I'm always the stylist in the salon who's like, "Is the AC on?" So if I could have the ability to freeze things I could stay cool all day long! And trips to the beach would be a lighter load if I could just chill my drinks with the touch of a hand. A girl can dream right?!



So far, What has your biggest accomplishment been in your career?

Winning the Sebastian What's Next Awards has been one of my biggest accomplishments this year. When I entered the competition I reminded myself, "It's okay if I'm not chosen because I enjoyed the process of creating a look for the collection which in return adds to my portfolio." Winning has opened a new self discovery of confidence I didn't know I possessed. I was able to participate in an event this grand, where you're introduced to a model you've never met and given the challenge to create something you're proud of. To kick off 2016 with this award makes me appreciative to be a part of the hair industry and all the innovative artist who contribute to inspiring one another. 



Are you artistic outside of doing hair?

Most definitely! It's one of the ways I keep myself open to being creative and always evolving as an artist. I started to incorporate photography by doing styled photo shoots from head to toe back in 2013, when my husband bought me my first Nikon camera for my 26th birthday. I'll team up with a makeup artist, cut and color my models hair and shoot the photos myself. To see my creations from behind the lens allows me a different perspective of my own creations. It's a lot of work but so much fun to put together! I also love to draw. I've been drawing since I was a kid. The kind of drawing I enjoyed doing was very meticulous, drawing portraits of people. I could sit for hours at a time just listening to music while drawing the day away. Which I believe has definitely helped me in my career with hairdressing being attentive to the small details.


Who has influenced you most in your career?

My original mentor was Argelia Vargas. It was under her assistant program that I learned so much of what I know today. I went seeking for the opportunity and it was the best decision I ever made. Her patience to teach, her graciousness with clients, her passion to create and drive to succeed showed me that with humbleness and hard work you can succeed in this industry. Striving to be my best without comparing my journey to anyone else's. Developing my own unique flare that has helped mold me to the hairstylist I am today. I've been fortunate enough to have worked along side incredibly talented artist and continue to meet others who inspire me everyday. 


If you could talk to yourself at the start of your career, what advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to jump into every opportunity available and don't be afraid! I was always so shy and hesitant to jump into something (like entering a contest). I thought to myself, what if I'm not good enough? Wrong! We are always our own worst critics. We tend to doubt our ability to deliver something amazing, but the reality is art is open for interpretation. What makes hairstyling special is that every artist has their own style and nothing is ever truly the same. You can't fail unless you try. So just get out there and do it!



What is some advice you can offer the next generation of stylists? 

The advice I could give to the next generation of stylist is to have the courage to work hard for what you want and be patient. If you don't have opportunities don't be afraid to create them for yourself. One of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain reads, " With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity."


What’s Next for you?

Styling at New York Fashion Week with the Sebastian Team next year! The anticipation has me squirming with excitement and butterflies in stomach. That will definitely be another monumental moment in my life and I can't wait to be a part of it. Besides that I have so much to look forward to that is unknown. It's like they say, life happens when you're busy making plans. I will continue to grow in my craft by educating myself. I'm hoping to attend Vidal Sassoon academy this year for their ABC cutting classes. I will continue to involve myself in competitions because, why not?! I want to continue to enjoy the journey I'm on and revel in all that life has to offer.