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NAHA Dreaming

Sonya Gettinger and her salon team take their first step toward NAHA glory.

July/August 2014 Find in
July/August 2014

For Sonya Gettinger, a dream that began when she was still in beauty school has become a real-life mission as she and her team take their first steps toward creating worthy North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) submissions.

“In 1994, with a freshly inked diploma in hand, I made a promise to myself that I would become a NAHA winner,” says Gettinger. “Time and life intervened: I perfected my salon skills, opened a business and worked hard to make it successful. Now, I’m finally ready to throw my heart and soul into creating a worthy NAHA entry.

What about being a winner? I may have been a wee bit overconfident when I first entered our industry. Today, my strongest desire is to enter NAHA with a competitive collection that has the potential to reach the finals.

Fortunately, several of my team members feel the same way about their work.

“Starting at square one, we took our first step toward learning how to do photo shoots by working with photographer and editorial stylist Jean Sweet of Chicago. She’s not only supporting us with sterling photographic work, but also acting as an amazing coach.

The images that are featured in this article represent our first attempt at creating photography for NAHA and, of course, the walls and marketing materials for Hollywood Hair, our 14-chair salon.

HANDS-ON Experience

Gettinger shares several “aha” moments during the Hollywood Hair team’s first professional photo shoot.

● We prepared for the photo shoot by working on mannequin heads to create our styles. On the day of the shoot, we learned that it’s more important to focus on your model’s face shape first and then craft your style around her features.

● Although it’s challenging to shift your mindset after exclusively working behind-the-chair, it’s important to develop fashion-forward skills that are not only NAHA-worthy, but also mediaworthy for high-end fashion and beauty publications.

● Before our shoot, we chose partners based on each other’s strengths: “You’re good at this; I’m good at that,” sort of thing. As a result, we ended up with two equal team members with different ideas. Going forward, we’ll have a stylist in charge of the look and one stylist acting as her assistant. Because we plan to shoot a lot, everyone will have a chance to lead and assist.

● We learned that fi nding good models in our area can be diffi cult, even when tapping into the St. Louis market, which is less than three hours from our salon. Our solution: Look earlier; look harder; and play to the models’ strengths, whatever they might be.

● Our ultimate lesson was how lucky we were to meet Jean Sweet and hire her for our shoot. She’s incredible in terms of being a mentor for hairstyling and makeup. As a result of our first experience, we’ve scheduled private lessons at her studio in Chicago and have already booked our next photo shoot.

Photographer: Jean Sweet Photography (;
Hairstylists and Makeup Artists: Hollywood Hair Artistic Team;
Fashions: Girls Night Out (
learn more about photographer and editorial artist Jean Sweet   

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