The Official CHI Backstage Styling Team came from all over the world for the Miss Universe 2013 Competition in Moscow, Russia to create the styles seen on all 86 contestants, judges and on-air talent. Some artists were on-site for over 2 weeks styling for the most beautiful girls in the world for photo shoots, events and competitions leading up to the big show. The backstage team started at 8 a.m. on show day, styling looks that needed to last from dress rehearsal throughout the night.
CHI Backstage Artist Bruno Fernandez offers the following tips to stylists who want to succeed backstage:
What are some main differences when backstage styling compared to in-salon styling?
Your technique backstage is most important. When you are backstage, the final result isn’t the only thing that matters, like it does in the salon. When you are backstage, you are being watched to see how quickly you can style, how you create a buildable foundation that is flexible for multiple styles, how you work with others on the team and how you work with the contestants themselves. Your performance is important to secure more backstage and editorial opportunities in the future. You also must stay confident in yourself so the contestant you are styling has confidence in her hairstyle.
How can you practice in your salon to become a better backstage stylist?
Speed backstage is the result of being able to multitask in the salon. If you work faster in the salon, you spin more clients, more money and more happiness. It’s helpful to know how much time you have for each look, then divide your attention to ensure each service is provided with maximum efficiency. When you are working on-set for a TV show, you know you have 90 seconds during a commercial spot to touch-up the hair of multiple on-air talent—so you divide your time and select your tools and product accordingly. This is the same backstage, we have 90 seconds to touch up the top 5 contestants before they have to go back on stage, and sometimes you have more than one girl who is requesting you. So if you are able to work with several clients at once, while giving each client the attention they deserve, then you are preparing yourself to be a backstage stylist.
Do you have any backstage styling tips?
My best tip would be to always have big clips and small clips. It is the secret to all beautiful styling – when you have big sections and you put it in the clip to cool, it makes all the difference in the world. When the hair is cooling it adapts to the shape and form it is in. When we style these looks early in the morning, they need to last throughout the night so sometimes the girls are rehearsing with a full set of curls set in clips.
Don’t use much spray when setting the foundation because you need to leave the hair with options. CHI Magnified Volume Finishing Spray adds volume, offers good fixation and flexibility to regenerate multiple styles. Also, one part BioSilk Silk Therapy with 2 parts CHI Pliable Polish is the perfect concoction to tame flyaways while maintaining flexibility for restyling.
Know the products. Normally in competitions backstage we are working with different textures of natural hair and different textures of extensions. You need to understand how the products work or you won’t get good results. When you take advanced education classes, you can ask how the product works on different textures that are popular in your area and also hear how it works on textures popular in other countries. There is no room for mistakes backstage—you can’t accidentally use the wrong product for a certain texture—you have to know how each product works on each texture of hair before you even get backstage.
Practice working with extensions before the show. In my country extensions are very popular so I have a lot of experience. You can’t imagine how many different hair types and textures extensions come in. Typically extensions aren’t taken care of as well as one’s natural hair, so they can be very dry and damaged. I have to use different tools and different products on extensions than on the girl’s natural hair. I use a lot of Farouk Royal Treatment Pearl Complex on hair extensions for maximum hydration and shine. This helps blend the textures of the extensions into the natural hair for a seamless look.