How to Prep for the Grammys Like a Rock Star

How to Be a Rock Star without Singing a Note—What it Takes to Prep for the Grammy Awards

Stacy Wells, L’esprit Academy, Inc.  Schools for Hair, Skin & Nails

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The big winner from the 56th Grammy Awards never even made it on stage, because that winner was me.  I was the stylist behind the best looking attendees at the Grammy Awards, in my opinion, and I feel like I won in every way. I was able to inspire, be challenged, laugh, create, and feel accomplished all in one weekend…and it’s my job.  Now I’m starting to sound like a rock star!   Everyone knows that the focus is about who is going to win the award, but we all know there is a little more buzz about what everyone looks like that night.  I read this quote from Barbra Streisand and it underscores how much that fashion is a part of the show, “My friend Quincy Jones says we won our first Grammys together in 1963. I have no recollection. I don’t even remember the room. When he showed me the picture, I remembered what I wore. But it’s like awards don’t mean anything.  As much as it was music’s biggest night, it is all about the hair, makeup and wardrobe.  And I couldn’t have been happier to be part of the preparation for the awards ceremony.  Have you ever wondered what it takes to get it all together for a big Hollywood awards night?  Let me break it down for you, rock star style.

  1. Inspire:  Inspiration is the foundation! I drew inspiration from Hollywood.  My client Lisa was wearing a beautiful long red gown from an Italian designer, and it hugged her body perfectly…so I immediately thought of old Hollywood.  Vintage hair and total glam makeup.  Lisa and I traded ideas back and forth weeks before the event.  I watched Golden Globe runway fashion and Detroit Charity Auto Show Preview Events to give me inspirational hints for her look.  We met again in person on Saturday at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (oh yes, the place was crawling with celebs), to see if inspiration could be reality…inspire means to guide, so the look might not be possible if the weather, her hair, or the “stars” just didn’t align!  Since she prefers to wear her thick blond hair down, we both agreed that the old school a la Veronica Lake style side part with waves would be perfect.
  2. Challenge:  Run to what scares you.  There was definitely magic and a little danger in the air on Grammy weekend, and no, Snoop Dogg wasn’t sitting next to us by the pool.  There’s something about a big event that makes people want to step up their game and dare to be different.  Ever wonder why some people have even worn dresses made of freshly cut meat on the red carpet?  Lucky for me Lisa wasn’t feeling that daring, but she was running very tight for time before leaving Boston for LA and wasn’t able to have her color re-touched before the event.  When Lisa asked if I can help her, “Of course I can handle that for you!” I exclaim poolside with not a shampoo bowl or color dispensary in sight, “Let’s do it right now” as we whisk up to the guest room overlooking the lovely pool where we were lounging.  I travel like I am a cross between MacGyver and Batman, so I made a magical formula with the few products I had in my bag, which lifted her color just where she needed it to be, and did it all in the bathroom of the Beverly Wilshire, of course.  Fortunately for Lisa, no MacGyver duct tape was used in this process.  The most challenging was the creative use of space in the bathroom and resisting the urge to think or say “if I were in a salon, I would be doing something else.”  It was all about Lisa’s rock star moment and being flexible, creative and proactive to meet her needs and, in turn, meeting mine.

 grammy workout 2014

  1. Laugh:  Be playful, passionate and professional!  Sunday morning rolled around and Lisa was concerned about her form fitting dress hugging a little too closely.  I am sure Beyonce and Pink had a moment or two when they had those thoughts.  I tapped into my resourceful side and recruited one of Europe’s top fitness trainers to squeeze in a quick detoxing and slimming Tabata style workout at the gym (of course, at the Beverly Wilshire overlooking the pool).  We opened the doors to the balcony and jammed out to some 80s pop legends while we sweated and laughed our wickedness away in twenty second bursts of torture, with only 10 seconds of reprieve. By the end our mantra was “red dress, red dress” as we jumped and lunged our way through.  Not sure which got us through, mental toughness, fashion motivation, or just plain fun, but we got it done!  We were welcomed with cheers from the poolside guests and staff when we were done.  With the roar from the crowd, I was getting used to this rock star status.

  1. Create:  Vavavoom!  With our newly slimmed down shapes, we were now under a deadline of two and half hours for hair, makeup, and men’s haircut and styling.  Showtime is go time, so we had to make all the magic happen quickly.  Creativity with planning is a terrific partnership.  Feeling like a rock star on stage—great rehearsal, now it’s time to perform!  This is where the real fun begins, training, experience and adrenaline kick in and excitement ramps up.  My male client was the opening act with his haircut on the balcony.  American Crew is always my choice for the best in men’s grooming, so I cut him with shears and razor over comb for a sleek, sophisticated, but still “I know how to party” look and finished his style with the classic Pomade for shine on the red carpet that will definitely get noticed.  After the haircut we decided not to through the chair into the pool like a rock star.  Save that for after the Grammys.
American Crew rock star style, setting hair, perfecting makeup.
American Crew rock star style, setting hair, perfecting makeup.
  1. Accomplish:  Mission accomplished with exceptional products and experience.  This level of event requires the best in service and products, so I carefully selected everything I used on my clients.  I prepped Lisa’s hair with Healthy Sexy Soy Touchable Hairspray to set the curl with a 1 inch barrel iron and finished with AG’s Details Defining Cream and The Oil for the silky smooth and flawless appearance without stiffness.  Kryolan professional is always my makeup of choice.  Starting with Ultrabase and Ultrafoundation, I used a bit of shading and highlighting, some light blusher in two shades of pink.  I created the smokey lined eye with black pencil liner and deep charcoal shadow, then bronze and gold Interferenz shadows on her lid to accent her blue eyes.  I chose a custom blended deep pink red for her lip topped with high gloss Toffee, steering away from being exactly on tone with her dress.  I capped the look off with Glamour Sparks Gold on her lids, brow bone and décolleté to highlight her gorgeous David Yurman gold and diamond jewelry.
Fashion styling and finished products!
Fashion styling and finished products!

So after the rock star treatment, my clients were whisked away in the awaiting car to the Staples Center for the 56th Grammy Awards ceremony.  The award for me that night was the excitement, shared enthusiasm, and having my clients feel like total rock stars…and I felt like I had just been on stage jammin’ with the Stones too.

Even Sexy Hair's Style Icon, Marilyn, is a fan!
Even Sexy Hair’s Style Icon, Marilyn, is a fan!

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