+ Chelsea James TEACH IN with Hairbrained

Longest day of life in the shop, but it was epic! Two full makeover transformations, booked solid, stylist meetings were next level, and I’m feeling so connected on my drive home. Illegally check my phone, and there’s a Facebook message from Gerard Scarpcai, cofounder of Hairbrained:

Hi Chelsea, Congrats on the HVA nomination! I would like to invite you also to take present at a Teach In Classroom we are holding on 3/13 at 2 pm at IBS. You would be part of a 30 minute segment with 2 other HVA Nominees. You would need to find a model and work on them for 30 minutes on stage with the other 2 noms, I would be the host. Let me know if you are interested and we can set up a call to chat more.

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I didn’t think prior to responding and wrote:
Yes brother yes… I have to change my flight, but fuck to the yes sir!

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I have been watching, following and loving the Hairbrained TeachIns for so many years. I have always thought about how it must feel to facilitate one.. Wonder if they were nervous, and admire different people’s style and essence as they share their craft with everyone. I watched the way the talented artists were able to make you feel like you were there. I envisioned myself on the stage, and was curious about the all the details- do they get paid? Dos HB give them a topic? Is it rehearsed? Are the models professional? Who edits the videos? What program do they use? Does Gerard get nervous? Are they nice in real life? It was so surreal to realize this was actually happening. I was being asked!

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I called Gerard. He explained the details and I agreed, hung up the phone and used my shirt to wipe off my sweaty armpits. I was so stoked to learn that I could literally do whatever I wanted. I had no limitations other than 30 minutes. I loved the challenge. How to add the maximum amount of value, do something creative/inspiring, and try to stay grounded with nerves, all while standing along side artists I would pay boo-coo $ to see!

Randa Rivera is an incredibly talented stylist who helped us make the videos (the whole reason I received this opportunity).  She is also stunningly beautiful with an equal love for Hairbrained, so it was only natural for her to be my dream model… she said yes!!! Honestly, my prayer was that I was able to stay present and enjoy the entire process while living this dream.IMG_8393

The teach in was at the Javits Convention Center in NYC the day after the HVA, so we didn’t sleep much, and we had so much adrenaline after meeting everyone at the party the night before. We arrived and signed in at 10am, and found the Hairbrained booth! We were then escorted by the sweetest angel to the prep room, where we were greeted by Jay Mahmood, Ricardo, Brian Hickman, Mona, Lupe Voss and Krill- founder of Hairfucker.

I wanted to die when I realized I didn’t bring a cape… amateur move. Jay was THE SWEETEST, and made me feel so welcome, and literally gave me the cape off his models back. Prep was really cool. To be there and watch the relationships that they all had was a true privilege. Jay and Ricardo’s banter was especially entertaining. We finished prepping Randa, and had enough time to watch the main stage presentation, picking up some really valuable techniques. Later, we were scurried off to head down to the classroom, and at the final hour it was decided that the groups were to be switched, meaning that Mona, Brian and I were up first!

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We entered the room, unpacked our tools, and Randa and I went to the far side of the stage. The stool I had was the tallest, and would not go down any farther, but that didn’t stop me! The room was packed with my people- Hairdressers!!! Everyone was so supportive and engaged. We just shared our craft and had some Q and A time, all while Randy Taylor did his thing behind the lens! The mic was a bit crazy with some serious feedback, but the connection and community prevailed.

We finished our segment, and switched mic’s with Jay, Hairfucker and Ricardo. They completely knocked my socks off. At the end, we escorted our models to the stage, and I spent some time answering questions and bonding with hairdressers from all over the world!

As I sit and reflect on it all, I’m so thankful for every second of it. I do think I was able to meet the challenges I saw, alongside additional unexpected ones. I learned so much working so closely with everyone involved, and I feel like I did a decent job of staying present. I love this industry because it’s given me a home. It’s given me an outlet and a community. It’s unpredictable, exciting, ever evolving and I’m in awe of all the magic it has brought into my life. Thank you Hairbrained, for letting me play, and helping realize a dream come true!!  

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