Sitting at a rickety table at a hawker stand at midnight, sharing an open air restaurant with a large rodent and very happy group of young lovers and eating one of the tastiest meals ever is an enduring memory from my trip to Malaysia in October last year.
Kenny Lai, the Redken educator for Malaysia took it upon himself to treat me to 'local delights' and what a treat it was. I was also lucky to experience banana leaf curry. Curry, eaten with the hands and served on a large banana leaf directly on the table.
It's hard to know where to begin with my week in Malaysia. It was a hectic schedule, starting with a 3 hour look and learn seminar for 70 hairdressers showcasing the latest hair trends and techniques from the catwalks of the world, then immediately following that, I led a smaller group in a hands on workshop where we immersed ourselves a little deeper into the fine points of the looks that were presented in the morning.
I'm pretty sure the local hairdressers didn't know what to make of me when I told them how I came to be a hairstylist and what i was planning to share with them. From what I understand, the literal translation of what I shared with them was something to the effect of: 'if your hands are curious, please share them!' what I said was in fact ' by a show of hands, who is curious about what they are going to see here thismorning?'. Little wonder they sat and stared at me stony faced as the translation of my sory of passion for hairdressing came across in Mandarin as my grandmother wanting me to quit hairdressing now...
The second day followed the same format as the first day only I had to demonstarte different content. this time, the session was around long hair styling. It was a lot more relaxed and the audience by this stage had got a handle my strange ways with language and seemed to understand what I was saying a bit better, although, a number of them commented that they would prefer if I spoke Chinese. Maybe I should take the time to listen to the learn easy Chinese cds I bought all those years ago. Unfortunately my mandarin only goes as far as Ni Hao and Tsing Tao...
Day three was the start of a three day introduction to session styling workshop where I taught a team of ten specialist the fundamentals of styling hair for photoshoots, and fashion shows, and this workshop culminated in a professional photoshoot on day three with local photographer Kim Mun.
Kim Mun was awesome, his studio was relaxed and his attitude made the whole environment one of easy learning and professionalism. The photos speak for themselves.
The shoot was for use as a coffee table style look book which showcases Redken Malaysias hairdressing talent. I was fortunate to create the hair for the cover and the participants of my three day workshop created the looks for the main pages. I was so proud to see the results of their work. Each and every one of them showed that they had really absorbed the information of the previous two days and had clearly taken their skills to the next level!
Redken Artist Randall Wong of The Met Salon in KL was a gracious host and looked after me by taking me out to some the cities hotspots and while I was there I managed to take some time to do an insalon program with his team. We talked about keys to unlocking your creativity and the guys repaid me by straightening my hair with a chemical relaxing service. i must say, the best I've ever had.
With all the activity, I nearly forgot that the day after I arrived in KL I did a photoshoot for Style Magazine where we took a model and gave her three different looks while illustrating and demonstrating the how to achieve the looks step by step.
The best thing for me from the whole trip was seeing the transformation of the hairdressers. Not only did their skill improve, but their energy and enthusiasm was palpable by the end of the week. Redken Artist Anitta Hisham kept asking where I got my energy, and I slyly held up my Starbucks coffee cup, but the truth is, my energy was simply a reflection of what I was getting from the stylists involved in the workshops.
Talk again soon