Marching to the runway beat
TFCS chats with session hairstylist Andrita Renee from New York on finding freelance happiness
Creating runway looks for a major event such as New York Fashion Week is a career-boosting dream come true for many stylists. For freelance NYC Editorial Hair Artist and Writer Andrita Renee, it was the culmination of putting in years of hard work as a hairstylist before she landed the game-changing gig.
Known for her penchant for creating highly textured looks, Andrita is equally known for her on-trend, sharp-as-a-tack no bs writing. The Fashion Collective Singapore chats with the author behind The Hairspray Diaries and Glamour x Bullshit on how she started her freelancing journey, and where it has taken her to. The hair guru has created runway looks for Rodarte, The Row, Yeezy, Zac Posen, Joseph Altuzarra, The Today Show, as well as editorial looks for Nylon, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire magazines, to name a few.
Freelancing is pretty natural to me. Growing up, I’ve always displayed entrepreneurial qualities, and I’ve only ever dreamed of working for myself. I got into the beauty industry as a way to earn a living by doing something creative and independent.
As a freelance professional, being organized, dependable and available are the most important assets you can have. Your reputation and timing round out that list. Freelancing is being a small business, with yourself as the product.
The freelancer’s path is not an easy one. Staying tuned in to yourself is what will help you survive and adapt in this business. It is also a great challenge. The industry, our peers and society often try to convince us of what we should be doing with our careers. Ultimately, we are the only ones that can make ourselves happy and fulfilled, therefore our voices should be loud, clear and most influential to ourselves.
Working on Fashion Week
Working backstage is getting on a rollercoaster of emotions. Firstly, being asked to be a part of it is major. Then comes lots of nervousness and anxiety while preparing for and getting to the shows, and making sure you expertly carry out the designer’s vision.
But once the music starts, the models walk and you hear the audience’s applause, it’s a beautiful feeling.
Working in editorial
People have asked me how I’ve gotten editorial jobs. To be honest, I’ve never pitched to editors to procure editorial hair styling work. Building my portfolio, mastering my website and being a collaborative/dependable artist is what made people take notice. Relationships lead to better relationships, and that’s how my career has evolved.
For those who are just starting out, start from wherever you are, and be completely open to jobs.
Editorial work is only important depending on the kind of career an artist wants to have. If you want to work with private clients, brides or television, I think editorial is not always necessary. It’s always beneficial because it’s perceived as glamorous, but you won’t need it for that kind of career.
But if you want to be a creative working in magazines or with celebrities, editorial work is very important. People want to see your capabilities, your artistic vision. People want to see that other people of equal or higher positions seek you out for your expertise. Exposure can be more valuable than money, but only if the exposure grants you explicit credit and is being offered by a major source.
My experience working with editors has shown that they look for artists whom they respect and admire, and are interested to in or have worked with. A newbie should go into editorial assignments knowing that the opportunity will lead them in the direction of the career of their dreams.
I am continuously re-imagining the kind of artist I want to be. Hence, I am constantly working towards having a body of work that inspires me and makes me proud.
Andrita’s tips on building a freelance career
Decide what kind of artist you want to be, and the work you want to do.
Maintain your reputation.
Stay inspired, and never stop improving your skill set.
Images: Andrita Renee