On January 23rd of this year, a terrible blow was dealt to the world of hairdressing at the news of the untimely death of Fabio Sementilli. Although filling a leading executive role as Vice President of Education for Coty Professional Beauty, he was loved by all as simply Fabio (the one and only), whose positivity, pure energy, and thunderous laugh reached far beyond the board room to touch and inspire audiences and individuals, both near and far. He took a hands-on approach to his mentoring vocation, known for saying, “There are so many great hairdressers out there, and the best way to be successful is to give it away and pass on to the next generation” and “The next level of greatness is about being a human. We are all in the same business – we must pay it forward”. There are many more quotes, anecdotes, and memories of those he left behind, some of which we would like to share here.
Dearest Fabio, dear #bigdaddy,
There is less light in this world since you’ve been gone. You generously instilled passion in every single thing that you did and every single word that you said – and it was contagious! It spread energy in the industry and for the industry. It inspired people to continue when they wanted to give up. It lightened up the day when you entered the room and filled it with your light and laughter.
You wanted your legacy to be the relationships you built and the impact you had on people. You touched many more lives than you can ever imagine. I am moved to tears by all the love I am seeing in the #WellaFamily, pouring after your premature passing and by the legacy that you have left in this world.
We miss you dearly. It will never be the same without you yet I know you are forever with us in our hearts.
It is hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember. We will continue to carry the torch and we will make you proud. #wellalove forever, dear Fabio.
SYLVIE MOREAU President of Coty Professional Beauty
Fabio was a very dear friend, a colleague, an industry icon and a valued member of my leadership team. He will be sorely missed.
I will especially miss Fabio’s loud laughter and sheer presence, whether it was in the boardroom, the hallway or at an industry event. He and I come from a similar background—both born in Toronto and sons of Italian immigrants—and by nature we would always cheer for the underdog. I may be passionate about this industry and our business, but Fabio’s passion was infectious. It would create a mood in the room. He could relate to and was an advocate for the everyday stylist while bringing to Coty Professional Leadership Team an incredible business approach to serving the salons.
I especially loved the banter that the two of us would share on stage and at events. We would repeatedly talk about scripting our opening, then simply ad-lib. Our light pokes at each other and our passion for the industry would simply take over.
The hashtag in #wellafamily is not just a hashtag. There is a feeling, a culture a sense of belonging when you are under the #wellafamily. We will miss Fabio, but his spirit will fuel us to continue to build on our journey to reach and delight stylists. We will long to hear his loud laugh, see his big smile, but we will always feel his presence through our passion to serve stylists and salon owners.
SALVATORE MAUCERI Senior Vice President North America Professional Beauty and Global OPI at Coty Professional Beauty
Fabio was my friend. Like many, I owe him a lot. Since 2007 we worked closely on our business, at international events, via a constant stream of text messages plus early morning (his) & late night (mine) calls to bridge the nine hour time difference between Los Angeles and Geneva. I helped Fab speak corporate. Fab helped me speak hairdressing.
Our shared Mission: To strengthen Education as the authentic Heart of our company, an engine for healthy businesses and maker of great beauty professionals. Fab’s deepest convictions became mine, that we could always do better together and that we had the power to change people's lives, just as hairdressers do behind chairs every day.
Fab was the leading voice behind our Hairdresser at Heart program and "Enter or Mentor!" competition mantra. Fab championed Creative Intelligence, Tailor Made Education and other ways to help hairdressers thrive in their business and craft. With his team, Fab invented touchstones for our growing community: #WellaLife, #WellaHair, #WellaLove and #WellaFamily. Then, Fab showed us how to live those words authentically and make them… always, about the people. That part wasn't new though, that’s what Fab did his whole life and he did it with gusto.
Fab helped shape these successes in North America and many beyond. He led from the front and he led from the heart. It has been a privilege to know Fab, a brilliant, generous and kind soul with a passion for helping people achieve their dreams. In the days, months and years ahead we will find ways to move forward, to strengthen Fab’s legacy, to pay it forward and as Fab put it to “Give 100% and expect nothing in return”.
MICHELLE MASON Coty Professional Beauty, Senior VP Global Education & Professional Development
Fabio and I would always argue about his wardrobe choices, especially for shows. One of those was for the Sebastian What’s Next Awards show in New York City a couple years ago…
Fabio showed up at the event wearing white linen pants, a simple black t-Shirt and a jean jacket. As we were getting close to opening, I asked him,: ”When are you changing?” He responded, “Why? What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” I rolled my eyes. “Where do I start?” But that’s what he wore on stage. We had a great show, and at the end of the night, after a couple of drinks, he came to me laughing and finally confessed: when he changed his pants earlier at the hotel, he bent over to put his shoes on and his pants ripped beyond repair. His description of splitting his pants was so funny that we couldn’t stop laughing, with tears rolling down our cheeks and pain in our jaws!
This is the Fabio everyone knew and loved. Besides being an incredible influence in the industry, he was a top-notch human being. I will forever miss him dearly.
CAROLE PROTAT Coty Professional Beauty, North America Creative Director
Being a part of this wonderful craft is a passport to meet effervescent individuals. Fabio went beyond effervescent… his personality, charm, whit, knowledge, respect for others and infectious laughter will reverberate and echo through my life till the day I die. He taught me a tremendous amount. Fabio was a giant in every sense.
STEPHEN MOODY Wella Professionals Global Education Academy Dean
Fabio Sementilli was a game changer to the beauty business. He had the innate ability to blur the line between Hairdresser and Executive like no other that I have seen in my 46 years in the industry. His absence will be an unfilled void.
He was truly the epitome of "one of a kind." What made Fabio so unique was his authentic ability to cross lines, brands and relationships with everyone feeling like they got the best end of the deal. I will forever remember Fabio as a Great Husband, Father, Friend, Encourager, Mentor, Connector and MOST OF ALL the most positive person with which I have ever done business.
His unwavering support of Intercoiffure America/Canada will always be appreciated. There was only one FABIO!
FRANK GAMBUZZA Intercoiffure America/Canada President
Fabio. What a loss, a man full of life, big and tall as his smile. His presence could be seen from far away, his loud and contagious laughs would drown attention from everyone in the room. Extremely friendly, everyone knew Fabio Sementilli as a people to people guy.
I loved him from the moment we met. He was part Italian, we spoke in Italian and would have fun reminiscing time when we were young kids in Italy and how much of a rascals we were. He loved life as much as he loved his job. I remember one time he came to visit and I made him principal for the day, I had so much fun seen him running the salon, it was great!
I’ll remember Fabio in many positive ways – with a big smile, a great sense of humor and always so passionate about his work.
He will be missed.
OSCAR BLANDI Oscar Blandi Salon, New York
The tragic death of Fabio Sementilli leaves us all bereft and without a great hairdresser, friend, supporter and bon vivant. Fabio's warmth, enthusiasm, ringing laughter, passion and love for his craft were testaments to who he was as a person. Cosmetologists Chicago will cherish his innovation in developing the "industry creative directors" round table at America's Beauty Show. His memory is a blessing to all that we as an organization, friends and the industry can cling to now and in the future.
PAUL DYKSTRA CEO, America’s Beauty Show by Cosmetologists Chicago
Many people talk about making a difference, few actually do it and keep doing it. What I admired about Fabio and what his legacy will be in my opinion, is not the incredible talent, the big personality, the loud and booming voice. It is what he did everyday to support other Hairdressers, the next generation and to pay it forward. His legacy will be seen and felt in the thousands of those he mentored, coached and cheered for.
REUBEN CARRANZA Chairman, Professional Beauty Association & President, R+Co & V76, Luxury Brand Partners
The death of Fabio Sementilli, VP Education for Wella, is shocking and so senseless. I feel I speak for many in saying that we enjoyed every minute we spent with him and admired his passion for helping beauty professionals be successful. He cared and it showed. His positive attitude, sense of humor and his drive were only a few of his great attributes. Let us all learn from his energy and enthusiasm. We wish only the best for his personal and professional families.
LARRY SILVESTRI President, Cosmetologists Chicago and COO, Mario Tricoci Hair Salons & Spas
Fabio’s smile would light up a room – whether a corporate board room or the cement floor model-prep area behind curtains at a show. He presence among us was bigger than life itself. He radiated his devotion to his craft and the people who practice it. He loved doing hair and instilling that love into young hairdressers. We mourn his untimely death but know that his love of professional beauty is what will also sustain us.
VI NELSON President, Vi Nelson & AssociatesI remember when I first met Fabio as he was our new Education and Show leader here in the USA. I was so excited and thrilled that he was a fellow stylist, owned salons, worked behind the chair, entered competitions and had a passion for hairdressers like no other. This was the beginning of a work relationship and friendship all at the same time. He shared a positive light on everything and there was nothing he would not try to do which was very admirable. His laugh still echoes in my head as it was such a jolly one. He was fun to be around and he was a strong advocate for mentoring and it was because of his saying “Enter or Mentor” that I started to do a lot more mentoring. I loved that he always spoke so proudly of his children with that Proud Dad feeling. He will always be remembered and never forgotten, not a day goes by without someone mentioning his name… that speaks volumes about Fabio Sementilli.
SONYA DOVE Owner/Creative Director, The Doves Salon & Wella Global AmbassadorI remember sitting down with Fabio at the Wella Studio when he first asked me to join the team as a Wella Top Artist. He said: "Michael, I believe you are the most passionate hairdresser I have ever met." We both smiled at each other and I remember saying: “That's funny, Fabio, I was just thinking the same thing about you." We both laughed and of course his laughter was louder than mine... and we both laughed about that some more.
MICHAEL M. HAASE Owner/Hairstylist, Platinum Black Salon