Alisha Basham is someone who knows about success. The 2015 North American Trend Vision Awards (NATVA) Young Talent winner is no stranger to the world of competitive hairstyling. She first competed in the in 2011 and made it to the finals that year, and she has competed every year since.
Her success at the 2015 NATVA is a beautiful emblem of her skill and keen eye for editorial styling. During the ESTETICA USA – NATVA’s Exclusive Photoshoot published in our latest COLOR ISSUE (get your FREE digital copy here!), we stole Alisha away from the chair to talk about life after NATVA stardom:
What was your connection with Wella, when you started out with the brand?
“Initially I was just a hairstylist that went to a hair show and I really liked what Wella was doing. I saw the Trend Vision looks, again –this was in 2011–, and so I started entering and I also competed in 2012 to place third nationally. After that they asked me to come audition so I have been working with Sebastian ever since. I did Wella classes more recently and I also use Wella at the salon everyday.“
How do you think that your life changed after you got the NATVA title?
“Well I had never traveled internationally, and had never been to any show of that magnitude. It was huge and the opportunity of meeting people from all over the world, I think it was great from inspiration. I think when you are an artist it is really easy to doubt yourself, especially in the things you create and do. We are our toughest critic and winning was a reassuring way to keep going and keep trying.“
How did exposure to this international aspect of the industry change you on the inside?
“I think it’s good to expose yourself to other cultures and see what other people in the world are doing. It is a positive influence, especially seeing the different aesthetics that people have, and their different ways to approach a color of their technique. I feel you can see the difference.“
What was was the thing that impressed you the most about their craft?
“I think it has to be how fast people can put things together. That’s something I am always working on because I tend to take my time with things. I am a bit slower and progressively get faster and faster. Some of the styles and the colors that people created… it’s just incredible how people can do it. First that they can do it at all and in just a couple of hours.“
Was it special to win in the Young Talent particular category?
“Yes! I competed in the Young Talent because I’m under 30. But I think that if I have to do it again then I would choose the Color Category.“
Did the Trend Vision Awards open any new ambitions for you?
“I always have a lot of goals no matter what. But just like I said before, it gives you that special reassurance because it’s this huge accomplishment that says you can do what you want to. Just keep trying and keep doing it. I didn’t win the first time I did it, so I think it pushed me as a stylist because you’re trying out looks that you usually wouldn’t do on a client.“
What do you think is the next step for you?
“Well I entered NAHA this year for the first time, which was so much work. Wow, I had never put together a collection and you need to do at least three models, so that’s something that was a goal of mine for several years. I think this was a good first step and I’d like to keep entering. I eventually want to have my own salon. That isn’t something I always wanted to do, because I always wanted to do the artistic side of it – it’s scary to think about the business side. I have been thinking about it for the past few years and I think it’s a goal for the future.“
How do you see you partnership with Wella developing for the years to come?
“I really love going to the big hair shows, because just like Trend Vision, you meet people from all over – so I love when I am able to be involved with the shows or even teaching classes. I’ll go to school, and a student will be doing something, and I will want to tell him something. You are learning all the time, even as an educator – you learn so much just by looking, and you have to know more because you have to know your stuff. I think it makes you a better hairdresser.“
Who are the hairstylists that inspire you?
“That is such a hard question! My list is so long. From Wella International, I always loved Dmitry Vinokurov’s work. He does a lot of the collections’ releases. Obviously love Michael and Shay from Sebastian – I love seeing how a look will come out and it will look one way with this amazing shape and then on stage they transform it into something different. Love that. Of course, Michael Haase – his work is amazing and he is such a cool guy. One thing that I really like about him is that he has never said ‘No, change this,’ he might help you along or show you a technique, but he never changes anything, he just guides you.“
Tell me a bit a about the look you created for Estetica Magazine (see image below).
“I have what we call, a transitional look. It is a look made from a mixture of Molten Ecaille and Bronde Luxe collections. So I am using bits and pieces from each color palette. I did do a hand painting technique on the model, which I think is relevant for both movements and deep in her base. I went a bit into the metal for my inspiration. Metal that has been exposed and oxidized with a teal kind of color – the rose gold, the peachy pinks, and then a bit more of an ashy tone. This mixture has been hard getting to work together but I thought it looks really cool – that’s why I made her base simple, so she has hand-painted highlights with peaks of color.“