Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Having been in the fashion industry in the Midwest for a good five years now, I've been awarded many different types of friendships that have blossomed because of this mutual interest or hobby. Some of those friendships have been fleeting, some long lasting, and some incredibly toxic. By far one of the most important and fulfilling types however, are the friendships that I've gained with my clients.

(Image courtesy of Brittany Powers)

Now for those of you just tuning in, I own a hair artistry company here in Ohio called Synthetic Rebellion, and I style hair for all sorts of things: Photo shoots, weddings, proms, runway shows, films, hot dates- you name it, I style for it. Every Sunday I work at Laura Dark's studio styling hair for her many, many clients, and it's there that I have been able to gain the aforementioned friends. Not only do I get to work alongside my best friends who also work at the studio (i.e: Team Dark!), but I get to hang out with and pamper women of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds for their photo shoots with Laura. It really is a dream, because nearly everyone who walks through our doors is just amazing. Their attitudes are amazing, their humor and perspective is amazing, and their investment in us as a company and as individuals is amazing!

(Image courtesy of Joan Nakamoto)

We're really fortunate to have so many repeat clients who come back to us non-stop, and who after every visit becomes more and more of a friend. It's refreshing how many people come in as strangers, and in just a few short hours leave us feeling as though our studio family just got a little bit bigger.

(Team Dark Pose Coach, Jackie Steinert, with model Anastasia Corpus)

For us, our Sundays at the studio are a chance to really exercise our creative muscles and think of new ways to bring someone else's vision to life. More than that though, our Sundays are a chance to build up our client's self-esteem, smother them with compliments, give them all of our attention and praise, and help them to realize that they are beautiful. They're beautiful without the makeup and the hair, and they're beautiful without the costumes, and the allure of Photoshop. To us, our clients are stunning from top to bottom, and we get the privilege of helping them see that for themselves.

(One of our regulars, Tracy Gantt and myself in Chicago!)

It's that part of our job that makes a blossoming friendship with our clients so special. We become bonded and supportive almost right off the bat, and there's a strong sense of genuine admiration for each other, be it for our creative talents, our personalities, or for our inner and outer beauty. It's a really wonderful thing to have!

(Me and my prom girl, Josie right before she got dressed for her big night!)

Some of our clients drive two or more hours one way just to see a show we're in, or to go to an event we're hosting. Some fly in from out of the country and hang out with us outside of the studio, and bring thoughtful gifts for our birthdays and/or holidays. Some clients show up to the studio when they're not shooting just to sit and chill for a few hours and catch up with everyone. It's just incredible. I feel so honored and lucky to have such a large group of people who have become really good friends, all because of the studio and what we do there.

(My best friend and partner in art, Jackie Steinert and myself during a studio day)

This whole experience has really taught me to invest even more in new faces, and to put myself out there as a friend from the get-go. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but I still have a lovely time getting to know someone I didn't know all that well before, and we still have a fun time working together. Other times it works out REALLY well, and we all gain another person we just can't seem to live without! This experience has also given me the chance to grow stronger bonds with those that I'm already friends with, and share my passions with them on a more one on one level. I could never be grateful enough to have so much opportunity to meet so many incredible people!

With that said, to all of those clients turned friends out there (and friends turned clients!), thank you. Thank you for making me feel so full and wealthy with your friendships. Thank you for supporting everything that I do, and for recommending me to your friends and family. More than anything though, thank you for the chance to get to know you! You really are amazing, and I hope that we remind you of that every single day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

On Being A Slacker...

February? I haven't updated this blog since FEBRUARY? Oh my god, I really have fallen off the blogging deep end. So much has happened in the last five months, way more than I could ever try to shove into one entry, buuut for the sake of all of the cool things that I've got going on now, I'll try anyway.

My most recent entry was about my behind the scenes shoot with Crys Darling of Label Yourself, Art CatTrulie Scrumptious, and of course the hair structures from my hair company, Synthetic Rebellion. Just a few short months after that shoot had taken place, we debuted the entire sweets collection during a massive runway show at Drauma. It was spectacular!

(Image by Shadow Services.)

You can view the full collection here.

I was then interviewed in the Columbus Alive featuring the hair pieces at Drauma, and it was an amazing experience. If you click on the link above, you can read the full interview on their website! 

(Image credit: Tony Bentivegna Photography)

In April I debuted an entire collection of clothing made entirely out of synthetic hair at The Alternative Fashion Week 2014, with the help from my assistants Kaylen Jackson, and Jackie Steinert. I had announced that we were doing this on the blog in January, but nothing really prepared us for what we eventually created for the show. You can see the full gallery of looks by clicking here. The event was an amazing experience that really pushed my creativity to an extreme that I hadn't known I was capable of achieving. My models were amazing, and the amount of support that we got from the community left me in awe for weeks after the whole thing ended. To be truthful, I'm still riding that high a little bit! 

After Alternative Fashion Week ended, I started up my next massive project, which was The Boyfriend Project- an interactive, original comedy set to become a YouTube mini-series about modern dating. Our cast and crew is comprised of talented, hard working people, who have really embraced the script and the characters to their fullest ability. It's been SO MUCH FUN filming each episode, which takes place all around Columbus, Ohio. It's a very ambitious project, totaling a hundred pages of script, dozens of locations, a cast and crew of over twenty people, and twelve episodes total. The amount of support and excitement we've gotten from the local film community has kind of been out of this world. Every time we shoot, I'm left with this overwhelming sense of gratitude that this idea that we created almost two years ago is finally coming to life- bit by bit. It's been totally awesome! 

In the middle of all of this, Equine Partners moved to a new facility just fifteen minutes away from the old one, and we had about two days to move over forty-two horses and start over fresh... In the middle of winter. It was CRAZY. But, through the move we gained a wonderful and happy new home that has perked everyone's spirits sky high. The actual farm itself is stunning, with a swimming pool for the horses, an indoor and outdoor racetrack, open and bright stalls... It's really quite a sight to see. May now has her own stall, and is busy being a silly little diva. She's been getting handled so much now that we've moved, and I can tell that she's improving and learning every time I go out and visit her. Truth be told, I haven't been able to go to the farm as often as I'd like to, and working with May (beyond general grooming time) has been minimal. And that's something I'd really like to change in the next few months once things slow down a tick. I very much miss my beautiful girl. 

Now, there are TONS of other things that have happened, too. I started a brand new job at a private practice, my sister had her first baby, and I got to spend four whole days loving on my brand new nephew, Corbin (aka, the cutest baby ever). Dan and I got to see Eddie Izzard perform at the Palace Theater, and in just a little over 48 hours, we sign the lease to our brand new apartment together. 

Life has been GRAND! 

I'm sure that there are things that I'm forgetting, but for now I just leave you with what's above. I've carved out time in my crazy busy schedule to write more often, as I'm still the lead blogger for The Alternative Fashion Blog, and I've been a total slacker there, too. Luckily, there are a handful of amazingly talented writers who have been great at contributing solid content. Still, it's time to commit to both blogs, and write more often. 

Hope you all have been well! I've missed you!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Behind the Scenes- Label Yourself

So, this is the top secret hair piece in the works that I was busy creating last weekend for Crys Darling's clothing line, Label Yourself. We had spent months designing wigs and hair pieces for her Sweets collection, and it's finally all come together! Crys gathered an amazing team of individuals to capture her sweet treat fantasy, and these are some of the behind the scenes images from that shoot! I was so excited to see everything come into place, and to see Trulie finally try on her hair piece. It. Was. Magical. 

(Pictured from left to right: Quiana Tenise, Crys Darling, and Trulie Scrumptious) 

We are thrilled to put together the other 4 pieces for her collection, which will be debuted to the public on April 19th at Drauma Columbus! I will have the distinct honor of designing her pieces (with the incredible help of Kaylen!) AND wearing one of the pieces down the runway. I'm thrilled! Let me know what you think of Trulie's cupcake hairpiece! 

You can see all of the images from behind the scenes that day here. All images courtesy of Art Cat. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Synthetic Rebellion 2014

(Image by Laura Dark)

Okay, okay. So I've been pretty silent these days here on the blog. I've been so ungodly busy for the last few months trying to get what feels like a billion projects up and running at once, and I've put the blog on the back burner. Again. But NO MORE! Seriously. 

Instead of trying to recap everything that's been going on, I figured that I'd just jump into talking about a major project that I'm working on right this very second: Synthetic Rebellion's next venture into this years Alternative Fashion Week as designers AND hair stylists. That's right! We're submitting our own collection of costume wear in addition to elaborate and extreme hair art structures. It's like we've absolutely gone insane or something.... Which I often argue that we have.

Regardless! It's official and we're excited about it. If you're interested in what we did last year, just click on the links above. They have all of the awesome work that we put into the finale runway show as hair artists, and now we're contributing even more. It's honestly a complete dream come true to be able to tackle such a large goal in such a short amount of time. Alternative Fashion Week is coming up in just a few short months (April 19th-26th to be exact) here in Columbus, and we've got TWO collections that we're debuting. That's a HUGE leap from our First Runway Show Ever last April. It's amazing what a year can bring.

Speaking of, that beautiful girl on the right in the picture above? That's my hair partner in crime, Kaylen. Without her I would never have had the confidence to do anything beyond studio work. She is an amazing addition to Synthetic Rebellion and I'm very lucky to have her by my side in all of this. 

Anyway, to give you some confidence that I am in fact going to be writing more often, check out the Alternative Fashion Blog that I am a contributing writer for (lead in fact!), which will have a TON of updates on AFW 2014, the designers, fashions, and events that surround it. You won't be disappointed! 

Oh! And check out some of our recent work on our Facebook Page and tell us what you think! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Amy Koller Anderson

The coolest part about doing photoshoots and being a part of the industry is when things like this happen. This is a painting by Amy Kollar Anderson that was inspired by an image I had shot a few years ago with Photographer James Hayden. 

It was amazing to watch the transformation from inspiration to a solid piece of art, and after months and months of waiting, she put out a time lapse lapse video. I can't count how many times I've sat and watched this, each time being more impressed with her skill and imagination. It was an unbelievable honor to be part of her collection!

Now she has limited edition prints and jewelry with my face on them! You can check out her etsy store for those and for dozens of other pieces of exceptional art!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Picking Up Your Feet.

I'd like to apologize for the exceptionally grainy images for this post. I had decided to bring my new camera to the farm to document May and I, and the settings were never adjusted to the arena's light, or to May's movement. I'm working on getting a photographer to come out and take images specifically for the blog, but these will have to work for now. 
Anyway, onto the training session! Mandy was kind enough to pull May from the pasture and place her in a stall until I could get out of work. Once I was there, I guided May around the arena for a few minutes, walking a relaxed path and exercising some basic commands until we came to a complete stop. I was touching her all over, running my hands over her feet and lifting them a little (which I've done every time I'm around her) when she decided to bite the top of my head. Mandy took that as a good indicator that we should start working on getting May comfortable with letting someone lift up her feet.
Now, it is incredibly important that horses learn not only this but to also learn to be comfortable standing on 3 legs at a time. Farriers need to tend to horses hooves, vets need to be able to work on an injury, and an owner needs to be able to pick up the foot of a calm horse to see if there's a need for a vet or farrier in the first place. May hasn't had much success with the farrier in the past, so it was time to finally nip this uneasiness in the bud.
We chose to use a lead rope to pick up her feet so that it was less dangerous to us, and began just by gently rubbing the rope against her legs. Once she was relaxed and accepting of the rope, Mandy then put it around the back of each leg, one at a time, until she was comfortable with that, too. She was less than happy to comply with this, and she paced in circles while we made ourselves pivots and slowed her down with "woah" commands.

It's at this point that I feel like it should be said that I am still terrified of May. My trust in her has grown exponentially, but I still question everything that I do and everything that she could do, and that uneasiness spurs a lot of hiccups in her attitude to happen. Every time I'm with her, I see how much improvement she's made with being handled, and being well mannered, and it makes me feel instantly better. Still, I dwell on previous experiences and I put expectations out there when we're together that something bad is going to happen. Those things make her great improvements seem like tiny little spurts of luck to me, instead of the moved mountains and huge victories that they actually are.

This fear is really prohibiting me from becoming a strong leader and companion to May, and I realize that every time that we're together. Since Mandy and I have talked at length about this (and she knows the signs of me panicking), she will often switch from teaching May something, to teaching me instead.

Now, I have a fear of standing in front of May to get her to stop when she won't stop otherwise. It's not that she's ever hurt me when we've worked together, or that she's temperamental when I'm standing there, but I still get excessively nervous. Often when I throw my hands out and shout a booming 'WOAH', I'm shaking. Being that this is something that I need to work through, Mandy makes it a point to consistently teach me how to confidently stop any horse that might be moving towards me. It always takes a few dozen tries to get over my nerves, but I eventually get there. By mid-session I was throwing my hands out to stop her, and my hands were as still as ever.

The other form of stopping May is using the 'traffic sign'. This makes me equally as nervous, but again, by the time we had reached mid-session I was doing it and May was listening.

Now, I'm going to make another post about this that goes more into detail, but I have learned to back May up with just my finger. Mandy reminded me to use this in addition to the other methods if May is trying to walk into me. Every time she listens to this command and backs up, I nearly fall over in pride and excitement. I cannot believe, even for a second, that we mastered this trick.

Anyway, after about 30 minutes of getting May used to the lead rope on her legs, Mandy and I were finally able to lift up each of her legs, one by one. She fought it a little, as any horse would at first, and then she slowly started to get used to one of her legs being off of the ground. She did so well that we didn't push her to do anything else, and just enjoyed the moment of victory.

After our training session, we walked May into an open stall and Dan and I spent a chunk of time grooming her. I was so grateful to have him at the farm to witness a training session in person, and to allow him some time to get to know May a bit more. He hadn't been to the farm since I first adopted her, and seeing them together made me extremely happy.

Cue awkward half-family photo!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Birthday!

Holy Hannah, have I been a terrible blogger lately! It's been two whole months since my last update, and I feel like such a slacker. So much has happened since September, and it's crazy that I've neglected giving any updates! So first let me say that I'm sorry, and THEN let me say that I already have a ton of updates written to publish over the next week... So you'll be all caught up! More or less.

At any rate, let's start with my birthday! This past Monday I celebrated turning 26, and I had an amazing day. Actually if you want to get technical, we celebrated my birthday the whole week beforehand, too. One night Dan made me a gigantic meal and cleaned the entire apartment (top to bottom!), and the next day he took me to a concert (or two), then the next he had beautiful flowers delivered, and nearly every night we'd go out for fanciful dinners with friends... I was exceptionally spoiled. For the actual night of my birthday we got a group of friends together and went to Level Dining Lounge to eat like kings and party the night away. It was amazing.

Two very sweet friends (Heather and Colleen) handmade my birthday cake, which was this awesome steampunk floral delight that made everyone super excited. It tasted fantastic, and the pictures just really fail to do it any justice. 

I was really touched by everyone's gifts, and kind words during the party. I had honestly felt like everyone's presence was a huge gift to me, because every single person that sat at that table was just as busy as I usually am, and have just as much going on as I do, and they all made the effort. Plus, they are all so freaking talented! I spent about an hour talking about each person's abilities, whether it be with singing, or dancing, or sculpting, or styling, or acting... I mean, it went on, and on, and on. My friends are all incredible, and I'm super lucky to get to spend big moments of my life with them. 

This birthday might have been the best one yet. I was so thankful for not only my party, but to those that wrote huge posts about our friendships, and sent cards, and letters, made videos, and wrote songs, and sent me a bazillion messages online. My phone exploded all day, and I loved it!  

It was so effortless for those around me to stop for a second and celebrate with me, and I think that that was just the coolest thing ever. You know? 

Happy 26th!