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Iles Formula Hair Talk With Gregory Patterson

Gregory’s talent, enthusiasm and passion for teaching have brought him to the hair styling spotlight. Shortly after relocating to New York from Arizona, Gregory quickly became one of the most sought after stylists in New York City.

Gregory has worked the runway at New York Fashion Week, keying the looks for Project Runway Seasons 14 and 15 as Celebrity Consultant for Sally Beauty. He has been featured in many editorial and lifestyle magazines as a Celebrity Hairstylist contributor such as: Glamour, Shape, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, In Style, Vogue, Elle, Allure, Martha Stewart, People, US Weekly. He has also been featured in Allure Magazine Best of Directory as “Best Blow Dry Stylist in the Industry”.
His passion for educating has launched him into a Global Educator and Platform Artist Role and toured Scandinavia, Dubai, Thailand, South Africa and Asia, educating as well as working on Dancing with the Stars and Sweden’s largest morning news program TV4. His celebrity clientele includes: Anne Hathaway, Britney Spears, Meryl Streep, Carrie Underwood, Nicole and Paris Hilton, Emma Stone and Julianne Moore to include a few.

IF : Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in a hairdressing career today?

GP : One of the biggest challenges in a hair dressers career today I feel is having the ability to establish and maintain a personal clear point of view that is original and authentic to each individual hairstylist.

I struggle with this personally and have to always challenge myself to push into more education, technique, diversity and willingness to step outside of my comfort box. I think this is such a challenge for all of us with the massive presence of SOCIAL MEDIA, and staying relevant, and current on trend whilst also trying to bring that trend back to your personal aesthetic.

It’s an interesting time in beauty right now with the influence of bloggers, influencers and truly talented individuals. They may not be licensed hairstylists – but can style hair incredibly well, representing brands and running social media Beauty Businesses. The challenge as a licensed hair stylist to build this type of following, branding, marketing, having to learn to edit and post video and manage blogs etc., while at the same time maintaining and building salon business and freelance work is exhausting and often times overwhelming.

However, I also feel that this is the BEAUTY of the beauty business – ever changing and always growing. The challenge would be: ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

IF : What’s the most enjoyable part of your current job?

GP : Well, quite frankly, this is a loaded question for me, because my job has blossomed in so many ways… For example:

I represent a professional brand FHI Brands as their Global Celebrity Stylist and Ambassador. I represent them through all television and media. I’m also the on-air guest and stylist for FHI Brands on The Home Shopping Network and The Shopping Channel, Canada, including product and styling tool development.

I also am the Celebrity Stylist Ambassador for Sally Beauty Supply. I have worked with this magically beautiful company for two years now, representing them through media outlets and most recently as the Lead Hairstylist for Project Runway Seasons 14 & 15 on Lifetime TV. They’ve so graciously entrusted me with leading and executing their hair campaigns and commercial shoots over the past two years – helping to bring the brand to an elevated level, pushing them into a more fashion and trend destination for everything beauty.

Then… I also travel the world leading classes in my Blow Dry Styling experiences creating experiences and education for GHD Scandinavia. We have held major and intense blow dry styling courses with me and the GHD Team in Miami, NYC, Thailand, Dubai, Cape Town, Stockholm and many other cities touring through Scandinavia.

And in my free time, I lead, conceptualize and execute the hairstyles for Marie Forleo’s award winning YouTube show – Marie TV. Her TV show is shown in over 192 countries throughout the world.

In my other free time, I speak at and spend time with future hairstylists at Empire Beauty School throughout the US. I am a graduate of Empire Beauty School and being able to share my journey with future professionals and debunk some myths and share some technique is really what makes my blood boil… and it’s important for me to give back.

So you ask me what is the most enjoyable part to my “current” job, I would say it’s the DIVERSITY of my job. I get to live in my dreams everyday, in so many different realities.

IF : Why did you choose the path of hairdressing?

GP : I didn’t really “choose” the path of hairdressing to be honest with you; it sort of chose me and then I embraced it whole heartedly.

You see, I never had a desire to do hair. Nor did I think that I was even capable of doing hair. My whole life I played sports. I grew up country in a ranching town and dreamed of being a rodeo clown (the crazy fella that pulls the bull riders from a bull if he becomes entangled in the rope).

I was working at a retail store during college and seemed to notice that every time I had a break or lunch meal, I would gravitate to a bench outside of Toni & Guy in the mall and was just so fascinated by the transformations – some instantly with a bang trim or length change… and it sort of just hooked me. Moreover, I loved that you could have a “project” if you will and within maybe 30-45 minutes, you would have a completed project – and could get instant gratification from that.

So, I left my job. I researched every single beauty school that would best suit my needs and financial situation, having even flown to different states to check out beauty schools. I found the most perfect schooling for me that would best set me up for success. That’s how I landed at Empire Beauty School in Arizona. The moment I started school, I CHOSE to be the best hair dresser that I could be. I made a commitment to myself to do everything and give every bit of my soul to achieve the visions and dreams that I placed on my board that first day of school.

IF : If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?

GP : And in true HAIR DRESSER fashion… I skipped all of the directions and started mixing my color!! I answered this in that last question – but I will add that I would of gone the way of TV Host of some sort (I LOVE the camera and people). Or Interior Design, that is more of a “Natural Talent”.

IF : What is your greatest strength?

GP : My greatest strength – I would say, is my attitude. I choose my attitude daily. I choose my attitude when faced with adversity, when afraid. Perhaps I choose my attitude when I am performing a task that isn’t a pleasurable one for me. I have the power to choose who I want to be and who I want others to see me as; and the attitude that I choose is a POSITIVE one.

I’m a pretty positive and encouraging person. There really isn’t room in my squad for attitude that is less than supportive, kind, loving and gracious.

IF : Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favorite?

GP : My relationship with Iles Formula began with my following of one of my #HAIRHERO: Wendy Iles herself. Her hairdressing aesthetic spoke to me very early on in my career, as the way she has managed a purely professional image, respected by the industry. Those attributes spoke to me and I gravitated towards following and emulating a lot of those traits.

Fast forward to 3 years ago, I was the lead hair stylist on Tim Gunns show on Lifetime TV, “Under The Gunn”. Heidi Klum was one of the guest judges for the finale. And I remember seeing Wendy styling her and I freaked out on the inside!

One year later, I was so graciously gifted the job with Sally Beauty as Lead Hair Stylist on Project Runway Season 14. Wendy was on set for almost every episode – styling Heidi of course… But it wasn’t until this past season that just aired – Season 15, that one day in the viewing room sitting next to Wendy, I mustered up the courage to share with her how proud of her I am for her product development and career. I told her how her career has guided mine and what a huge fan of her blog I am!

The next day, she walked into the Sally Beauty Hair Studio and handed out samples to our team… Needless to say, I used that night the Iles Formula Shampoo. I treated with the Conditioner – and styled with the Finishing Serum. And  I have refused to style hair without it since.

IF : New Hair trends: is there something happening with hair right now that is exciting you?

GP : There is something happening right now with hair trends that’s exciting me actually. TEXTURE. Whether it be embracing and wearing your natural texture or altering it physically and chemically: texture in all shapes, sizes, color and genre is being worn.

It’s so refreshing celebrating texture and tailoring cuts and color to really place the spotlight on it.

IF : What was your worst hair moment and why… privately or on set or in the salon?

GP : It’s pretty embarrassing to share this actually… Although it has been one of my greatest learning opportunities in my career behind the chair.

In beauty school, I had the safety and comfort of my directors being right near me. Whenever I needed guidance or approached anything that I was afraid of, they were there. I never realized then that once I completed my hours, they wouldn’t be walking out of the door with me and into my new salon.

I remember my first day on the floor. After apprenticing with two amazing mentors for quite some time – I had a guest in, that was looking for a full change. She had just completed a rehabilitation program and landed a great job. She had been growing and growing and growing out her hair and was looking for me to create a Pantene Commercial worthy do on her that day. Well, needless to say she left with a style reminiscent of Jennifer Aniston role on Friends as Rachel – when Mr Chris McMillian made that Rachel cut she must have cut.

I got nervous, overwhelmed by the amount of hair she had. Besides, I hadn’t mastered long hair cutting yet. Then I sectioned off her hair, stood in front of her. I remembered my “section angle accuracy”- followed my line. I cut – and all of her hair fell from her front hair line into her lap. SILENCE, followed by tears and ultimately sobbing ensued. I sectioned the wrong way, I didn’t stop to double check and I made a huge discovery that day. Her haircut was on me that day.

IF : If you could cut and color anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?

GP : If I could cut anyone’s hair it would be Miranda Lambert. Having grown up country and listening to country music my whole life, I would want that private time in the chair. Just me and Miranda. I would need to share with her what her songwriting has meant to me… Pulled me through, the courage and strength of her words… The sounds that remind me of home, that refuel my spirit and keep me charged and humbled… The sounds that remind me of where I came from and the humility of where I am in my career. Her style is always evolving (props to the amazing Johnny Lavoy). I’d love to just purely have the chance to “visit” with her and see a look I created perhaps grace a carpet… That would mean that I’ve “done all right” by my family.

IF : Where do you pull hair inspiration from?

GP : So many things really inspire me – from fashion, to every day folk, from Stockholm, to small town USA. For example, I could spend hours upon hours watching YouTube hair tutorials from everyday men and women styling their hair. I absolutely love watching one technique – performed by 827346 different YouTube vloggers on “How to get the look”. I love observing the simplicity of the approach. And I often laugh at myself thinking: ” Wow, you really over think this or that”. So I’d really have to say the everyday woman is my truest source of inspiration.

IF : Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?

GP : My advice to young hairdressers just starting out would be to BREATHE. There is so much to learn and we want it all right now. I always encourage the breathing in an early career… So that you really are able to absorb the information shared with you along the way by your mentors, both the good and the bad. All of that information is necessary. It will in many ways or another guide you and grace you throughout your career. The techniques will develop, the stage will be there, the education is always available… But you must not give up. You must not slack. You must not lose your drive to hustle and you must not run before you walk. Be present within your experiences and absorb all of the wisdom that is being shared with you. Oh and my personal career motto: #ALWAYSSAYYES.

Gregory with Tim Gunn from Project Runway, where Gregory is responsible for all models directional hair looks. Project Runway is one of America’s prime time TV shows with host Heidi Klum.

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Back stage with guest star Kelly Osbourne.
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 Adding the final touches for Project Runway.Iles-Formula-Hair-Talk-Gregory-Patterson

Thank you Gregory,

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