Here at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, we are continuously striving to be the best. Ranked #1 in golf & spa by respective industry leaders, GOLF Magazine and Spa Magazine, the buck didn’t stop there. This dedication to success motivated two highly talented hair & makeup stylists, and their team from The Salon at La Costa to compete on a national level.
Steven McLaughlin and Lora Farrell recently competed in Eufora’s 6th Annual Stylist of the Year Competition (SOYA). A global showcasing of talent from stylists across North America, the SOYA awards bring the best of the best in the beauty industry together, highlighting categories including:
- Contemporary Classics
- Men’s Trend
- Team Collaboration
- New Talent
Today, we catch up with Steven, a licensed expert in hair cuts, colors, highlights and up-dos, for a little SOYA Q&A.
Which category did you compete in?
Steven: Men’s Trend – we were asked to create three looks for men
How many contestants were there in the Men’s Trend Category?
Steven: We weren’t provided with a final count, but I believe it was somewhere between 75-100 contestants per category.
How did you select which category to compete?
Steven: This category picked me. I’m part of the Eufora Men’s Hero Barbering Team, and a friend of mine at Eufora suggested I participate.
What was your inspiration for your models’ looks?
Steven: Honestly, I styled and shot them in their element. I’ve gotten to know each one of them over the years – they’re clients of mine or family members of our Club at La Costa members, so it made it really seamless creating looks that fit their lifestyle. It was actually pretty funny – when I was first asked to participate, I had a dream where I had already selected models with a look in mind, so I knew exactly who to ask to model for me – they’re all good looking cats.
Jonathan is more clean cut, very dapper and I wanted to showcase that confidence in his look.
Harrison is more of a free spirit, a drifter… a “bad boy” if you will.
Michael is a Navy seal-turned-zen-yogi, an awesome dude I’ve grown close with over the years.
What did you do in preparation for the actual photo shoot?
Steven: After selecting my models and deciding to use their existing style and highlight their personal characteristics, I selected a photographer. I knew I needed someone that understood my vision, and luckily, the photographer I enlisted was the same guy that photographed model, Michael’s wedding earlier this year. So, he knew my style, and also the qualities of one of my models.
I worked with the models in advance to the photo shoot, explaining their looks and asked that they bring their own wardrobe. It’s best if they’re comfortable, and what’s more comfortable than your own existing style?
Prepping only took 2 hours and 15 minutes, we began the photo shoot at 12:15, and were done by 1pm.
What Eufora products helped in your creation?
Steven: All the products I used were from Eufora’s Mens Line, HERO. For all looks, I used Eufora Illuminate Shine Mist, Elevate hair spray, combs and Fixation styling wax (for emergencies). I was sure to use products that would fit the end look I was going for. For example, I sprayed Eufora Illuminate Shine Mist, knowing the type of lighting I was working with for Michael’s photos – I wanted to show the definition in his muscles, the texture in his hair and the color in his tattoos. I avoided using any makeup with all my models, as I was working toward a more “raw” look.
Were you inspired by any particular looks you saw at the Eufora Stylist of the Year Awards event?
Steven: During the actual event, only the top three nominations of each category were shown, and yes, I was very impressed with the looks the finalists created in my category. With that said, stylistically, the looks were cool, but personally, they didn’t seem realistically wearable in average man’s day-to-day life. Here at The Salon at La Costa, we create styles that fit our clients’ lifestyle and personality. We want them to not only walk away feeling like they look great, but also not overwhelmed to recreate the look on their own. In my creations, I was working towards styles that the models could walk around representing both the Salon and my own potential.
Will you compete again?
Steven: Of course! Any way to get our work out there and practice my trade, I’m in!
*Photography by Sam Blumberg. Click here to see more work from ThePhotoSam.