Behind the Scenes

My team and I produced an event in collaboration with mega beauty brand Nexxus and Bravo’s ever-popular salon reality series Shear Genius. Editors from over 50 beauty magazines and publications were invited to a meet-and-greet with Shear Genius judge Kevin Mancuso [Creative Director of Nexxus Salon Hair Care] and contestant Matthew Morris. The event also celebrated Matthew’s recent win in the Nexxus “Headshot Challenge”, where he successfully created two very different headshot looks for his model.

I created a very distinct salon station, along with a viewing lounge and photographer’s studio for our client.

I got the chance to sit down with Brandy Ruff, Director of Communication for Nexxus’ parent company, Alberto Culver. She gave me an inside look into what it took to prepare for this viewing party, as well as her reaction to the success of the Nexxus and Shear Genius partnership.

Mark: Hi Brandy, thanks so much for taking time out to talk with me.

Brandy: Of course, you know I always enjoy your company.

M: What was your objective in creating a viewing party like this for the Nexxus brand and Shear Genius show?

B: We constructed the event like this so the editors could meet and get a chance to see the show. They also had the opportunity to meet the judges, as well a contestant from the show. We wanted to celebrate Matthew’s wins and show Kevin’s [Mancuso] work as guest judge on the show. We wanted the editors to get a chance to get their hair and makeup done. They each received a new photo that they can use for fun on their Facebook page or use as their new headshot for work.

M: You are a sponsor of Shear Genius. How long have you been involved with the show?

B: We have been involved with Bravo and Shear Genius since it began. We have a great relationship with both brands. This is actually not the first time we have done a viewing party; we’ve actually done a number of viewing parties for finales but we wanted to give a bit of flavor in the middle of the season to make sure people are coming back for more.

M: What makes this viewing party different?

B: Because this one is tied to our challenge, this viewing party is a “day after” event rather than a premiere so it stands a bit more casual. Today gives the editors a chance to be a little more interactive; they’re no longer in their seats, they get to play along with the brand.

M: I see you got your hair done today. It’s looks beautiful.

B: Yes, I most certainly did. Just one of the perks of the job… [laughs].

M: We also have one of the contestant winners here. Tell us about him.

B: Yes, we have our contestant Matthew from Denver, CO. He is the winner of my headshot challenge. He did a phenomenal job with his model/actress, who is a television presenter. She wanted ot show her romantic side and her rocker side. He had to bring that forth through styling her hair, as well as in the photoshoot. That’s exactly what’s happening here today: as editors finish in hair and makeup, they go to the photographer where their stylist will work on getting a great picture!

M: That’s great. I love that you got the editors so involved. The show has wrapped as of today, correct?

B: Yes, it is officially done.

M: Can you give us any inside scoop on the winner? How does Matthew fare in the competition?

B: Well, we are currently on episode 6, which means Matthew has made it more than halfway through this season. I can say that he has a very bright future ahead of him. I can’t disclose whether he wins or loses.

M: So we can’t get any inside scoop if Matthew wins?

[Laughs]… you’ll have to ask him.

M: In terms of choosing the location and team you worked with, what was the process in making those choices?

We wanted to make sure we had an intimate setting and somewhere that was unique. The space is absolutely gorgeous. The editors are loving the wide views of Central Park. It stills feels manageable and remains a relaxing event.

M: The editors had the choice to come in three different block times. Why not have the editors come all at once?

B: We wanted to have flexibility and having three time blocks allows each of the editors to reserve a space depending on their schedule. We wanted it to be laid-back and feel less like a hectic salon.

M: If you had to do this again, what would you do differently?

B: I wouldn’t change much at all! It’s been so great because it feels like you’re backstage at a photo shoot, which is a unique angle on a “salon” scene. It’s been such a success and everyone is having so much fun. I would definitely do this event again.

M: Thank you Brandy. It was a pleasure talking to you.

B: Thanks Mark!


I also sat down with Matthew Morris, contestant on Shear Genius and challenge winner to get his inspiration behind the winning looks, as well as find out the scoop about his time on the show.

Mark: What was your experience like being on Shear Genuis and working with Nexxus?

Matthew Morris: It was amazing. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would encourage anyone that has the opportunity to do something like this to do it. Don’t say you can’t do it because you’ll have regrets if you don’t take that opportunity.

M: Congratulations on winning the headshot challenge. Tell us a little about the look you created for your model.

MM: The first look she wanted was super simple and an approachably beautiful look. This headshot would work for anything, for acting for modeling for anything she wanted to do. She was looking to some soap opera and television hosting, so she wanted a beautiful shiny look. The second look, she wanted a rocker chic look that she could use as a headshot if she wanted to host a video show or a music awards show. We did something with a flatiron that would look edgy

M: The images turned out so great. Thanks for your time and congratulations again on winning this challenge!