Can you handle models passing out, thinking on the spot and doing an avant-garde show just because? This week, we speak with Woody and Amy Michleb, platform artists for P&G, on how they got to where they are–and how you can get there too!
1. Think on Your Feet
Amy: I think you can have the perfect ingredients and plan what you want to project on-stage but things come up unexpectedly in show business. At the end of the day, you have to be very spontaneous. Once, a model passed out when she walked down the steps, so now one model was missing and the next one isn’t ready.
Woody: Even if you convince models to cut and colour the hair, they come the day of the show changing their mind. I always want to make that model happy because a big smile is always going to attract more audience than someone who’s miserable. I’d rather sacrifice the looks I was trying to create if it means the energy and smile of that model will reflect more on-stage.
2. Know and Adapt to Your Audience
Amy: When you’re a platform artist, you want to be able to relate to the audience, and in order to do that, you need to know what kind of audience you have. You want to be able to trigger your audience. Touching the hair triggers some people; some people are look-and-learn; some want a categorical breakdown and want to know the ins-and-outs. You have to know how to change the performance around to engage them, and that way it will work with them.
3. Relate On-Stage Inspiration Back to the Salon
Amy: When hairstylists go to a hair show, they want to see things that will inspire their clients. But you’ve got to be able to make it relatable so they can transfer it into the salon. Even when we go to avant-garde shows, you’ll see that the show starts with softer, editorial work, and escalate to an edgier finale with an avant-garde feel, just for the fun and inspiration of it.
4. Take Opportunities to Better Yourself
Woody: One of our stylists wanted to become an educator. After he took our class, we suggested he present at the ABA. And he said, “Are they going to pay me $1,000 per day?” Most hairstylists do it because they have a passion for it. I said to him, “You better have the experience for that kind of pay, because you’re asking for more than the experience you can offer.” He said, “Yeah, but I invested a lot into this.” You take what you learn to the grave, that’s what I always say. So what you need to do is keep learning, understanding. You need to better yourself, then people will start calling for bigger jobs.
Amy: When Woody was working with Farouk, Farouk asked if he would do the avant-garde show, even though it’s out of the budget. And if he didn’t do that, we never would have met.
Woody: I said that I’d be happy to come. I’ve never done this show before, so why not? It’s the opportunity and that’s really the attitude you should have as a platform artist, especially when you’re starting out—because it’s a passion. And money will come. You’ll be able to demand higher prices then.
Woody and Amy are putting together educational classes on platform artistry work, such as how to present on stage, how to put ideas together, how to capture your audience, and more. Classes are set to commence at the end of the year. Make contact at woodymichleb.com for more details.
Photo: Larry Oskin