We chatted with born-and-raise Floridian Fiorella Castro, a hairstylist, #GlossBoss and Modern Salon 100 artist! We got to know more about her journey to becoming a successful hairstylist. This Q&A is loaded with advice on how to get noticed in our industry and tips you can do now to make Modern Salon 100yourself!
I became a hairstylist in 2008 after the market crash. I was looking into what sustainable industries there were and my friends were telling me to go to hair school. After going to hair school I ended up moving across the state and found a salon that was departmentalized so I actually started specializing in only cuts. That’s where during our Bootcamp training, they wanted us to learn things l-styles and my trainer was just amazing! She really taught us how to dissect updo’s and be able to approach them without being scared so I think that’s where my passion for doing weddings came into play.
You’re giving me goosies! That whole moment when I wrote that, it was the year my dad died, I was in between a breakup, was still living with my ex and I had just started the lease to my studio. I remember thinking “oh my god, I don’t know what I’m going to be able to afford, I don know what’s going to happen.” So my sister who is a very manifest-destiny person told me to write down what I want. So I wrote that down and I think its one of those things that if you write things down, get it into your head and if you want to do it you’ll start taking the actions to make things happen.
I went out to dinner with my good friend and was crying to her about my ex and she kicked me in the butt and told me “girl I love you but you have a business to run — you don’t have time for this!” From there, she said, “let’s make flyers, let’s do this, let’s do that!” The salon I used to work for had a lot of business building instilled in me so I used what I knew and ran with it. I know what I do well and that’s working so I took that to be my safe haven and it’s what’s worked really well!
I think the coolest thing about doing hair is seeing how excited they are about their hair when they leave. They are so animated and I love seeing the glitter in their eyes. It’s a feel-good thing!
Celebrity Artist, Justine Marjan! I am completely obsessed with her and she is such a badass! I love that she shares her journey, and everything she does and you can just tell how humble she is. I DM her even when she had a smaller following and now she has a larger following —she’s always been responsive and I love that she’s so interactive with her community regardless of how busy she is.
And also my really good friend, Jessica Domoney. I worked with her 10 years ago in a salon while I was in hair school and she has grown so much and I have seen her creativity just fly. She took me under her wing and I look up to her so much. She’s always just been a mama bear to me in the industry!
So my role behind the chair, especially in my salon suite - I don’t double book. I feel like provide a really cool calm collected home-y experience when I’m with my guests in the studio. I have my coffee machine, magazines, they can bring their kindles, they can relax whereas the day of the wedding it’s insanity. All of my friends and family are there, and everyone’s popping bottles, so my job is to keep everyone level and on time. So in that role I feel more of a director and guiding everyone where to go. They’re similar in the sense that I have to keep everything calm but in a wedding situation, I’m making sure to keep emotions high. I always make sure to bring a portable speaker when I do weddings so they can play music if they want and keep everyone’s energy high.
So Emily and I have been doing makeup and hair together for 6 years. She’s my other half as the MUA in the wedding world and we work together so well. Whenever I had a bride inquire with me I always tell them if you love me, you’re going to love her. We both wanted to do more content for Instagram but she was a little shy to do her own stuff so we decided to do something together, Wedding Wednesday! At first it was super scary and thought no one was going to watch but every now and then we were getting great feedback and realized okay -- we have to keep going on here!
It’s not about getting featured. Just do the work and do it because you love it. Don’t do it with the intention of getting featured. Create because you want to create. When you do it that way, it ends up looking better because you’re doing it for the love of what you’re doing and not just to be shown off. Also, be social. If you want engagement, you also have to engage. If you want your community to be interactive, you have to interact with them too.
Also, take advantage of all the features Instagram has, especially with videos. The one important thing to remember is that what no one else will ever have is you so everyone may be doing the same look but the only thing that’s going to set you apart is you. So put yourself in front of the camera — that’s going to be the extra special sauce that no one else can give.
“The one important thing to remember is that what no one else will every have is you.” - Fiorella Castro
I recently switched to the Sony a5100 camera and love it because you can easily transfer photos to your phone. I do have a ring light but I love natural light. It shows the color so much better and there’s not a lot of editing that needs to be done. Always centering your model is super important and don’t be afraid to go in on your day off to create. If you have a look or someone’s hair that you want to photograph — ask them to come in and let them know you’ll do their hair, and they’ll eat it up!
So that’s one thing that recently I’ve been very focused on. You have to niche down, that’s important and you have to find what your thing is and focus on that. The reality is whatever you put out is what you’re going to get back. So if you put out brides and brides and brides — you’ll get brides back. If you put balayage out —you’ll get balayage back. So if that’s what you want to do then that’s what you have to focus on. This is how you become a specialist in the industry. It’s all about understanding who you are as an artist and what you want to come back is what you have to put out.
It’s very much an “it’s possible” thing. We kind of get into our heads and tell ourselves that we’re crazy, we’re not good enough, you don’t have enough followers, we don’t have the endorsements but everyone started somewhere. That’s my reminder. Everyone’s started somewhere, everyone had their rock bottom or rough beginning so we all started somewhere and keep our eyes on the prize.
Go to Modern Salon’s page and see what the work looks like and see what you need to refine. Someone once said, “In a world of white walls and ring lights, how are you going to stand out?” Figure out what your thing is that’s going to make you stand out and perfect it. Also, be interactive with them. Send them photos, ask them for feedback on your photos, engage with their page and get yourself noticed!
GlossGenius aesthetically has been progressive in understanding our industry and understanding that we’re a visual industry. When I started, I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t want to write appointments down and didn’t want to take phone calls. When I first started using GlossGenius I just thought it was so amazing and it’s so true for someone who independent. When I’m doing a foil or with a client, it’s so nice to be able to go home and approve appointments on my time and it makes my life so much easier.
And I think what’s so cool about GlossGenius is that you guys are so interactive with your community. I love being a part of it and I love that you guys do reach out and listen and that’s so important in our industry with everything changing so quickly. The more our industry changes, the more you guys are listening and I just think that’s really cool.
Thank you, Fiorella, for your time, and Congratulations again on making Modern Salon 100. We are so proud to have you as #GlossBoss and are so excited for even more success for you in the future!
Stay updated with Fiorella on her Instagram, @fiorellacastrohairand make sure to tune in bi-weekly to her IGTV for Wedding Wednesdays with Emily Rivera!
No credit card required.