Meet Behind the Chair Hairstylist Award Winner, Vanessa Whitmarsh

Denver houses an abundance of amazingly talented and educated artists and creatives. Within that grouping of prestigious innovators, Vannesa Whitmarsh resides. Whitmarsh, Denver-base hair artist and AVEDA North American Artistic Team member, recently was awarded an immense honor from Behind the Chair with a One Shot Haircut Award for 2019. This being her second award from Behind the Chair, Whitmarsh also contributes her talents to nationwide projects, photoshoots and continued education. Here, Whitmarsh guided 303 Magazine through her creative process, background and spring hair trends. 


Vanessa Whitmarsh, Madison Silva, Hermela Solomon, Jamie Liu, Goldie Mae Productions, Cheyenne Dickerson, Cheyenne Dickerson stylist, 303 Magazine, Darkm0th, Denver designer, Denver fashion, Denver style, 303 fashion, Colorado fashion, Colorado hair, Colorado hairstylist, Denver hair, Denver hairstylist, Mary Willis

303 Magazine: You were recently awarded the 2019 North American Bigshot Haircut Award from Behind the Chair. Can you tell us how you got involved with Behind the Chair and what the award means to you?

Vanessa Whitmarsh: Behind the Chair has always been a source of inspiration for me, from their featured artists to their hair shows, so it was such an honor to be nominated and then win the Bigshot Haircut Award.

303: Known for its educational purposes, Behind the Chair is a major platform where hair artists can learn, study others and promote their work. How has being involved in that group helped in your career?

VW: Having been nominated several times with two wins has given me the opportunity to present on stage, work with amazing photographers, makeup artists, other hairstylists and has expanded my network and opened the door for new opportunities.

Vanessa Whitmarsh, Madison Silva, Hermela Solomon, Jamie Liu, Goldie Mae Productions, Cheyenne Dickerson, Cheyenne Dickerson stylist, 303 Magazine, Darkm0th, Denver designer, Denver fashion, Denver style, 303 fashion, Colorado fashion, Colorado hair, Colorado hairstylist, Denver hair, Denver hairstylist, Mary Willis

303: You are involved in the North American Artistic Styling Team for AVEDA. Can you describe what that team is like and what types of projects you do for them?

VW: Being a part of the North American Artistic Team for AVEDA allows me to participate in the creative process of bringing the brand’s vision to life. I get to work alongside an amazing team, educating all over the U.S., working backstage at hair shows, NYFW and work on collections for product launches.

303: Where do you find inspiration for your styling?

VW: I find inspiration all around me in art, architecture, fashion/runway, nature and my fellow hairdressers on social media.

Vanessa Whitmarsh, Madison Silva, Hermela Solomon, Jamie Liu, Goldie Mae Productions, Cheyenne Dickerson, Cheyenne Dickerson stylist, 303 Magazine, Darkm0th, Denver designer, Denver fashion, Denver style, 303 fashion, Colorado fashion, Colorado hair, Colorado hairstylist, Denver hair, Denver hairstylist, Mary Willis

303: Recently on Instagram you posted a highly colorful hairdo that you cut and styled. Do you prefer to work with bold color or more neutral tones when coloring hair?

VW: I think bold colors are fun to do and I love that they are becoming more of the norm, but I also love doing really beautiful blondes, brunettes and (of course) redheads.

303: What hair color will we start to see a lot of going into spring?

VW: You’ll see a lot of rosy-colored highlights for spring. I think textured bobs with a fringe are what everyone will be asking for in the salon. Hair that looks “undone” isn’t going anywhere.

Vanessa Whitmarsh, Madison Silva, Hermela Solomon, Jamie Liu, Goldie Mae Productions, Cheyenne Dickerson, Cheyenne Dickerson stylist, 303 Magazine, Darkm0th, Denver designer, Denver fashion, Denver style, 303 fashion, Colorado fashion, Colorado hair, Colorado hairstylist, Denver hair, Denver hairstylist, Mary Willis

303: How did you first get involved with being a hairstylist?

VW: I always played with my friends’ hair and even used to cut/color my own and one day my best friend was like, “Maybe you can do something with this?”  I thought “Why not?” And signed up at the AVEDA Institute in Houston and as soon as I started I was in love.

303: Can you describe a few of your favorite hairstyles and cuts?

VW: I love cutting a good bowl or shag and I love styling hair into big shapes and silhouettes. Honestly, I just truly enjoy getting my hands in hair, playing around and trying new things.

303: What is one item every person should have in their hair product collection?

VW: Dry shampoo! My favorite is the AVEDA Dry Shampoo. It goes on white so you can see where it’s applied and then it turns clear when you run through the hair with fingers or a brush, making it great for any hair color.

Vanessa Whitmarsh, Madison Silva, Hermela Solomon, Jamie Liu, Goldie Mae Productions, Cheyenne Dickerson, Cheyenne Dickerson stylist, 303 Magazine, Darkm0th, Denver designer, Denver fashion, Denver style, 303 fashion, Colorado fashion, Colorado hair, Colorado hairstylist, Denver hair, Denver hairstylist, Mary Willis

Photography by Madison McMullen

Models Madison Silva, Jamie Liu and Hermela Lemma

Models Liu and Soloman provided by Goldie Mae Productions

Hair by Vanessa Whitmarsh

Makeup by Mary Willis

Assisted by Ashleigh Perri

Clothing provided by Darkm0th Industry

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