Cassie Harwood is a style director at Salon Ruggeri NYC on East 37th educator for Aussie hair product range evo, which launched in the U.S. in 2011 and is available at B_Space. Hailing from Adelaide, Harwood, 27, spent a decade working at Hair Machine, the best salon in the city of churches before relocating to New York two years ago. Billabout’s Pete Maiden chatted with Harwood about her career at the midtown salon, and tested her skills the old-fashioned way: he got a haircut.
“It was great, I loved it, and I learnt a lot and traveled a lot but it was time for a change,” Harwood said of leaving her job in Adelaide after 10 years in the one workplace. “And Adelaide, as you know, is a small place. I was about six when I decided I wanted to be a hair stylist, I told my Mum that was what I was going to do and I just never changed my mind. I always liked hair. I had a few aunties who were hairdressers but one in particular, she always looked good, she always had nice hair!” Harwood’s career began when she was 13, sweeping and washing hair in a salon on Thursday nights and weekends to make sure she enjoyed the job. “When I was 15 I asked my Mum if I could leave school and be a hairdresser, and she said as long as I had a job before I left school, so I found the best salon in Adelaide and interviewed and got a job. 12 years later I’m still doing it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Harwood recently shot her first U.S. hair photography competition, and says that from a career-perspective, the opportunities for a hair stylist in New York are endless. “In two years, even in the first six months here, I did more work and have met more people than I did in ten years in Australia,” she said. “But from a technical point of view, we are so much more advanced in Australia. Our training is exceptional; we study for a four-year apprenticeship whereas here it’s a six-month course. The level of work in Australia is incredible, therefore being Australian here is great because we are miles ahead.”
Style-wise, Harwood said Americans are definitely a lot more conservative when it comes to their tresses, but the coolest hairstyles are on the streets of London. “From a street perspective, London always has the best street culture and style. People cut their own hair and just do their own, super cool thing,” she said. “I’m forever looking everywhere for inspiration. I think with our generation, people are so much more expressive with how they look; they’re not so mainstream. Men don’t look one way and women another, so it’s great that you can have that creativity.”
Harwood’s favorite evo products:
Evo Haze Styling Powder. “It’s a volumizing powder that’s great for guys and girls, for anyone who wants more volume in their hair.”
Evo Water Killer Dry Shampoo. “Dry shampoo is one of my favorites, it’s so you don’t have to wash your hair. You don’t have to shower as often!”