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How To Become Contestant On Shear Genius


Janine Jarman Shear Genius Season 3 First Runner Up Fan Favorite

I met Shear Genius 3 (SG3) first runner up Janine Jarman right after she had opened her fab Hairroin Salon in West Hollywood.

Janine and I chatted by phone about her start in the hair trade, her original mentor (Michael O'Rourke) and her celebrity clients including the famous Pussycat Dolls.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I discovered Janine had beat out 5,000 Shear Genius hopefuls for a spot in the original 12 contestants.

Janine was under strict confidentiality about the show and couldn't tell me much along the way, but she did keep me in the loop. A few weeks after the unforgettable celebrity hairdresser finished as the first runner up I stopped by her Hairroin Salon to get some post-show sentiments.

Janine told me if she had it to do all over again, even with all she went through and what she knew post show, she would have tried out for Shear Genius again.

For Janine it was a chance to show her stuff and to demonstrate to the dedicated hairdressers who work for her at Hairroin her own commitment to the hair trade and to them. Afterall, Janine's run for the Shear Genius crown helped to put Hairroin on the map.

How To Win A Spot As A Contestant On The Show

Bravo Shear Genius Season 3 12 Contestants With Hostess Camilla Alves (center in yellow) and celebrity judges (Orlando Pita, Kim Vo, Jonathan Antin)

There no surefire way to guarantee any hairdresser a spot on the popular reality TV Show. However, based on some feedback from Janine and some of the other contestants and the various judges over the course of the three seasons there are some ways to have an advantage.

Listed below are some of the tips, tricks and techniques that various contestants and judges have shared about making it to the initial twelve contestants.

1. Have total confidence in your work. The Bravo/TV producers wants hairdressers who can perform well under pressure and stand behind their work. A lack of confidence would be an immediate disadvantage on a number of levels.

2. Be prepared to showcase your work. If you're going to try out for the show build the very best portfolio you can with updated hairstyles on contemporary models who are attractive.

3. Do you homework. Watch all the past seasons of Shear Genius to get an idea of the type of hair work the judges liked and make sure to include similar photos to show during your tryout.

4. Be yourself. Janine Jarman had major attitude on SG3. Afterall, she's an Aries and her motto is "love me or hate me, but you'll never forget me." While Janine didn't ultimately win, she did capture the Fan Favorite award and even though her hair work was amazing, she definitely stirred up some controversy.

Celebrity Haircolorist & Shear Genius 2 & 3 Judge Kim Vo

5. Have a strong hair industry mentor. From the beginning of her career Janine has worked with some of the top names in the hair world. Her very first mentor was the renowned hairdresser Michael O'Rourke. You couldn't ask for a better mentor right out the gate in the hair world.

Many of the contestants over the three seasons have been mentored by the top names in the hair world. Obviously it helps to know the right people in the industry to build a successful career which lends itself to catching the attention of the Bravo/TV producers.

6. Enter hair competitions similar to NAHA. Many of the Shear Genius contestants have entered a range of national and International competitions. Not only have they won in their categories, they've made a name for themselves in their industry.

Having a background competing in hair competitions will provide a definite edge. Why? All of the Shear Genius seasons involve work with high fashion photographers and on-set photo shoots. A contestant with no experience working with photo shoots would generally be at a major disadvantage against the others.

7. Develop camera presence, personality and flair. Hairdressers know how to showcase their artistic sides. Amp your own unique creative style up as many notches possible while keeping within the parameters of your own comfort zone.

Remember that Janine Jarman recommends being true to yourself. Obviously if you're uncomfortable with wearing rollers skates while you do hair or rocking pink and blue dreads, it's not the way to go to show off your artistic element.

Frederic Fekkai Shear Genius Season 2 Celebrity Hairstylist & Judge

8. Have great hair. It's always surprising to me how many hairdressers don't look the part. One of the first things I learned in cosmetology school was the importance of having my own hair, make-up and fashions put together.

Obviously Bravo/TV producers, along with the fans at home, want contestants who know how to rock their own tresses. Can you honestly remember any of the SG contestants over the past three seasons with bad hair?

9. Remember that while Shear Genius is truly a hair competition, it's also equal parts entertainment, drama and ratings generator. Shear Genius producers have to walk a fine line between selecting hairdressers with the right street cred, the experience levels, the talent and the ability to stay cool under pressure but also be fun, interesting and engaging.

10. Before you even send in your application do some serious soul searching. Then write an essay of what you have to offer as a potential Shear Genius contestant. Seriously, be honest. Then ask your friends and co-workers if they agree with your assessment.

11. Try to determine what specific skill sets the SG producers are looking for in advance. For Season 3 the Shear Genius contestants were all either celebrity hairdressers with impressive list of celebrity clients, owned their own salon (s) or both. Many have been winners or finalists at the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA).

Celebrity Haircolorist & Shear Genius 2 Judge Sally Herschberger

Future Seasons of Shear Genius might focus on other unique qualifications. Try to find out what the desired selection criteria is beforehand so you can highlight your credentials in those areas.

12. Network. If you're acquainted with any of the SG contestants or judges from the three seasons be sure to chat them up. While they might not be able to tell you much due to confidentiality constraints, they can definitely give you some general pointers or provide insight into their own experiences with the show.

13. Stay Connected. It's always important to stay connected to other hair professionals. Modern Salon is a great place to get great information about upcoming competitions or other hair events which can help you prepare for applying to be on a show like Shear Genius.

14. Get a great hat. One of the most utilized accessories on Shear Genius 3 was a fedora. Many of the contestants wore a wide range of hats during the competitions. It added a special twist.

You can never go wrong with a great hat. But make sure it's really a great hat and not something you found at the bottom of your closet from high school.


Celebrity Haircolorist & Shear Genius 2 Judge Garren

While it's always possible for some unknown novice hairdresser to appear out of nowhere and have what it takes to win Shear Genius, it's more likely that the producers will be looking for a very specific set of talents, experiences and industry knowledge.

Of course the Shear Genius producers also have to put together an entertaining show which draws ratings and fan approval.

If it's your dream to win a spot in the next Shear Genius competition do your homework, make a plan for success and then follow your dreams.

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- Revised Date: 10/24/10

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