As Sal Mauceri stepped on stage, you immediately knew it was coming… felt the lump in your throat grow and the tears begin to well up in your eyes. Months had led us to this point. Months of disbelief, conversations with friends about the good times, hours spent rereading the blogs he wrote for The Hair Nerds, a memorial just a few weeks before… and here we were now all together in a dark ballroom confronted by Fabio’s bright smile and laugh.

Every time I sit down to write something, put these feelings into words somehow… it felt inadequate. There are no words to describe Fabio Sementilli and the immense loss we as an industry feel. So in the darkness of Mandalay Bay we cried and released months of emotion. Not a sophisticated misty, dab the corners of your eyes, but a full out ugly cry. An acknowledgement of a man who was kind to us when there was nothing in it for him. A man who made it a point to tell people we had something to say. Fabio helped give us a voice.

As we are days away from TrendVision, the birthplace of The Hair Nerds, and an event we have been agonizing over since that fateful day in January, I am reminded of a phone conversation we had many years ago. I was writing an article about a brand new competition called the RAW awards. I was still working at a hair school and Fab called me during my lunch even though his schedule was FAR busier than mine. We discussed the competition and why he was excited but then he said something to me that I will carry forever. He mentioned his motto for the year was “Enter or Mentor” and explained that if you weren’t growing or helping others grow you were missing the point.

We have taken that with us over the years. We are constantly asking ourselves, what are we doing to help others grow. That is really the essence of Fabio, isn’t it? Doing everything in his power to mentor and grow this industry.

When things feel particularly sad, we turn to Fabio’s answer to what he was up to right before NAHA a few years ago.

24 hrs a day/7 days a week I am living my dream…head over heels with my family, my job and the people around me everyday. -Fabio Sementilli