NAHA 2013 is right around the corner! I caught up with my favorite quirky eccentric nominee this year… Lizz Knaphus. I knew I was going to meet a fun, energetic, & whimsical stylist… while she is filled with all those traits, I also discovered an extremely likable & charming young woman that is ready to make a huge mark in our industry! Behind her fashionable glasses, I see a big future for her! Check out how it all went down…

Congrats Lizz! #NAHA is a big deal! Before we get to chatting on that though, let’s talk about how you got your start in this business. I’m sure you are ready to get out of school since your career just got a major kick-start!

As of this interview I have 250 hours left of school still, give or take a few!  How I got started in school is I cut, colored, permed my families hair ever since I was too young to know better (sorry little nephew for the “haircut” when I was nine).
When I got older and graduated from the#UniversityofUtah with a degree I wasn’t interested in anymore, I became a professional secretary. Yay!… Not… So I decided to ask around and get my friends and families opinion about where they saw me in the career field.
Many saw me in academics, getting my masters in speech pathology, or getting a different major in something fun like astrophysics, but the idea of going back to school for that long, and with that price-tag, made me consider my options. Meanwhile a few friends had gone to cosmetology school, graduated, and were having fun careers in salons and I was still an indecisive secretary.
It wasn’t until my friend, Jon Kimble, told me to check out #TaylorAndrewsAcademy (TA) that I really considered a career in hair. And the rest, as they say, is history! I absolutely love it, and I can be my quirky, talkative self!

Aside from the NAHA announcement, what has been the biggest opportunity for you in hair so far?

Yeah, NAHA 2013 nominees was a pretty big boost to my opportunity list. I was floored and speechless! Besides that milestone, I can say having the opportunity to take a class from Phillip Wilson was quite the game changer. At TA we are given some pretty amazing opportunities to work with the cream of the crop. I took a class from Nicholas French my second week at TA. Mind blowing stuff for a girl still learning what a Denman was.

Do you have an OMG moment you can share?

Before I shot my NAHA collection, I was trying to find inspiration anywhere I could. One day a little bird told me that the #Teals would be in town shooting DeAnnalyn’s haircolor collection. I surprised them and showed up ready to work the morning before their shoot and offered whatever assistance I could.
They took me under their wing, allowing me to learn the way they worked on set, and the way they treated the fabric of hair. Not only were they some of the sweetest folks, but super talented.  As I was assisting them, holding the reflector for DeAnnalyn, I totally had an, OMG moment… I am totally holding the reflector while DeAnnalyn shapes hair inches from my face! OMG Becky!

Hysterical! LOL…

I also had one when I drenched, and I mean DRENCHED, an elderly client of mine… But we don’t need to talk about that here…

So, tell me the inspiration for your collection…

My collection is called “Graffiti in the Woods.” It was literally inspired by finding graffiti in the woods. As off putting as it can be to find bright colors and wheat paste flung on an old oak tree, there is also something beautiful about it. Taking something so organic and enhancing its personality with color and art.
My girls, while each unique and diverse, also have their own powerful beauty that is undeniable, which, I hope, is reflected in their hair.

ABOLUTELY AMAZING! Well my favorite question to ask is PLEASE let us relive “that moment” with you! Give us a vivid description of the moment your name came on the screen as “nominated.”

First of all, I never expected to get nominated. The opportunity to shoot with #KeithBryce and have #SherriCurtis do my makeup was all I needed to be complete.
So, April 30… All 160 students and staff from TA piled into the theater room to watch the YouTube nomination video. We had several hopefuls between students and instructors, so each category was spent on the edge of our seats. I just remember feeling nervous, while trying to keep my cool.
As the categories came and went it felt like a centuries; finally, Student Hairstylist of the Year. I waited with baited breath as I watched the first two collections flash cross the screen. Music change and I saw my three girls pop on the screen, I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t until I actually read my name that it hit me.
Me and 160 other people. Everyone cheered an hollered, and hugged and congratulated. I just remember covering my mouth like a pageant girl, and standing up and sitting down a few times.

Awww, I’m seriously teary eyed…

When the room died down I remember crying and smiling to myself. All those hours assisting, and all the collections I was a part of helped me get to this point. It was an amazing, life changing 3 seconds.

#NerdStalk …Hair Hero?

Oh man… There are so many. Of course, #Vidal. What an amazing human. I wish I could have had tea with him. I bet he was a two lumps kinda guy… I also admire Anthony Mascolo, Sam Villa, Dimitrios Tsioumas… There are just so many amazing hair people out in the world, it’s really hard to make a list. My favorite daily inspirations are my clients, as cheesy as a cheese ball, but it’s true.

Sounds like you have it all worked out & you are ready to conquer the #HairPlanet …what does Lizz do when she’s not doing hair?

I acquired a terrible taste for travel. I just got back from Tokyo, and I’m planning my next trip to Paris in September. I’ve been all over the world, and hope I never have to stop. It’s quite the expensive habit, but it’s something I’m unwilling to part with. When I’m not traveling I’m usually doing to same ol. I go on little hikes with the fiancé, or take in a pint while enjoying the city by bicycle. To be honest, PBS Newshour also drains quite a bit of my time after school. I’m a bit of an economic junkie.

You’re the perfect #NerdStalkingVictim because I LOVE PBS & every odd program they play! LOL! Thanks for sitting down with us! Any words to live by in this business?

I’m sure there is a right answer to this… Something like, always keep learning! Be the perpetual student! Or, shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars! But so far for me, the words I mantra are, be kind, be honest, stay humble, and don’t forget to smile… or floss, cause no one wants to see what you had for lunch.