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ITVA Interview: Silver Creative Artist of the Year 2020, Leandro Santos Santana, Ireland

Friday, 03 April 2020 09:04
Further to the announcements of the results of Wella Professionals' International TrendVision Awards, we are delighted to publish the first of three interviews with award winners from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Our second interview is with Silver Creative Artist of the Year 2020, Leandro Santos Santana from Ireland.
Over the years, Wella Professionals’ International TrendVision Awards have become one of the most coveted accolades in the hairdressing industry. Its winners often go on to become some of the most admired professionals in this craft. This year is no exception with six winners rising above thousands of entries to win a spot in the categories of International Color Artist and International Creative Artist, two of the most coveted ones amongst professional hairdressers. 
“Recent world events have hit so close to home for our cherished professional community, which is all about closeness and human-to-human connection,” said Sylvie Moreau, President Coty Professional Beauty. “I’ve seen the sense of unity and strength amongst hairdressers during this difficult time and knew that celebrating these winners was not only a well-deserved recognition of their amazing talent, but a source of positive news for us all,” she continued. “Leandro and the other winners represent the crème de la crème of stylists, having been selected from over 9,000 entries.”
In challenging times like these, displays of creative excellence are even more uplifting than ever. How does it feel to be an ITVA winner in such a special year as 2020?
Without a doubt it was one the best things that has happened in the last few weeks, with so much uncertainty in the world, to be recognised for my work, something I love to do, just brought me so much joy. 
The cancellation of the ITVA Creative Retreat in Seville has been a disappointment to everyone, what positive message of solidarity would you like to send out to the TrendVision family worldwide?
When the retreat was cancelled it was a big disappointment for all of us. We worked so hard and tirelessly throughout 2019, and suddenly it had been taken away from us, but if I could say something to all my Wella family it would be: remember this a moment to share, use this “career break” to grow creatively and to be stronger, be kind.
Explain something of your journey from first entering the TVAs in your home-country to being declared an International winner.
To be honest my journey started in 2012, when I competed for the first time. Since then I’ve competed seven times, and I was lucky enough to be a gold winner six times for two different countries. In 2019, I went through the regional and national finals, it was an intense period of training - hours and hours only thinking about TrendVision - the word dedication would’ve been an understatement! It has been a big part of my last 7 years, so giving up wasn’t an option for me. At the end of it, to be awarded as one of the winners is everything I could have asked for. 
Please tell us something about the creative inspiration behind your ITVA winning image?
My jumping off point to create my look was the amazing Shelley Duvall as “Olive Oyl” in the 1980 Popeye movie. What I love about her character is how kooky and fashion forward it looked to me. With my look I wanted to create a sort of contradiction between past and future, eccentric and romantic. The idea behind the hair styling was to have this ‘wiggy’ feeling, almost as if she had done it herself. Gucci 2017 was my main fashion inspiration, the edginess and opulence of it was just perfect for my vision. 
What do you love the most about Wella Professionals hair colour?
There’s nothing like the Wella colours out there. What I like the most about it is how true to tones shades are, the shine is incredible, which makes our crazy creative minds fly. 
What is your specialty when it comes to hair?
Colouring is something that I’ve spent a lot of my career perfecting, but I honestly love any aspect of hairdressing.
What is your favourite hair technique at the moment? Why?
At the moment I would have to say free-hand technique, just because how organic and tailored the end result looks. It’s almost like a piece of art for every client. 
How important is hair education for you? What seminar/course changed your career?
In my opinion Hairdressing is lifetime learning. As a hairdresser education is everything, our career is changing daily, and the only way to stay on top and also motivated is by educating ourselves.  One of the best courses I’ve attended is the Wella MCE (Master Colour Expert Program) which helped me to understand all aspects of colour - just mind blowing! 
As a hairdresser, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t ever be a lazy hairdresser! Definitely it’s something that have carried with me ever since and has helped me to push further and further. When I feel tired or discouraged I always have that voice in my mind telling me: don’t be lazy, you can so much more. 
Looking to the future and a time when the world returns to normality, how do you see you career as a hairdresser/colourist evolving further as a result of being an ITVA winner?
This is a great platform for me. My TrendVision journey has been unimaginable it has taught me so many things about myself and others. I hope I can share my experience through education, presentations, photoshoots etc. I can’t wait for it!

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