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#MakingHairstory: NAHA Winner Cassie Carey on Uprooting Her Life to Pursue Her Passion

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With all of the COVID-19 related anxiety and uncertainty, The Tease is bringing you uplifting stories from women who are #MakingHairstory, #BakingBeauty and #DoingItForTheCultuHer. Learn how these influential women are breaking barriers, disrupting their industries and empowering others to do the same all month long.

New York based hairstylist, Cassie Carey is one to watch. As NAHA’s 2020 Newcomer Stylist of the Year, Carey’s editorial styling is unlike any other. She’s even lent her talent to NYFW. With accessories, colors, unique textures and cutting technique, Carey crafts some of the most intricate and fun looks in hair today. Carey may be “up-and-coming,” but her hairstyling is timeless.

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We had the opportunity to speak with Carey about her inspiration, and how hard work has paid off.

How did you get started in the salon professional industry?

I started my journey in the salon professional industry pretty early on as I took a vocational cosmetology program in high school. I was dead set on what I wanted to do and got exposed to many different avenues through that program.

How would you describe your relationship to hair?

My relationship with hair has changed over the years. My first love is with painting and drawing. I’m an artist to my core. I have never been the school type; I always would rather be in an art class just creating. Slowly, hair has become my medium of choice, and now I can’t stop.

Women are often discouraged from sharing their accomplishments, but we want to hear about them. List some of your career highlights. What are you most proud of?

I think it’s fair to say my biggest career highlight so far is my recent NAHA Newcomer of the Year award. This is the reason I moved to NYC; I saved every extra penny I had from the day I stepped foot in the city, just so I could shoot this. I poured everything I had into this collection, [and] it would have been my biggest highlight whether I won or not because I have never worked so hard for something.

What are the biggest challenges you have experienced within the industry and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge in my career so far has been picking up my whole life from my small town in NH [New Hampshire] and moving to NYC alone, not knowing a single soul here. This challenged me in ways I didn’t think possible, from financial situations to loneliness. I have been pushed to my limits, and as a result I have grown so much. The only way I could overcome this was keeping my goals at the forefront of every decision I have made. And lastly, by accepting the things I cannot change because life happens whether I like it or not. 

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?

Some of the biggest lessons I have learned so far are that oftentimes, things aren’t always what they seem. And being able to fend for yourself is one of the biggest assets you can carry—nothing will be handed to you.

Are there any women in the industry who inspire you or your work? If so, who?

I haven’t had the chance to meet any of these women yet, but I get very inspired by Efi Davies, Naeemah Lafond and Rosallie Asmar. Their work is amazing, and I think they are all absolute badasses. I’m excited to watch whatever they do! 

Do you have any words of wisdom for other women within the salon professional industry?

For my fellow women in this industry, I’d love to tell them to stop worrying about what other people think. Once you start making decisions unapologetically for yourself, your world will open up. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone because that’s the biggest way you will grow. And lastly, don’t let the thought of money hold you back; there’s so many ways to do the things you want to without spending a fortune. 

What’s next for you?

I can’t really say what’s next for me because I don’t know. I want to do everything; my plans always change. So, for now I’m taking it day by day and will be working on building up my portfolio and figuring out my next project.