Seven-time NAHA winner and Redken Master Artist, Ruth Roche has traveled the world sharing her vast experience and knowledge with hairdressers. Known for her versatility, from cutting-edge looks to low-maintenance chic, Ruth has worn many hats: NYC salon owner, editorial stylist, top educator, and celebrity stylist.
Today I get to sit down with Ruth and talk and laugh with her as we share her hair journey.
- Ruth shares how, and the age of just 22, she applied and was chosen to be on Trevor Sorbie’s team
- ‘Connect to the audience by becoming one of them instead of talking at them’
- Learn how Ruth overcame Imposter Syndrome with humour
- Ruth shares how she wishes all hairdressers pursued learning all the way throughout their career
- Ruth shares the most difficult time in her life
- What Ruth would do if she could not do hair anymore?
Chris Baran 0:00
How great would it be to get up close and personal with the beauty industry heroes? We love and admire and to ask them how did you learn to do what you do? I’m Chris Barran, a hairstylist and educator for 40 plus years, and I’m inviting all our heroes to chat and share the secrets of their success
Hey, check this out my friends. This week’s guest is been an artistic director with a couple of different companies multi NAHA winner. She’s an admin and editorial stylist and catch this one. I love this celebrity stylist to Mariah Carey, Lindsay Lohan, Sheryl Crow, Claire Danes, Gina Davis, just to name a few. She’s shot with one of the most famous photographers that I can even think of Annie Liebowitz. She has been on the runway and done New York Fashion Week, she has done covers for numerous magazines. And this week’s guest is probably one of my dearest friends. And someone that I admire. For her amazing eye. She’s got an amazing set of hands, phenomenal taste. And she’s one of the most creative people that I know. It is the legend and the icon, Ms. Ruth Roche, so let’s get into this week’s headcase. I’m super excited here, because I have to tell you this is that, you know, I think that anytime for great artists are derived to have a level of greatness to any artists that we see on stage, etc, it requires really what I call four things, you know, you have to have great eye, you have to have good set of hands, you have to have taste and what you can do, I don’t mean taste as in the gustatory one. But taste is in fashion. And then also is an incredible amount of creativity. You know, and I always think that there’s so many artists that are out there, so many people that are on stage, etc. And they have one, they have two, they might even have three. But there’s so few people that have all four and Ruth, I so admire you. And I’m humbled to have you on head cases, just because you’re one of the few people that I see that has all four of those things, you’ve got a great eye for what seeing what’s what’s good on stage one, on a head of hair on a picture, etc. You have an incredible set of hands. You’re creative as as anybody that I know. And you’ve got impeccable taste. So I just want to say welcome. It’s great to have you on board. Thank you for being a part of head cases.
Ruth Roche 2:40
Thank you for having me. And that means a lot to me what you just said, because I feel the same about you. So thank you for saying all those nice things about me.
Chris Baran 2:50
We’ve got now that we’ve got the Chip and Dale thing.
Ruth Roche 2:54
No, no, I insist you go first. No, no, no, no, no, I insist
Chris Baran 2:58
after you. Listen, Ruth. I mean, there’s I don’t know if anybody out there who wouldn’t know who you are. But you know, it’s the same way that we have people from different tribes and so on. And they’re going to be watching this and they may not know exactly who you are. And I know I in the intro I gave, we talked about everything that you’ve done, et cetera. But you’ve done all of these amazing things with, you know, award winner, multi NAHA award winner, cover of magazines, etc. But that’s what everybody sees at the beginning. What was your start, like? Was there what what got you into hair wizard? I woke up one morning and said I’m going to be a hair I wanted it all my life was or something somewhere else. So a little birdie told me somewhere down the line that architecture was involved at one time was
Ruth Roche 3:47
Yeah. Mechanical Engineer. I was mechanical engineer. And I went to
Chris Baran 3:53
finish grade 12. So I didn’t know the difference between the two.
Unknown Speaker 3:58
Well, I don’t either because I didn’t make it through to get my degree because because that’s all I wanted to do was hair. I was doing it. In the dorms. I started in high school I for some reason, I can’t remember why. But I started cutting my brother’s hair, two of them and two brothers into hair. To each brother had two hairs. No. We, they, they just you know, they didn’t want to pay for their hair cut so that you know that’s probably why they were doing it. And I’ve also cut my own hair and permed my own hair and all kinds of stuff. Yeah. So but when I went to college, we used to go to this place we weren’t even old enough to drink called Harry gorillas cafe and it was this place where the people that were old enough would go and get like pitchers of beer and sit around and drink it and all that and we would get pictures of Tab that’s how long ago it was Tab is like you know diet drink and it tasted horrible. And then I would go into the restroom and wash my hands and the smell of this soap in the restroom. Made me want to be in a salon. I can’t explain it. It was like I could picture myself. I think it smelled like the shampoo that my hairdresser used on my hair. Oh, really? I don’t know. But it was like a, it was a smell thing that made would trigger it, I go. And I get goosebumps still thinking about it. I was just like, I gotta do hair. I mean, I was doing everybody’s hair in the dorm for like a six pack, you know, bottle of Bacardi or whatever it was, but I just wanted to do it so bad. And then that’s what’s, you know, just kind of kept eating at me eating at me. And I was in Santa Barbara was going to UCSB. And I was gonna go to the Sassoon school. But there was a year and a half waiting list. No, the LA school. So I couldn’t wait that long. I was like, I’m not I’m not waiting, I’m not gonna go to college and waste more time, you know, doing something I don’t want to do. So, to my parents dismay, I said I wanted to drop out. And I ended up going to school there in Santa Barbara, and went to a local school. And so I was in college, I did like a year and summer school to try to get my GPA up to something respectable. If that didn’t happen, but luckily my career worked out. Okay, so I didn’t have to go back to
Chris Baran 6:28
school. But what did you when you so here we are in mechanical engineering, you’re in Aaron, you know, every parent’s dream of your kids going to college. And then you came home and you said, hey, guess what? I want to be a hairdresser. What was I mean? You said that much To their dismay, but what was the reaction?
Ruth Roche 6:46
They were like, please don’t do this, you know, like, finish college. And then if you still want to do hair, do hair, you know, but you’ll always have your degree to fall back on. And my sister who is 14 years older than me see, I was living in Santa Barbara, and my parents were in Northern California and my sister. And I was talking to them, and I started arguing with them, and then I hung up on them. And because I was so passionate about it, and my sister calls me back, she goes, Don’t ever hang up on me. I call back and I was like, I’m sorry, I just want to do this so bad. I just I know that I want to do this. So they came around, but you know, I you know, I mean? Now of course my dad is my mom’s not around anymore, but my dad’s super proud of me. Yeah,
Chris Baran 7:35
yeah, I think you know, I think that resonates with so many of us out there. Because, you know, some people unless you are like me and have your mom was a hairdresser, Sue is elated, because she knew he had a labor involved. But most parents, they always think of our industry as someplace where you’re not going to earn a lot of money. And you know, and I think that the sooner that we can change that culture where look at there’s so much money to be made within this industry, if people would just put themselves to the task of earning it, you know, so yeah, yeah, I I’m sure that’s why they’re just pleased as punch now, because I’ll bet I’m just gonna take a wild stab, that your tax returns now are probably a whole lot higher than what they would have been if you would have been a mechanical engineer or an architect, you know, but
Ruth Roche 8:22
yes, yeah. So 1.0 My brothers are engineers, and I was like,
Chris Baran 8:30
I’ll show you my tax return. And yeah, yours. Yeah. No, it’s that’s really interesting. So along the way, so I want to go back to you know, everybody sees Ruth on stage. And it kind of see you as, as this icon, which you are, I mean, I mean, nobody can do that many wins with NAHA, be around for that long be artistic directors for companies have input for manufacturers for, for guiding them into education and products and so on. And, and, and not be an icon in our industry. So, but what was it like, I want to go take a break, go back to the beginning. So let’s run back to let’s just say you’ve got you’ve finished your schooling, you got out. Like, what happened was soon as you got out of school. What happened there.
Ruth Roche 9:23
I went to the best salon in Santa Barbara at the time and applied to be in their apprenticeship program. So I did that. And their apprenticeship program was only I think it was about six months. So I went there and during class when I was in classes, oh, and I had some a teacher in school, who had gone and worked for a Vidal Sasoons in San Francisco for several years came back so she was teaching us some cool stuff in school. And she she said to me one day, you know what you You’re gonna go really really far. Oh, really? And that those words, right, got planted. And I was like, if she thinks that that’s pretty cool, you know, it’s amazing. Yeah. So and then we went and smoked a joint after school. Just kidding she was she was really cool. She liked already with all the students and but anyway, I don’t know what happened to her. Yeah,
Chris Baran 10:28
you know it’s interesting because I love that I think that there’s words of encouragement from whether you’re in just beauty school or anywhere so important to somebody. But after the reason why I started laughing is because and I’ve said this before, if somebody’s heard it before you have great if not, then if it’s your first time you’ll giggle my my life in beauty school as we start was not what you call the best. I always tell everybody in joking and in real life that my mate wasn’t half of the class that made the top half possible. But the Pat hassle was God rest her soul was the beauty school instructor of the Marvell Beauty School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. And every time that I would get upset about something and I would I had a girlfriend at the time, not my lovely lady when we do now but we would fight all the time. And, and I would come back always in a mood and I would, you know, do silly things like floating boats that I made out of endpapers in the barbicide, watch them sink down, so much like my life at the time. And Pat would come out, she always had me sitting right beside her office, and every time she would come out, I’d be just sitting there doing stupid stuff. And she’d say, Baron, do something and I just grabbed a towel, and I’d start cleaning up, you know, my report card. At the end, she said to me, Chris, you’re gonna have a salon, and it’s going to be the cleanest salon I have ever seen in my life, you’ll have no customers, but you’ll have the cleanest Salon of anybody I know. So it’s talking about the differences in the way that when people talk to you, etc. So it’s interesting how that got planted in your brain. So let’s go go from there. Like where did how did you? What was the path that took you and got you? Were you in the salon for a good period of time? Did somebody discover you and put you on stage what what happened?
Ruth Roche 12:22
I was I was in the salon for post probably work in there about three years and this woman named Jun Stowe, who was a stylist there who I’m still in touch with on social media. She puts she rip this thing out. It was like in modern salon magazine, and it was like Trevor Sorbie wants you and it was like one of those military kind of poster ads thing. And she she ripped it up and put it in my mailbox in the in the break room. And she wrote on there, Ruth, you have to do this. Hello. So
Chris Baran 12:53
were you in the business by this time?
Ruth Roche 12:55
I was 22. Yeah. So I went to cosmetology school when I was 19.
Chris Baran 13:03
So this is like, two to three, two and a half three years in.
Ruth Roche 13:07
Yeah. Yeah. So I thought I worked. I get me and she was like, yes, you you need to do this. So I I did I, you had to have four years experience. And I had three but I counted school so that I wasn’t lying. So that was four you had to have teaching experience. And I had taught the apprentices after Me How to rinse a perm, you know, so that was teaching. And then you had to have strong technical skills and I didn’t even know what that meant. I had no idea what technical skills
Chris Baran 13:44
worse but so you weren’t lying if you didn’t know what it meant. Yeah,
Ruth Roche 13:47
I just said it. Well, I’m doing I have a clientele sort of, I must be doing something technical. So and then you had to you had just to submit a portfolio of your work. So I had no pictures. So what I did was at the time, I was really into Sebastian, you know and their shows and their stuff and it was really cool. So I totally copied everything that I could think of that they did it didn’t look anything like it. But you know, I took my cutest clients and did a photoshoot at the Chinese restaurant next door, you know and just did whatever it could and sent it in and I also sent a picture of myself in it was a black and white picture of me with sunglasses on it was I was like trying to emulate Jean bra. You know with her glamorous but my hair was black and I had these really crazy sunglasses on and I was smoking a cigarette. And it was I sent that in I put my regular headshot in and then I put that went in at the end so that when they got to the end they’d be like what the and so then they chose out of so they got like over 300 applicants or something like that, and Trevor wanted to get 12 people for his artistic team. And so they brought me and I think about 20 others, maybe more to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we brought ourselves there, we had to pay our own way and all that stuff, and audition, right? So when I auditioned, I had never done a demo, I was like, and I didn’t know the products because we didn’t carry them in the salon. And I what I did was I tried to cut a hair cut for my demo. That was I saw a picture of it this big on a VHS video box. And now today, I would cut it with a razor but I didn’t know how to cut hair with a razor but so I just winged it, I just like made shit up. And so when I was done, I all I had was only a half an hour to I was trying my first demo when I’m trying to do a whole haircut and a blow dry in half. And like didn’t even think of cutting half of the first or anything. So all I got was mousse a couple of balls in there. And then they said time so I was like And there’s my finished look, you know, it was just kind of crazy. So
Chris Baran 16:10
I want to just not be there for a second because I want to go back. Because firstly, there’s people out there that right now that may not know who Trevor is, but if you are from our era, Trevor, there’s probably four, maybe five hairdressers in the world that were considered the best hairdressers in the world. And Trevor was probably in the top one or two. And I think was always a race between between him and Anthony Mascolo and Irvin Rusk. And that and a few others. But yeah, Trevor was iconic. So but in some people in America, because, you know, the, I won’t say the work level was different, but the work it was just different level of work that that was done in America then they were doing at that time. Did you know who Trevor was at the time? Were you aware of his reputation?
Ruth Roche 17:07
I was I was aware of his reputation through June, the one that put that in my mailbox, got it. And she there was, you know, hair magazines with his work in it. And I was just blown away. I was also blown away by Robert lameta. And the Sebastian crew, you know, but this was, Trevor was in that house for me, as far as what inspired me and I looked at his work and went How the hell did he do that? Like, what is that, you know? And so I had like mad respect for him that way, but I didn’t I’d never met him. I’ve never seen him on stage. I only seen his work in magazines. So,
Chris Baran 17:47
so what was Okay, so now now that they you got a couple blobs of mousse in the hair. Yeah, you went Tada. And yeah, what happened from there?
Ruth Roche 17:59
Well, then you had to stand there awkwardly. Well, Trevor came up and ran his hands, do the hair cut any and he was he was playing with it. And he goes, I really liked the front. So that was like a compliment. And, you know, the back wasn’t his preference, or whatever. But I thought that’s good. He likes a friend, you know. And it was like a long shag, you know, didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So then he goes back in there, they seem like they’re 100 miles away. It was a panel of people, someone from the corporate. Vivienne Mackinder was his artistic director. So she was sitting there, Trevor was sitting there. And I had to sit in my model left, and I’m sitting in the hydraulic Chair of the stage. And there are way, way, way, way back. They’re asking me questions. And I was just like, I don’t know. I don’t know. You know, I just I don’t even remember it. And then as I was leaving the room, I, oh, I know what it was. So then I had to have a one on one interview with Trevor. And he asked, and it was right around the time, right before Madonna came out with Vogue and all that stuff. Like when her hair was like platinum, like Marilyn Monroe was right before that. And he first of all, we smoked a cigarette, because I was like, Can I have a cigarette? You know, can we just smoke? So we did because I was a big time smoker. And, and then he said, What do you think the future of hair, it’s, and I said, I think we’re gonna go back to setting hair and doing like, you know, comb outs and things like that, which we did for you know, whatever time that was when Madonna everyone started bleaching their hair and setting it, you know, in hot rollers or just doing that kind of cool, that was the edgy people that were doing that. So, anyway, that that was kind of cool that that ended up happening, but you know, it was just a conversation. And so I as I was Leaving, there were people after me auditioning, I stuck my head back in the room and I go, thanks so much like during someone else’s presentation. And I left and just didn’t know. So then I’m in the salon. You know, they had to, I don’t remember, but it was like two weeks later, and I got a FedEx and they had accepted me on the team. So I was shocked, you know what I mean? But at the same time, I had this really excited, like, little flicker in my belly, like, what if, what if this would be so cool, and, and then we had to go to training for six, it was six weeks of training three weeks. And then three more weeks in Pittsburgh, where the products the American, you know, where he started his product line were made there. And we were in a room with no windows for three weeks with Vivienne Mackinder. And no days off. And there was a lot of crying and there was on my part. And we had to just go through their fundamentals that they’re, you know, the graduated bob, that Firefly, the you know, all those suit, they both had Sassoon background. So we had to do that. And, and when I found out I was on the team, so this is I don’t want to be a bummer. But this was a huge part of my career is that I was 23. When I got on the team, my mom passed away after the tryout before the training started. So she she knew I got on the team, which was awesome. And then she passed away. And then I I dove into my career, I dove into my career
Chris Baran 21:49
and a bit of escapism.
Ruth Roche 21:51
Yeah, for sure. You know, and I, if I hadn’t had that, I don’t know what I would have done. You know what I mean? And Trevor, I call him my hair, dad, you know, because he was like my leader, you know, the person I look to career wise for guidance, and Vivian. And then, you know, my dad was like, my mom and my dad. And then there was one time when they finally met in person. You know, later on after I’d been with him for years that my dad and his wife came to a show. And it was one of those shows where they had like, two women tangoing in like, you know, slapping each other and it was just like, oh, sorry, dad. And his wife was like, Oh, that was so loud. You know. So they came to that show, and I got them. They you know, they met and it was so amazing. Because I was like, wow, both of my, you know, hair dads to get my dads together. So then what
Chris Baran 22:48
did what did What did dad real dad, think of Trevor and, and so on? How did
Ruth Roche 22:54
my dad’s really like he’s pretty open, you know? And so he was like, oh, so nice to meet you. Thank you for helping my daughter and, you know, all that kind of stuff. But his wife was just like, it was so loud. You know? Anyway, whatever.
Chris Baran 23:10
So Sam Harris shows that all that? No, is it for your shows?
Ruth Roche 23:14
Yeah. And, and when I was at the training, Trevor said, because they only ended up picking three people. They were supposed to pick 12. And they picked three. Because those the the only those were the only people that he wanted on his team. For whatever reason, they told me the reason he picked me was because I had guts to get up there and do something I’d never done before, in front of him and this panel of people. And he said he saw raw talent, you know, and even said, even when he would introduce me on stage later on, as his artistic director, he’d say, you know, when I first met Ruth, she wasn’t a good hairdresser. As a matter of fact, she she wasn’t a good hairdresser at all, you know, and now she’s my artistic director. And that’s how he would introduce me. And
Chris Baran 24:08
how did you feel about that?
Ruth Roche 24:09
I don’t know. I still don’t know.
Chris Baran 24:13
Then later on time, but now she’s
Ruth Roche 24:16
now she’s good. But she was horrible, horrible. So and then later in my career, he’d say, and he said it more than once. I can count on my hand. The amount the number of hairdressers that I respect. Yeah. And you’re one of them. Yeah. And I was, I still get choked up about that. Because it’s like, really, are you sure you know,
Chris Baran 24:40
when you have one of the one, two or three people in the world that are the best at what they do and then saying, giving you that compliment? That is one hell of a compliment. I admit that. I think a lot of people that are out there with would crave and die for somebody to say, that caliber to say it to them. I know. I know. And that’s why I felt the same way and I said so at the beginning. So the desert was a tough part in there.
Ruth Roche 25:07
God, the whole thing was tough. I mean, I think the first three years because I was on his team for nine years, became his artistic director at the end. But for the first, like, three years, I was so green. And so wanted to please them and show them that I could do hair. But like, I was still trying to learn it and teach it, which is so impossible. So I get up there, and we’d have to do these tests for Trevor the demo and I would end up my glasses would fog up, I was like, standing there behind my model, like hiding what I was doing, and just, you know, it just, it was just hard, it was really hard. And then I couldn’t Excuse me. I just couldn’t get the mix of things clicking. And then finally things started to click, and people were like, you know, learning or laughing, you know, or, you know, doing so started to connect with audiences. And that that helped. But it took me a couple of years to not cry when Trevor was like evaluating our work. Alright.
Chris Baran 26:11
I want to go back to that, because you said something that took me X amount of time till you connected. What was that? It? Because you mentioned a couple of things till somebody laughed. What was like, what was that? Was that like a switch? And what was it what? I want to go back to that moment? Because I think there’s so many people out there that get and see what we do. And they don’t understand that there’s something that that that you’ve got to work through and get to a point to get to the other side. What was that for you?
Ruth Roche 26:40
Yeah, I think it’s it was you becoming one of the audience instead of, instead of talking at them, yeah, you know, we’re even talking to them, you’re there. You’re You’re, you’re showing them that you’re one of them, not someone who’s better than them are different than them. And I think the comfort level, then when the audience is so relaxed, and different, and they feel respected, and they feel I don’t know, I can’t explain it too much more than that. But it’s, it’s a connection, especially through humor, you know, because, you know, stuff happens, it’s just stupid and funny, and, and it happens to everybody. And I think, for me, part of what I learned over the years is that things are going to happen when I’m teaching it just it’s like God’s way of helping me out because something stupid always happens. That’s funny, you know, almost always. And when you
Chris Baran 27:47
agree, when you agree on excuse me, wouldn’t you agree that it’s those funny things that happen. And what I love about you as a teacher, is, you’re an amazing storyteller. And I think it’s those little touches of humanity. And that humor, that, that are some times just self deprecating, you know, you’re, you know, the stupid things that we’ve done in our past, and then all of a sudden, they go, oh, you know what, I do that all the time. And then they relate to you. And to me, that’s the biggest part, I, I just wish that in our lifetime that, like, for me, if I could have one thing that I would love people to, if I could go like this, and, and get get the rest of our industry to give that and take that away, I would be like to take away the fear is the fear that you’re gonna make the mistake of fear that you’re just gonna say something stupid, or the fear that you want to go on stage or try something about, I just won’t do it because I’m so afraid to be judged. And I think you have this innate ability to just be Ruth on there. And while they see you as somebody that’s elevated and really high, you don’t. And I think there’s that gap between where people see you and where you put yourself in their eyes. That makes you so much more relatable.
Ruth Roche 29:20
This imposter syndrome. Yeah. You know, it’s kind of like, yeah, it’s like, if they knew that I know. I have no idea what I’m doing.
Chris Baran 29:31
And I just see seen you do it on stage where you say I have no idea what it’s not that you just you don’t go well. I have no idea what I’m doing. But look at how good I am. You tell I’ve seen you do it. Where you I have no idea what I’m doing right now. People laugh because they think oh yeah, you don’t know what you Oh, guffaw something. Yeah, we just don’t have a freaking idea. Yep. But that’s the creative process, isn’t it?
Ruth Roche 29:55
Yeah, for sure.
Chris Baran 30:00
that. I talked about what the what some of the was that? On my side if you had a wish that you could everybody in our industry, if you could snap your fingers and help to cure or do something for our industry, what would that be? What would you want to do? What would that if you had that one wish I could say, here it is, here’s the wish, what would that wish be that you could help our industry with?
Ruth Roche 30:24
I wish that everyone was into education. I wish every hairdresser pursued learning more, because you can never stop, you know, just like nurses and doctors, they do continue education because they have to stay up on what’s happening. And you know, and depending on where you started, and who your tribe was, and who trained you, you may there might be a whole set of skills that can make your life a lot easier that you don’t know about because you’re just doing what you know, you know, so I think it would be to have people feel that hunger and then want to satisfy it and keep going. I think that’s what I would do if yep, that’s my answer today, you know,
Chris Baran 31:11
well, and because we’re always thinking of good stuff that we wish would happen, right. But what I loved about what you said, and I think there’s a, there’s a switch that if we could push that a bit further, that makes it easier for us as hairdressers is nurses and doctors, they, they have to learn new things, because they’re all scientific. And they’re things that they have to do to save a life or to get better at saving lives. You know, and I think that I’m not saying that we don’t save lives, because I know we do. But the interesting part about our education is, is that we can learn foundation so that we can become more creative. And then the education is actually about enhancing our creativity. So we push ourselves, and we can come up with new shit, you know, as opposed to just having to learn scientific ship, and then not having to, you know, I got to learn this because I have to, as opposed to wow, look at how this changed and turns my crank every day. So I can learn new stuff to do and my clients and see their faces. And you know, and I might be I’m a little more selfish than I think than you are. I just love the feeling I get when I can do something creative on somebody. And then they look at it and they go, Oh my god, this is amazing.
Ruth Roche 32:30
The best feeling ever. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, who
Chris Baran 32:33
needs crack or anything like that? Because that’s that’s, that is a it’s just really an uplifting shot of adrenaline. I think that that’s the one thing that I I love that that if we could give that to people so that they could get that shot, rather than just doing the same experience over that they’ve had one year of experience 20 times. Right. Oh, it’s amazing. Okay. The was there. I think we’ve already talked about that there was a turning point in your career. And that was that, that in your mailbox, that little thing with Trevor? And that that shifted your life around? Is? Was there ever an event that you went to that freaked you out?
Ruth Roche 33:17
Yeah, so many. But one was I, this was, you know, late, not late, but I had been doing hair for probably 15 years, maybe more. And I was not with Trevor anymore. I had gone to Redken and was there for five years. And then I left to do my own thing. Still, you know, kept my tethers to Redken used Redken and all that stuff. But I was doing my own thing, you know, and I started my own salon and an Academy and then I was traveling doing shows. And so I got invited to do a show. I won’t mention the show, because it was so I got this like van full of people. So you know, I had been at Redken where I had all this support right? Now all of a sudden I’m taping my own boxes and schlepping stuff and driving a van down to the city that it was in which was probably like a six hour drive thru my whole team from the salon in the van, you know, all of our stuff, the stools for stage everything. And it’s time to find there’s a main stage area and then there’s the floor, right and the main stage area sat about it looks like it looked like there was like 500 chairs there. Like there was a lot of chairs. And so it’s you know, walking over to go backstage right? Right before the show. There’s two people in the audience in the front row. And two and I think they were like just eating their lunch. You know what I mean? I don’t actually there to see the so Then we’re backstage and Bradley who used to be my my right hand. He would go on stage with me a lot. But he was kind of like my mind was my writing. And so I’m standing there backstage, and I started crying. I go, I don’t want to go out there. There’s nobody out there. I can’t do this. Oh, my God, no, I feel stupid. Who am I going to talk to? So he’s like, it’s okay. Now. Now. Now. Just go ahead. And he like, pushed me out. And I remember, like, that was the hardest thing to get through. I was just like, how do I pretend that people are here? And they’re interested? You know, I can’t just talk to two people. In case other people are walking in. I can’t be like, So Sue, and Nancy, you know, oh, you know, what do you think of this section? You know? So anyway, that was, that was a very humbling experience, for sure.
Chris Baran 35:57
I think that I am giggling while you’re saying it, because I’ve been there. We’ve all had those shows. I remember, I remember being in a Toronto, ABA. And they’re out all the booths set up. And, and they’re the same thing. Like there was nobody in the, in the nobody in the chairs, I said, Well, I’m not going out there until there’s some people in the chairs. And I think I waited like 15 or 20 minutes. And then finally they said, Get your ass on stage, nobody’s going to come into the room if the stage is empty, right. So because it’s one of those ones where everybody was walking around. And so we actually did gather a few. But it was the same thing. You had to just go out there. And people had to see there was something going on to get back in the room. But that those Yeah, freak you out. And I think that’s when that’s the test the real test of metal that we have as well. And what I want to just throw some wanna throw some rapid fire ones at you. Is that okay? Okay. Yep. Okay. I don’t know, you might have hit this one already. Most difficult time in your life.
Ruth Roche 37:00
Um, gosh, the most difficult was probably when my mom died. Oh, because I was just starting to really form who I was and figure it out. And, and that was just like, the bottom dropping out, you know. But, like I said earlier, I think my career wouldn’t be where it was today, if I hadn’t dove into it so well, probably to a detriment in a way because, you know, I missed a lot of friends, weddings and family stuff and, and things like that being on the road all the time. And, you know, didn’t I didn’t have a family, or, you know, kids, which wasn’t a choice choice, but it just kind of didn’t, it just didn’t happen. So. Yeah, I think that was probably the hardest time. Yeah.
Chris Baran 37:55
And you know, I think that because you I heard you say about a lot with friends and dates and what I mean dates, like birthdays, anniversaries, parties, etc. But yeah, that sometimes when you choose that path to be successful, what you have to do it, it does come at a price. So yeah, thanks for sharing.
Ruth Roche 38:16
I think there’s not that many people that are willing to pay that price, you know, and people are more into a balanced life now. Yeah. Which I think is good. And, you know, the world is so different now than it was then as far as well. It’s,
Chris Baran 38:30
it’s different now than it was two or three years ago. Yeah. Your event event or show that you love the most? And why? And I realize you’re picking three, there’s, you know, it’s not that you’re picking out one or whether just one the one that comes to your brain right now,
Ruth Roche 38:46
right now is that the hair Expo in, in Sydney, Australia, one year, they brought me down two years, they brought me down as me, you know, not with Redken or anything like that. And so Bradley and I went and we did mainstage. And we had, we just, we just let it rip. We put it all out there. And he did these imitated Cher on stage and did this whole, you know, routine. And, you know, it was just such a huge success. And it was so much fun. You know, and I just remember I have a lot of respect for Australian hairdressers in their talent, right? So the fact that they, they liked us they really liked you know, and it was fun. So we got to do things we couldn’t do here. Like we had models running around and underwear and you know
Chris Baran 39:42
that is true. And they and they love that so yeah, okay. I’m just pretty broad scopes, things that you hate the most. In general, just in general in whatever
Ruth Roche 39:55
mean people I hate backs. stabbing. I can’t I can’t gossip. Yeah. That’s right. And people that are mean to animals?
Chris Baran 40:07
Me to love it things you love the most
Ruth Roche 40:12
coffee? I’ve seen? Yeah. My dog Annie. My dad, he’s like my favorite guy in the world. Love it. Yeah.
Chris Baran 40:29
Creative, the creative process with you? What? What turns it on?
Ruth Roche 40:37
Pressure? A deadline, a deadline? Yeah. Like someone says, you’re doing a shoot on this day, figure something out, you know? Or like with, with NAHA, you know, you’ve been in that situation with me where they said, We’re doing a shoot in a month, you know, what do you what do you want to do? What’s your idea? It’s like, I don’t have an idea. You know, so then that pressure of it, because I’m kind of a procrastinator. So if I don’t have a deadline, I’ll just fart around, you know, with ideas in my head, but to actually have to start trying things and testing things and seeing if it will work. You know, that’s that sparks my creativity, and then others other people’s work getting inspired, you know, by seeing what somebody thought of it’s like, what did you think of that? You know, and I think, and Trevor used to always say that what the hardest part is not doing what I do. It’s thinking of what I do. Right? You know, it’s it’s thinking of a new idea. And then figuring out how to do it is the fun part. Right? But it’s having that idea.
Chris Baran 41:43
Most people have no idea that that anything that you do, about 85, or 90% of the time is in the research of how to how the hell to do it, you’re doing something different, or you don’t know how to do something that you’ve seen before. It takes a hell of a lot of time to do it. And that’s patient. Yeah. I love that. What stifles it the most for you stifles your creativity the most pressure what turns me on is the deadline what what stifle is the damn pressure than Yeah,
Ruth Roche 42:13
I think what stifles it is not having the time, right to tinker and work it out. Yeah, you know, to figure that out, because when you’re on a deadline, it it takes the fun out of it. And I don’t I mean, a different deadline, right. So yeah, so you need time and time is something that so many of us don’t have, right, that extra time to see. You gotta make time for it and put it in your calendar. Or else it’s not going to happen. Like, while you’re, you know, after dinner, when you’re exhausted. You have to make time for it.
Chris Baran 42:47
Do you? Are you the kind of person that loves to get on your own with your creativity and come up with stuff? Or do you? Do you like, the banter that goes back and forth?
Ruth Roche 42:57
I like the banter. Yeah. I love having people that are also into figuring stuff out. Or, you know, I’m a collaborator, for sure. I like to say, you know, does this look like crap? Or is it cool? I can’t tell anymore, you know. So yeah, and I love doing that with you, you know, when we’re trying to figure something out. And you really can’t have perspective. Sometimes if you’ve been looking at something for so long. You know, you don’t know better.
Chris Baran 43:24
Let’s I love him. Because we’re working on projects right now. And I love when I go, Hey, routes, you know, and I fully, you know, I know you’re the same as you pull somebody aside to say, hey, just tell me you love it. It’s just, it’s just looked like a piece of crap, or is this okay? Does this because you’re gonna look at it the first time. Now. So I want to point out to and this is one thing that I love about you. And I want people that are listening or watching to know this about you. And because this is an unbelievable thing and trait that you have, you have two words that I don’t know, if you use them, you use them already a couple of times in our conversation, but there’s two words that you use all the time. That when you’re trying to come up with when people are collaborating, they I’m gonna tell you what they are. If you can’t remember what the I don’t know, I don’t know. You always say what if because, like, I see your when you do things, and we we do this on the things we right now. We’re Ruth and I are leading, going after big things right now with this huge project. And we’re trying to come up with ideas and and we know something’s not working. And I see I see your your eyes just turn up and they go to the right because I can see you’re accessing your imagination. And then you always say, Well, what if and then you come up with this stuff and I go, What the hell did that come from? You know, is that amazing ability and I see that as a collaborator but I also see it as when some people will get caught. And just this idea is not working. I want to push it further and I want to push it further, until we know it’s not working at all. And it’s just throw it away and I’m sick of it. But you have this innate ability to go well, what if and then to push it or tweak it or find out something that excuse me would work. And instead of it
Ruth Roche 45:15
anytime I said those words
Chris Baran 45:18
all the time I get, and I just saw admire that, because it just shows me that you’re always thinking about, Okay, well, that won’t work, what will and it’s about a problem to me, that’s problem solving. Okay. So I’m really very quickly turning into this not into rapid fire, but what what do you hate most about our industry hates a strong word, but I’ll let you use this case.
Ruth Roche 45:44
Um, I think I am not a huge fan of what’s I think there’s some wonderful things that social media has done for our industry, and for stylists, and artists and things like that. But I also it’s created the Compare and despair thing, you know, so much that I think it’s, you know, it’s harmful to teenagers and that kind of thing. But, to to hairdressers, I think everyone, you know, looks at including me, you know, why don’t I have Morpho are so committed, you know, it’s like, just, it’s just weird, and I don’t think it’s healthy. But that’s how the world is. That’s how people measure your success. Now. You know, a lot of people anyway,
Chris Baran 46:30
different benchmarks. A person you wish you could meet
Ruth Roche 46:36
Chris Baran 46:37
Ruth Roche 46:39
I always thought he was the sexiest man alive. I always. Yeah. And then he lived in Tribeca, where about four blocks from my salon. And I was like, if I could just bump into him once I’d probably faint. I wouldn’t even able to be able to be starstruck, I would just faint. So and as an artist do he just didn’t give a shit about what anybody thought he did weird stuff.
Chris Baran 47:06
Like that would be probably you, you the first chance of romance because No, not knowing him. But knowing of him, he would have probably run up and, you know, oh, let’s do that or etc. And then you’d open your eyes and it’d be this dreamy moment. And then a man would come and beat me out and she’d say, Oh, well, it’s okay. You can have a language do you wish you could? You could speak
Ruth Roche 47:28
Chris Baran 47:29
Whoo. Okay, here it is. You’ve got a month off? No. expenses aren’t a problem. Where would you go? What would you do?
Ruth Roche 47:42
I would go to a remote island and where we just bring up oh god in the in the Caribbean? somewhere tropical. Yeah. And just check out. I’d invite a few people
Chris Baran 47:53
love it. Just so business or no business. No business. No business. Okay, good. Nope. My wife would be very happy about that when she’s always a no business. Okay. thing that you’re one thing you’re terrified of
it for me, it’s spiders. I can’t do it. I can’t deal with spiders.
Ruth Roche 48:20
Don’t I don’t really have anything. I’m I can’t think of anything right now.
Chris Baran 48:24
Okay, cool. You can choose to use this you can choose to answer this one or not. Favorite curse word.
Ruth Roche 48:31
I can’t say it. Okay. But it begins with an
Chris Baran 48:34
F. Yes. Okay, fine, do
Ruth Roche 48:37
ya? Yeah, yeah. No, I think it’s, I think I say shit more often. Yeah, so that’s that might be my
Chris Baran 48:47
favorite comfort food.
Ruth Roche 48:49
Macaroni and cheese.
Chris Baran 48:51
Yes. Something in the industry that you’ve never done before. But you would still love to do
Ruth Roche 49:01
I’d love to do Meryl Streep’s hair who now I keep putting it out there because you never know.
Chris Baran 49:09
Yeah, that’s got to give I’ll give you she used to live
Ruth Roche 49:13
around the corner from really Meryl Streep and I like this, you know? Oh, why don’t you tell me
Chris Baran 49:18
because this is me. Those of you listening? I bet my two fingers crossed and I’m waving my thumb that’s that far removed from Meryl Streep. Okay, good. Okay, you got Okay, here’s another I got two more a do over a diverse something in your life that you could do over again. What would it what is it? What would you do?
Ruth Roche 49:39
It’s so funny. Whenever anybody asked that. I can’t think of what I would do differently. I think. I think I would stop doubting myself so much. You know, and worrying what people think of me. Because that has paralyzed me sometimes. Yeah, you know.
Chris Baran 49:57
Okay, tomorrow, no hair. You’ve been just told you can’t do hair anymore. What would you do?
Ruth Roche 50:04
Chris Baran 50:06
Ruth Roche 50:06
No, I don’t want to do dog grooming. Why did I say that? That sounds horrible. You
Chris Baran 50:10
Ruth Roche 50:12
I love dogs, but I don’t want to groom them.
Chris Baran 50:13
But what would you what would you what profession? What would you do?
Ruth Roche 50:25
Can I be an artist? You get paid for that? That’s what I would do. I would be
Chris Baran 50:29
an artist or a painter. Yeah, I love it.
Ruth Roche 50:33
I paint now just for fun. Yeah. And I do big huge flowers and fruits and vegetables. And. And I’ve taught myself it’s just just for fun.
Chris Baran 50:46
Nice. Okay, one last question. Just again, for as an industry or industry overall. There’s people watching or listening. What if you could get them to stop doing something? Or to let go of something? What would that be?
Ruth Roche 51:06
self judgment like judging yourself? Yourself? Yeah, like, stop doubting yourself. Just do it. Love it. No, that’s the only difference between people that succeed and people that don’t is the people that do just just try.
Chris Baran 51:21
Yeah. And sometimes even if you’re judging yourself just to let it go and just keep going at it. Yes. You’re never going to do it. If you you know, if you don’t try, you know, the only people that only succeed are the ones that try. Yep. Bruce, I know that we’re going to be getting together and jamming and just probably a few days it seems Yeah. But Ruth I as I said, at the very beginning have the utmost respect for you. You are one of the most creative people I know one of the better friends that I have. And one of the people that I can just I know I can bounce off create creatively. I hope that the rest of the world sees you as the incredible human being and humor humorous person that I see. And I can’t thank you enough for being on the show. And being a part of head cases. So I will see you in a few days. But yeah, this was an absolute joy.
Ruth Roche 52:15
Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it too. And thanks for having me on.