If hair stylists got the fame, applause, and celebrity musicians do, Sean Godard would be nothing short of a rock star. The Redken artist and world-renowned stylist has made his mark on social media, turning regular manes of hair into pastel clouds and dramatic ombre looks.
While you may never get the chance to sit in his chair, that doesn’t mean your regular color service is free of his influence in the hair world. Read on to learn how he got here—and why he’s still enjoying what he does.
Unlike many of the artists in his field, Godard began his journey in his native country, Canada. During a teenager-hood spent in Halifax, N.S., the artist accidentally discovered his love of hair color thanks to several run-ins with subpar stylists.
It wasn’t until a good friend began working in a salon that Godard imagined himself in the same shoes. Part of it, he admits, was a misunderstanding of the careers available to hair experts. Instead of viewing styling as an unlimited journey that can open doors to celebrity, travel, and creativity, he feared getting stuck in a dead-end career. Stuck between a newfound passion and a nine to five career path, Godard decided to take the risk. Boy, did it pay off.
“I decided to just take the risk, go to hair school, and I absolutely loved it,” he says. “After about a year—not even—of finishing school and working in a salon there I decided that I wanted to move to the big city, if you will. So I packed up and moved to Toronto.”
As so many do, Godard’s story really begins with his big city move. He’d gone to a Redken school for certification, which helped him get a foot in the door at one of the brand’s elite salons. There, it was one of the brand’s sales representatives who finally convinced him to audition for a platform artist role.
“At the time I was actually super shy and didn’t really like public speaking,” Godard remembers. “I was like, ‘Absolutely not, I know it looks fun, but I don’t think I could do that.’ She pushed me and was like, ‘No, we’ll train you, we’ll help you.’ I hesitantly got into it.”
Like many decisions that seem terrifying in the moment, this one paid off in dividends.
“[Redken] provided all the training and support to help me grow not just as a hairdresser but also as a facilitator and a public speaker,” he says, crediting the brand with his skillset as not just an artist but an educator.
Today, the glue that holds Godard’s career together is his flexibility. For a platform artist, long weeks of travel can add up. However, there’s no shortage of different events to keep the job feeling interesting.
“The cool thing with the brand is that it can be something absolutely different every single day,” he says. “It can vary from traveling somewhere and doing an in-salon program with a salon team for the day, it can be going away for a weekend and doing a big trade show or hair show or a big event like a symposium.”
In any event, Godard makes it his mission to help professional stylists keep pace with an increasingly learned customer base. Before a haircut these days, the average woman is piecing together a Pinterest board of celebrities and watching balayage tutorials on YouTube.
“[Customers] have a lot more opinions and ideas of even the steps of the process that should be done, whereas in the past that was always heavily trusted on the professional,” he says. “We oftentimes face clients thinking that something is what they need but it might not be exactly what they need.”
As a platform artist, Godard keeps artists one step ahead of their customers. It’s a challlenging—but extremely rewarding—role.
When you work in a creative role, there’s always a chance that burnout will strike. That’s not the case for Godard because so much of his work is grounded in the art of hair. Whether he’s on set, creating the vibrant shades for Redken’s ad campaigns, or privately working with a celebrity or model client, beautiful hair is always rewarding.
“What I love the most about doing hair, in general, is the difference and the feeling everyone has,” Godard explains. “Whether that’s a model on set that’s able to turn into this complete different character because of her hair and makeup or the everyday woman that wants a pick-me-up or wants to celebrate something like a job promotion—just to give them a little bit of extra boost in their step. Seeing that is what makes the job so worth it."
If you think you’re emotional when you leave the salon chair, imagine what it’s like for Godard. He’s not only masterminding the final look but witnessing the emotional effect it has on his models.
From far-flung Novia Scotia to New York City, which has been his home for the past two years, Godard has had quite the dramatic journey to success. His rise to Redken success was powered by his willingness to make the leap.
“I took baby steps from Halifax to Toronto and New York, so I don’t think it can get any bigger than this,” he says.
Interested in watching Godard make waves in the industry? You’re not alone.
Follow Sean Godard on Instagram @seangodard.