Celebrity comes with talent. I can’t help but showcase my talents every day, which means people know. When people know, they treat me like a celebrity. I’m often booked for gigs – both private and group. Personally, I prefer the private gigs. This time it was a group. A room full of giggly, wiggly girls.
I have done these group tutorials in the past. They have not been successful. I have learned that it is next to impossible to teach more than two people the finer arts of hair braiding. I reluctantly accepted the invitation to teach 16 girls between the ages of 8 and 11. When I found out the leaders had been talking and wanted to change the activity to a spa day for mothers and daughters, I had to put my foot down. We were able to talk through my concerns that no one would be interested in learning in that environment. The activity went back to what I originally had been preparing for.
The threatened shift in focus was what brought on the brilliant idea of pre-recorded videos. It was a crazy plan that just might work. I really couldn’t think of any other way to effectively teach young girls basic hairstyling techniques.
I stood at the front of the room, armed with a handful of instructive videos. The volume rapidly increased to mosh pit levels as girls drifted in. It didn’t take long for girls to abandon chairs to dance wildly around the room. My own daughter was flipping her head between her legs. Her hair a waving mass of inevitable snarls. Not sure who was supposed to start, and we were already over five minutes into it, I passed out the True/False quiz I had made up.
It was going to be my talking points for the hygiene portion of my presentation. I realized that with the time constraints, and knowing the girls would want lots of hair practicing time, I kept the quiz for classroom management purposes. This was the perfect opportunity! Silence wasn’t immediate. More like hushed tones as they discussed the statements with one another.
Before long, the empty edges of the room called like sirens to sailors. The girls were back to dancing and moshing to the songs in their own heads. Hairbrushes made great microphones. No one listened as I said I was ready to start. Once that first video started, all bottoms were on chairs and all eyes were riveted on the screen.
I asked again for them to pair up and practice what they saw in the video – proper brushing technique for long hair as well as how to use an elastic in a ponytail. I told them to be sure to trade off so they each had a turn.
When the room naturally settled into chaos, I was back at the front starting another video. Immediate calm and tranquility followed as if someone had flipped a switch. As the hairstyle neared its end, girls began practicing on one another. I wandered the room. The cycle continued. Each time I wandered to observe and answer questions, I paused especially around the girls with short hair. I wanted them to understand how to use the techniques with their own shorter locks.
I showed one new 8 year old how to French braid her partner’s short hair. Somewhere in there I did a small French braid in the front of another 11 year old’s hair. She loved it! She went out of her way to tell several people that she wanted to carefully sleep so that she could wear the braid in her hair the next day! So cute! I love when girls have that reaction to anything I do in their hair. Girls were running in and out all evening. I realized they were running to the bathroom to check out their latest hair creation!
I braided another girl’s hair. My 8 year old friend, that I gave a personal French braid tutorial to, had asked if I could braid her hair. Unfortunately, the room had spiraled into noisy chaos again minutes before the parents were scheduled to arrive. I still feel bad that I couldn’t braid her hair. I texted her mom about it. Hopefully we can arrange something. I don’t want her to feel left out.
I tried to reign in the wiggly, giggly girls by going over the True/False quiz. Everyone had an opinion or a story to share. We didn’t make it very far before parents started appearing in the hallway. Soon parents walked into the room along with their conversations that were not whispered. The cacophony was too hard to ignore or control. No one even noticed when I stopped talking and just walked to the back of the room. Two leaders replaced me up front and asked everyone to kindly take their seats.
The last 15 minutes were informative for the parents. We learned the logistics of upcoming talent show activities and a Pinewood Derby. For girls. There are no words. That I should say out loud anyway. Gwen has spent most of her free time today browsing pictures online looking for ideas. So far she has about a hundred.
Pinewood Derby’s are not in my talent wheelhouse. Hair techniques apparently are. The activity ended up being more successful than my last couple of group presentations. I know the girls had fun and I believe they all learned something. Maybe not the 9 year old expert. She had a lot of fun though. My work here is done.
My prices haven’t changed. Still $80 a head for my magic fingers. Or free for group activities, as I seem to be accepting. At least until that 9 year old expert comes into her own and develops her own cult following. Which seems imminent. She picked up several worshipers last night! Until then, I will remain the hair expert everyone expects me to be.