When women feel called to step forward into a position of sharing skills with the intent of elevating the craft itself, a certain magnetic magic happens. This magnetic force pulled me right to Corinna Hernandez, where I bumped into her at Edo Salon in SF.
I had been following her career since 2013, when she launched her project Pony Salon: Higher Education for Hairdressers, an independent education program her stylists and salons. Impressed with her work and dedication to bettering the industry through sharing top notch hands-on skills for cutting and styling hair, and inspired by her vision of spreading hair love, I invited her to share words with us here.
A little back-story
Corinna Elizabeth Hernandez is a seasoned hairstylist, independent hair educator and a mother. She has been a hairstylist since 1999 and has been educating since 2002. She learned early on after receiving Sassoon training and advanced razor training from Bumble and Bumble in New York City early in her career that she had a gift of educating. It was after 5 years of operating a successful hairdressing business that she dropped everything to apply for a Bb apprenticeship at the world-renowned Bb University in New York. She then worked at The House of Bumble in NYC for several years before being recruited in-house to travel the USA to teach salons on behalf of Bb, where she continues to work, 6 years later.
Interview with Hair Pioneer Pony Salon Educator Corinna Hernandez
I am honored to introduce Corinna Hernandez, shear maverick and a hair pioneer. Thanks for chatting with us!
How long have you been doing hair?
I started beauty school at age 24 but I started doing makeovers in high school on my friend’s hair. Styling it differently for them or cutting it and taking pictures of their makeovers. I wanted to cut 90210 bangs on my friends. I jacked up some hair and made some hair look awesome! So I guess you can say I started at 15 but never knew I’d end up doing it for a living.
What are your specialties and how did you learn them?
I specialize in cutting hair. Curly hair to straight hair, long or short. With the scissors and the razor. I also love styling. It’s challenging every day. I just love hair.
I love doing photo shoots with clients/friends who have a great look. This is Helena, my friend Eryk and I got together on our day off and he took her from brunette to blonde. Afterwards, I styled her hair and shot these pics with my iPhone. I had the best time! One of my favorite things to do still as an adult is play dress up.
Do you have a mentor that you consider crucial to your education?
Rowena Hiraga. I learned Sassoon from her. And blow drying. She taught me how to touch hair, how to control it or go with it. Bumble and bumble taught me how to take that further. So many people at Bumble taught me everything I know. Tom Gallagher, Coco Santiago, Maggie Ryan, Coby Alcantar, Howard and Raymond Maclaran, Nicholas Roach, Michael Gordon, I really learned so much about styling hair and the importance of products and how to use them to achieve a desired look. I’m still so excited about how much more I have to learn. When I got into teaching I learned how to speak in front of people from Bumble. Amanda Ritch, Mary Proctor, and other presenters who I looked up to.
This is a very recent shot of me doing hair on stage at a huge Bumble and Bumble event for Gene Juarez salons in Seattle, WA. So fun! I work for Bb part time and love my gig with them!! Such a great company. They are so supportive of what I do as well.
What is your mantra for doing hair?
It’s a dance, graceful and tender. With a lot of added muscle when needed. You have to listen to it and pay attention. And change your technique accordingly.
Tell us about your jump from stylist to educator.
I was inspired to teach because learning was the most exciting time for me. The feeling inspired after watching someone who was so good at it part. Wanting to be good too. Wanting everyone to be good.
Where do you see our industry headed?
It’s all about the Internet currently. I’ve gained so many clients from taking photos of my work and posting them on my Instagram.
What is your dream collaboration?
I love all collaboration. I just recently got together with Michelle Snyder, owner of Barrow Salon in SF to teach a razor cutting class for Pony Education and left our meeting feeling so excited and inspired by all of the ideas we came up with together! I don’t like doing things alone.
What hairstyle/cut/project are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my hairdresser education project, Pony Salon. I so love being around and working with hairdressers who are as passionate about our craft as I am. It reminds me that we are so lucky to love what we do on the daily. Sometimes we need a little reminder. 😉
The first Pony class I ever taught was for Mike Page Style Lab in SF. I hired a friend of mine, Tiffany Ward, who takes great photos. I still use these pictures because she did such a good job.
This photo was from my launch party. I did 5 demo models that night, 2 haircuts and 3 fun styles. So many of my friends helped me that night from Hannah the DJ to Lexi the caterer and my assistants were talented hairdresser friends of mine, Becky Borman and Eryk Brian. The models were all there for me as a favor too! I had such a great time and was so pleased with the turnout.
What would you like to see more of in the hair biz, and what would you like to see less of?
I would like to see more stories about talented female hairdressers. I just found out who Margaret Heldt was because I follow Amy Sedaris who posted about her recent passing.It’s still a man’s world, even in hairdressing. I would like to see less lobs with a flat iron wave. And less jerks, of course!!
Corinna, we salute you and all you do! Thanks for helping us keep this industry real with Pony Salon.
Be sure to follow Pony Salon on Instagram for some classy and beautiful hair, and if you are interested in becoming an educator or want to elevate your skills in the craft of hair cutting and styling, check out Corinna’s website for Pony Education for inspiration and workshop information.