By Andeen Rose-Clark, ADD Hair & Make Up
Sue Pemberton is an international artistic director, master colorist and world traveler.
She is listed as one of 50 in the book, “Top 50 Hairstylists” by Rick Morton, ranked in the top 40 in the world for platform artists and No. 14 in the world for colorists by BE magazine.Pemberton is accomplished in color chemistry, practical and advanced application, techniques, salon artistry and fashion while also maintaining a keen sense of real world wearability and practical application. Her most outstanding achievements are in color, where she is active as an expert, an artist, leader, mentor and an inspiration among her peers in the industry.
Born and raised in a small town in the United Kingdom, she was a cosmetologist by trade at age 16 but continued her studies. “As a young artist I was extremely shy. I had to learn how to talk to clients. By 18, I was fully qualified as a cosmetologist,” she told Las Vegas Woman magazine.
Las Vegas Woman magazine: Why did you want to move to the United States?
Sue Pemberton: At 16, my grandma and I toured on a Greyhound motorcoach for three weeks. I knew then I wanted to come back to America. At 21, I sold my Spitfire sports car for 1,000 pounds, bought a ticket to Los Angeles and with $600 dollars in my pocket and a suitcase.
LVW: What was your life like in the United States?
SP: My first job was at a beauty supply store; I walked in, the shelves were dusty and the store in disarray. I told the owner he needed help and had to hire me. He told me I was cheeky and I replied, “of course I am” so he hired me. I also worked at a health club where they liked my accent and me. I was the receptionist. After awhile, I got my cosmetology license and once I had that, the owner of the supply store made me a workstation, which allowed him to carry professional products while I built my clientele. Realizing I needed more, I moved to Santa Monica [California]. Working at Salon, Ravello, my station was on a platform like a stage. The manufacturer I worked for helped grow my career, and along with my hard work, I became the international artistic director and master colorist. Up until recently, I have traveled the world educating artists.
LVW: What countries and continents have you traveled to for education?
SP: South America, Egypt, Asia, South Africa, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It would be easier if I told you where I have not been.
LVW: What brought you to Las Vegas?
SP: The economy. I moved here almost 14 years ago. Traveling all the time, I was never home and living in California is expensive so it made sense.
LVW: What are some of your awards?
SP: In the cosmetology world, the North American Hairdressing Award is the Oscar in our field. I’ve been nominated eight times and won two times, 2007 and 2013. The nominations always outweigh the wins, you have to walk into this with a realistic mindset, and my slogan is, “ Life is not about winning or losing, life is about passion!”
In 2014 I received the Intercoiffure Award, The ‘Icons of Color.” There were only six of us in the world to receive this award including Gina Khan, Kris Sorbie, Sonya Dove, Beth Minardi and Roy Peters.
LVW: What are your future plans?
SP: Rather than work for a specific manufacturer, I am going to do it on my own. This allows me to work with several companies. I’ve relaunched Sue Pemberton Color Academy (suepemberton.com). Education is what drives me and I love it. I have put together an education program called the Artistic Journey. It enables the artist to understand the steps it takes to achieve the end result of a color. The classes I offer can be broken down and is tailored to the needs of the group. I’m also taking new clients at my private studio salon located in Henderson, Nevada. I can reached by calling 702.348.5494 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
LVW: What is your favorite app?
SP: I’m working with a new app, MIA, My Intelligent Assistant. MIA has forever changed the world of hair color management by bringing order and improving bottom lines with innovative technology. It’s an app all hairstylist can use.
LVW: Where does your inspiration come from?
SP: Artists, paintings by Claude Monet, Van Gough, designers, inspire color and beauty, designers such as Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, their work is brilliant.
LVW: What tips, tools and technique are your favorites?
SP: I have my favorite tail comb, foils and favorites in several color lines. When you are a colorist, you can use any line, you just have to know if it’s a level darker or lighter, cooler or warmer.
LVW: What do you want the world to know about you?
SP: I am a down to earth, normal person that comes from a small village in England. If you work hard and are passionate, anyone can achieve his or her dreams.
LVW: What advice would you give to younger artists?
SP: You have to know your craft, you have to learn and perfect it everyday. Be proud of what you do. Continue to learn. A good thing for me, if I am teaching the young people in the audience they are there because they want to learn and grow. It makes it a better environment because they choose to be there. I am a big believer that if you stop learning you stop succeeding.