Get the Best Hair of Your Life – and $200

So it's often how willing you are to part with your long locks or natural color that gets you chosen. If only a handful of women show up, or the event is about "classic"-looking styles (like one event I did for Vidal Sassoon), you may be able to get away with just a simple trim and a deep condition.

But this event I'm here for today is titled "Creative Styling With Nick Berardi."

Berardi traveled the world teaching for Vidal Sassoon for a decade and is now a top stylist hired out by Wella-Sebastian to lead these seminars at their studios across the country.

At the casting, Berardi and his cohort, color specialist Alexandra Matiz, look at my hair and get very excited about the possibilities.

"I'd love to do some disconnected pieces with your curls and really make it sexy," he says, as Alexandra asks me what I'm open to in terms of color.

"I'm wide open with color," I say, adding with a small laugh, "just not, you know, blue."

"No blue?" she responds, looking at my hair more closely.

I hadn't imagined blue was on the table but it's clear I was alone in that assumption. I quickly realize if I do this event I'm signing up for a very different look.

But if you're going to leap into the great unknown, you may as well do it at the hands of the people who are paid to explain technique to the crop of stylists you would under normal circumstances be booking an appointment with.

Most hair models spend five to eight hours at the studio. Haircuts, color and highlights are all done with time-consuming precision. (Lauren Zinn/ABC)
In other words, you know it's going to look great in the end.

So I agree to pink and copper highlights and a light reshaping of my layers and promise to be there the next day at noon.

Model for a Day

I'm not the only one in for a new, creative look. When I arrive midday, Matiz is already well into bleaching Erin Albrecht's short, dark locks to a sassy platinum blond.

Albrecht first participated in one of these events last summer. "I liked it so much, I came back for another one a few months later," she said.

This is her third event at The Studio, and she's not worried about changing her look. "I look at it as a job and an opportunity," she says.

As Berardi chops shorter layers into my hair, I ask him how open most people are to drastic change at these kinds of events.

"Now that Katie Holmes has cut her hair short, a lot more people are willing to do it," he says. "People are really influenced by celebrity. In Europe, it's different. They tend to be a little more creative, a little less conservative. They're influenced more by street style."

Of course, Wella-Sebastian sends Berardi, who's based in the New York area and co-owns the upscale Salon 5 in northern New Jersey, to helm these events at its other studios in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

And the crop of amateur models that turns up is different in each.

"The girls in San Francisco are great," he says. "They're really into it and get really creative."

Berardi builds loyalty not just with the stylists that come to train with him, but also from the models. Sheena Sisk did her first hair event with him at The Studio back in February. A couple months later, she wanted to chop her long hair off into a super-short, curly 'do.

"I called Nick," she says through a cloud of hair spray. "I knew he was the one I wanted for such a major change."

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