This was my second year at The BTC show in Texas. Last year was held in Austin and was an incredible experience. I honestly wondered to myself how the BTC Team could top it, but why on earth did I even wonder such a thing as this years show blew last years out the water. Its so good not only to see your own self growth but to be part of a huge show and see how such a huge company can still grow from strength to strength. That in itself is inspiring and gives me huge motivation to realise that we should never stop pushing for bigger and better outcomes.
So I arrived in San Antonio after what only I could describe as a never ending journey. Leaving at 5am from Newcastle and arriving 30 hours later in San Antonio which was around 1am. I was looking forward to a massive lie in but on arrival I received a certain message from Matty Conrad kindly informing me that rehearsals for his show started early doors. So with little sleep I bounced out of bed and the next few days proved to be pretty insane and most certainly worth the tired eyes.
The first morning in San Antonio, myself and Rob Braid was up at the crack of dawn and headed down to meet the crew. I got asked by Matty Conrad to be used as a model on stage for Victory Barber and Brand and didn’t have to think twice about accepting his invite as Mark Bustos the man about town was the guy who was going to be cutting my mop on stage. Its safe to say that his skills are smoother then a chocolate fondue. Once rehearsals went well we moved onto the Main Stage rehearsals which gave me an insight to the magnitude of the show. After this we ended up filming for what was going to be an unreal intro video for the main show on Monday. You have to see the video on my Facebook page to get a gist as there are no words that does the 8 minute video clip justice, it's just pure genius and created by the man who is cooler then the film happy feet and who also gave up his dungarees, Ian Locke.
After we had worked through rehearsals and everyone seemed comfortable with the running order it was time to let loose at the pool party. Now I’ve been lucky enough to attend a fair few pool parties but this hotel’s pool and its facilities were second to none. The hotel and the grounds were huge. The music, the cocktails, the slides, the lazy river and rubber dingy’s along with 500 inflatable balls went down a treat let alone partying with some of the most fun and happiest people on the planet. Certainly made Saturday the 25th Aug 2018 an afternoon to remember.
Saturday evening came and we headed straight to the room to freshen up from the pool party as we had to get our glad rags on for the nominations party. Still floating through my jet lag and with hardly any sleep, it still did not damper any of Saturday night antics. With drinks flowing amongst 600 finalist and an awesome speech from Mary which saw Quin deservedly take the stage got everyone pumped up and this then just kicked started the show in pure style. Being around such incredible individuals helps anyone feel on top of the world.
The location for this years show really did excel anything I’ve experienced before. The venue for the show, the set up, the attention to detail, the branding, the ideas and inspiration were all out of this world. Not only to put on a show of that magnitude but to design the whole floor plan including spray painted logos on the path leading to the pool clearly indicated the thought process behind this event. Not one thing was missed and I honesty think everyone in the hairdressing world should experience this show. It is by far one of the best in the world without a shadow of a doubt.
The evening of the award ceremony was finally upon us. I genuinely did not speak with Mr Braid or anyone about being a finalist as I was just loving life out there and was so happy to be making new friends and new connections. Being nominated was a huge bonus and was so grateful for my 2nd nomination 2 years in a row. Not one part of me though ever had a “what if I won” moment”! It didn’t even cross my mind. So with a few whiskeys down and my dancing shoes on the award ceremony got under way. I decided to stand and watch the awards unfold from the side lines due to my inability to sit still for more then 2 minutes. Pati can vouch for my hyper self as I'm sure I was driving her crazy by the end of the trip haha. My ADHD and super high energy levels makes my life insanely difficult to concentrate at times especially when filled with excited. I’m like a school girl at her first prom on acid that just cant contain her shit (this is annoyingly why I cant go to the cinema or watch films in one go). Anyway, before my category was up, to my delight Haley asked me to present an award for the 2nd year running and I could not have asked for a better partner in crime to present an award with. The awesome and insanely knowledgable Kristan Serafino rocked up back stage and to our amazement had managed to colour coordinate our outfits. I must admit backstage with this wonder women was so much fun and I cant wait to see what outfits we bust out next year. After the honour and buzz of presenting an award I was on cloud 9. The adrenaline and the atmosphere from 4,000 people was just phenomenal. It could not get much better then that moment, right?!
How wrong was I….. My category popped up and before I knew it I was named in the top 5. That for me was more then enough and I was so happy. The next announcement as the crowd silenced was my name. I just didn’t quite get what was going on and the walk to the stage is actually a memory blank. All I can remember all of a sudden was standing in front of bright white lights trying to talk and seeing Matty Conrad run on stage to lift the mic up as no one could here me. Looking back maybe people were best off not hearing me as I do recall calling everyone “weridos”. In fact and I quote “I love this show as it makes me feel less weird hanging around with lots of weirdos”. Not my finest quote, however it was certainly meant in the best possible way directing it at 4,000 unbelievably creative people and lets face it us creatives are a little bit mental haha.
The whole speech to be fair was a big blur and I had not a single thing prepared because I simply just did not expect to win this incredible accolade.
“The International Big Shot Award for Mens Shot of the Year 2018”
Once we came off stage the celebrations began, and what celebrations they were. I want to mention Matty Conrad as he won the same category but for North America. I met the bearded coffee fanatic last year in Austin and ever since became great pals. Sharing this win with Matty certainly made it even more memorable. At this point in San Antonio, I was about to lose my marbles with sleep deprivation and with great disappointment the night came to an end and I called it a night and headed for bed to capture a few precious hours of shut eye.
So the morning after the night before was here and it was my turn to model on stage for Victory Barber and Brand and get my mop chopped by Mark Bustos. Famos was Pope The Barbers model and Mark Peyton was Matty’s model. All of these guys are insanely talented but more so incredible human beings and I honestly thank each and every one of them. The show was a huge success and my haircut from Mark was even better, cheers mate. Again a memory made that wont be forgotten.
Monday evening came around so quick and that meant 1 thing….. PYJAMA PARTY!!
This was the perfect way to unwind as everyone just let loose and literally partied in their PJ’s whilst ate loads of sweets and got an immense sugar rush. I absolutely love Behind The Chair and especially this event as it really is a show where 4,000 people come together, who are all inspiring and creative geniuses yet so very very down to earth. There was such a great vibe last year and an even bigger and better vibe this year. I want to thank Mary, Quin and Haley from Behind The Chair for creating a life changing event and throwing one hell of a party. What a team the BTC crew are and I really hope you all know just how much you help others in every way from all over the world.
Next year is in Washington DC and has already been booked out, I may add Kevin Luchmun might just possibly maybe make an appearance after crying on the phone to me the entire time because he was missing out. Until then Thank You from the bottom of my heart to every single person who made my trip to San Antonio worth while.
PS @Queenofthesouth512 - Pati, you deserve a special mention as you are a truly inspiring lady with your story and your energy empowers everyone! This show creates real friends whom share their story with pride!!!
Mr Sam Wall