Jessica Valtierra Taylor & Pond

As Told By: Jessica Valtierra from Taylor & Pond

Last updated on: 2018

As Told By

Meet Jessica Valtierra

From legal assistant, to corporate HR, to a salon hairstylist, Jessica Valtierra is a jack of all trades. In her current role as creative stylist at Taylor & Pond, she takes inspiration from fashion, art and literature and competition reality shows like Project Runway and Glam Masters and turns it into a multitude of styles and looks for client shoots. Get to know Jessica and learn more about how her past jobs prepared her for a career in the beauty industry, her hair tips and tricks and what a day in her life looks like!

1. How did you first get your start in hairstyling and the beauty industry?

After the company I was with was downsizing, I thought back to a time a friend invited me to her cosmetology school for a drastic hair makeover challenge (I never have the same hair, no one ever recognizes me, and I still can’t stop!). I showed up at Paul Mitchell the School in downtown San Diego and I could hear the music bumping from outside the building. I walked in to what felt like a hundred cool girls in all black working with clients, with teachers, collaborating and creating. I never forgot my experience there as a client and longed to work creatively. I feel really lucky to have a supportive wife who urged me to follow my dream, go back to school and design a creative career for myself. I use my previous experience every day at Taylor & Pond working with our Creative Director, the creative team, scheduling shoots, meeting with clients, and joining internal creative meetings to plan content. I also get to shop for wardrobe, set design and props for a lot of our shoots!

2. What aspects of having a career in hairstyling helped you transition into styling for photo shoots and brands in the beauty industry?

I worked in salons for years; I assisted senior stylists and worked behind the chair taking all types of clients and honing my craft. I took classes and opened a salon studio with one of my favorite mentors. I never say no, and I think that mentality has carried me far. Doing hair and makeup for weddings taught me a lot about time management when performing hair and makeup services. Styling for photoshoots is very time sensitive. The photographers, videographers and crew count on you to perform your job in a certain amount of time while maintaining creativity and working in unique environments. My favorite aspect of being a session stylist is that no shoot is the same. Each shoot has a special vibe, style and outcome that stretches and challenges my creativity, which is so rewarding!

Jessica Valtierra quote

3. What does a typical day in your life look like?

A typical day at Taylor & Pond can start out with setting up for a photoshoot, getting my SMA (Sanitary Maintenance Area) set up with our clients’ products, working off of a pre-production checklist (I’m admittedly hyper-organized) to be sure that the right products are being showcased for the shoot, that they’re in the right shades for the corresponding model, etc. After setting up, I assist the photographer or director with the subject, whether I’m tucking a stray hair back in or adjusting makeup to the lighting or environment. I feel really lucky to collaborate with people I can learn from every day; I learn something new on every set I step onto! The day might finish with a meeting about an upcoming client shoot or a new client’s potential mood board.

4. How would you describe your own personal style?

I have a pretty eclectic style. Right now, I’m obsessed with ‘french girl style’, bring on little straw bags and fisherman caps inspired by Jane Berkin and Bridgette Bardot. I tend to stick to the same basic garments, like a black or white tee with vintage denim and switch the style up with jackets, shoes and accessories. I’d say a unique aspect of my daily fashion is vintage. I am an avid picker and collector of vintage designer pieces plucked from thrift stores or estate sales. If you ask me where I got something I most likely answer, “It’s vintage!” which can be received with excitement or, more commonly incredible disappointment for the person asking. I’m also inspired by street style. I love seeing a woman on the street with a unique style that’s all her own. I not-so-secretly would love to start a street style blog in San Diego (as a San Diego native I have home town fashion pride)!

5. What’s your go to beauty product? And what turned you on to being a lover of it?!

I’m a total Glossier girl. I have no shame to admit that the overall brand styling, model imagery and my obsession with the companion beauty blog, Into the Gloss, made it a pretty easy sell. What has kept me a fan is the product performance! I also love wet n wild. I’ve been wearing their makeup since I was 15 years old because my Californian hippie mom knew they didn’t test on animals! You can spend a lot or very little money on beauty products; it’s the confidence, beauty within and creativity you use the product with that truly matters!

6. Who has inspired and supported you in your career?

I knew when I was going to school that I was going to take the knowledge and run with it as far as I could. I thought if not now, when? I have hustled hard and followed my gut on a lot of decisions along the way and I think it makes me the #girlboss I am today! My wife and mom are my constant support system and always make me feel like ‘I can’.

7. Can you share your best hair styling hack and production styling hack with our readers?

I’d say my favorite styling hack is braiding! To be honest, I wasn’t too agile in braiding class in cosmetology school. At first your brain tries to force your hands what to do and you really have practice, practice, relax and try to let your hands do the work, and practice some more. I love all different braids, especially for shoots because they’re versatile and maintain texture in the hair. A director or photographer could ask you to do several hair styles in one shoot and you have to be armed with tools to switch a look up in minutes!

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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Becca Mulhill
Becca is a copywriter, copy editor, and content manager at Taylor & Pond. Originally from Montana, she has a passion for the outdoors as well as good books, grammar, coffee, and the Oxford comma. In her spare time, Becca enjoys doing crosswords, taking spin classes, watching sports, and spending time with good friends.