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Meet Trailblazer Cassandra Zetlmaier-Voss

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassandra Zetlmaier-Voss.

Cassandra, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I never thought I would become a hairstylist. My restless spirit always kept me looking for the next adventure, a new experience, wanting to create art or seeking out new music scenes. Nothing could keep my attention for very long. At 19, I found myself trying to figure my next step in life. How was I going to take care of myself as an adult? A friend suggested I should become a hairstylist. They thought that it suited the gypsy artist in me. The idea of going back to the confines of any school was an anxiety-filled task, but I went regardless. After getting my Cosmetology license, I still was totally convinced this was my path. The next logical step for me was to join an assistant program at a salon. I decided to go after one of the more successful salons in the San Diego area. Fear and excitement hit me all at once when I was given the position. My days were long, 10-12hrs, depending on whether I had my additional training that day. I learned so much during that experience. I learned how hard I could work, that I could channel my creativity into hair and how to connect with people on a deeper level. Most of all I learned that being a hairstylist was my path in life. 23 years later, multiple reinventions of my career, a move to another state, I am still loving what I do and once again taking my career in a new direction.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Just like any relationship, a career lasting more than two decades will have its highs and lows. My hardest struggle was 16 years in, I had completely stagnated in my career and my first marriage was falling apart at the same time. I felt like I was punching a clock on everything in my life. I knew that I if I didn’t pivot hard at that moment, my career would stall and I would jeopardize my ability to support myself and my daughter. I needed to revive my creativity and my passion for hair. I made the hard decision to leave the comfort of the salon I worked at with my closest friends. The search for my new salon home leads me to a place where I was surrounded by passionate stylists, that inspired me to push myself and create again…

My advice I would give to other women? Listen to that voice inside you. It’s either in your head or your heart, but you can always hear it. That voice that whispers to you, “you should do that “or “I want that job.” It may say things that you feel you can’t accomplish. If you just listen to it, it will get louder and it will lead you down the path you are meant to be on.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a behind the chair hairstylist for most of the week and a freelance, editorial hairstylist in my off hours. My hope is to someday switch the two. I have been in this industry for a long time, so I can’t say that I specialize in any, one thing. Hair as a fabric is my art. I am constantly seeking out new ways to work with it and manipulate it; that maybe through color, dreadlocks, cutting, or styling. I can say, I am most passionate about styling hair. It doesn’t matter if it’s behind the chair, for a special event, a photo shoot or on a runway. The ways you can turn hair into something that looks more like a sculpture, than hair, is something I can geek out on forever!

What I am most known for, most proud of, and what sets me apart is one and the same… my ability to find connection with the person I am working with. I take time to ask questions, listen and find ways to collaborate to achieve a final result that is authentic to that client, photographer, or stylist. I have come to that place where I understand that ego doesn’t serve your art, working with others does.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
This is a huge question for me. It is a topic I have discussions with people about regularly. I am proud to see, in more recent years, that more women are becoming more visible as leaders in my industry. However, I still see us facing the same barriers in the beauty/fashion/MUA industry that women face in the corporate world. We tend to charge less (are paid less) because we don’t see our value or are worried that clients won’t see our value and continue to come to us. The bar has been set for us on our external image, as well. If we aren’t wearing enough makeup, or the right clothes, the right hair, we easily get passed over for jobs or other opportunities, regardless of our talent. If we decide to have a child, we risk losing a significant amount of our clientele if we take more than eight weeks for maternity leave. These are only a few of the barriers, I see, women face in my industry today.

I would love to see more women embrace the knowledge of their worth. Women need to remember we deserve to own a salon, be an educator, platform artist, session artist, to be a top paid stylist in the salon. Right now, we may have to work a little harder to achieve those goals, than some, but that dividing line is blurring more every day in our industry.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 6199858829
  • Email: czetlmaier@gmail.com
  • Instagram: cassandra_lynn_vosshair
  • Facebook: Cassandra Lynn Hair

Image Credit:
Farrier Photos

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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