interviews, reality TV, Shear Genius

Interview with Shear Genius Eliminated Contestant Faatemah!


Did you see last night’s Shear Genius? It was a super amazing episode, as always. Ken Paves pops up for the Shortcut Challenge, and the stylists have to give extensions to men–with varying degrees of success. The Elimination Challenge forces the stylists to work in teams, although Brig works alone because no one likes her. They style models for sexhay romance novel covers, and Mathew and Janine’s team wins. Yay! With Mathew winning top prize for the night. Sadly, one of my favorites, Faatemah, is sent home, when clearly Adee should have gotten the boot for not even completing the Shortcut Challenge, almost puking on his client, swearing at the judges like 20 times and being and all around a-hole. However, adorable and funny Faatemah gets the boot. When will reality shows learn we’d rather watch people like HER? Upside? I got to interview Faatemah today! And she was totally hilarious and majorly, majorly dishy on the phone! She gives gooooood interview, you guys. We covered everything from Adee, Jonathan Antin, Brig and she even name-checks her lipstick shade! You can’t get any better than that. This interview is super juicy, so check it out. And check back each week for my interview with Shear Genius’s eliminated contestant!

Hair on the Brain: What was it like working with Adee in the Elimination Challenge? He was kind of difficult throughout the episode….

Faatemah: Adee is always difficult. That’s not an act, that’s just who he is. He was quite the complainer, always an excuse, but you know, that’s Adee. He suffered from food poisoning the day before, and as soon as Mathew told me he was my teammate, I thought I was going to be sick! So, yeah. Not my favorite match up! But you know, it is what it is. He’s a drama king.

HOTB: The whole episode it seemed like Adee was going to be the one to go home.

Faatemah: I don’t like to dwell on negativity, so I’m just going to do my random rant and then I’m done. I thought Adee was really disrespectful to the judges—standing up there saying F-this and this and that. I think that’s really, really bad. We all put ourselves in the position to stand there and take it. I was taking it like a man! Why couldn’t he? I owned up to my shortcomings, and I took responsibility for my work. I thought [what he did] was rude and disrespectful.

HOTB: I liked that you tried something different with your model’s hair during the “romance novel” Elimination Challenge. It seemed like everyone else did curls or waves on the female models.

Faatemah: Well, I was trying to do something different. First of all, I have never in my life seen a romance novel cover. My life is filled with biographies, fashion magazines, empowerment books, and the bible. I grew up in a really conservative, Christian home. I’m just that kind of Midwestern girl, and pornography and romance novels are just not on my list of quick reads. Nothing against people that read it! I just had no point of reference. So my strategy was, OK, what’s Adee’s vision? I was going to roll with that. And the second thing: I quickly looked around the room and saw that everyone was doing long, spiral curls. So I thought, I’m going to do something different. If anyone knows anything about my work or my personality, different is what I do; Innovative is what I do. I take risks and I win awards for taking risks. Unfortunately, taking risks in this challenge didn’t pay off because it didn’t translate to the task at hand. I think my shortcoming was that without that point of reference of what romance novels look like, I had no idea I was taking it too far.

HOTB: So, do you think your hair was the worst?

Faatemah: No, I didn’t get bleach in someone’s eye. I didn’t give them an interracial snowman. And my “George Washington” hair looked so much better than Amy’s mullet. (Laughs.) That ‘80s trailer trash that she gave him… [During the Shortcut Challenge]. Was it the worst that they’d seen? Absolutely not. But was it mediocre for that day? Yeah. It was not my most stellar work and not what I’m known for. But I did the best that I could with the information I had, the time I had, and the partner I had. I can’t think of what I would have done differently. It is what it is. I had an off day and unfortunately my off day was on national TV, and it cost me $100,000. I don’t think it was the worst though. I was shocked to go home.

How Adee should have gone home, how Brig is crazy (like a fox), how Jonathan Antin is all curling irons and fans, and what Faatemah hopes her mom doesn’t read! All after the break!

HOTB: Do you think Adee should have gone home last night?

Faatemah: (Pauses.) You know, I do. Just on disrespect alone.

HOTB: I thought so too.

Faatemah: Some of it is about the work and some of it is about the fact that he went too far with [the disrespect]. And I thought it was really interesting that I said something about not having a point of reference for the romance novels and Jonathan [Antin] just shot me down, “No excuses!” And I was like, but Adee can stand up here and say F-this, F-that, F-you? I thought that was kind of rude. I was like, where is all this rage coming from? As a woman, I’m sensitive to a man talking down to me, and as an African-American person, I’m more sensitive about people yelling at me. It took everything in my power, when you just see me standing there quiet, to contain myself. Itt took everything in my power to just be graceful. You can’t fight fire with fire, and I don’t like to respond to rage with rage. I’m really proud of myself, and I think I was really graceful in my exit. I don’t think it was fair, but life isn’t fair.

HOTB: I thought you came across really well throughout the show. You seemed really normal and funny, and you looked great on TV! I was bummed that you got eliminated.

Faatemah: Unfortunately, I think I was too normal. I should have acted up and kicked something over.

HOTB: Well, that’s how it goes on reality TV.

Faatemah: It’s good TV. That’s Adee though. They didn’t pay him to act like that.

HOTB: Speaking of characters, is what we see of Brig on TV really her personality? Is she for real?

Faatemah: I don’t know if I want to comment on that. I think Brig is getting way too much airtime.

HOTB: She’s on every five seconds!

Faatemah: OK, let me just give you one thing on Brig because I don’t like to give her the energy. I’m a real hairdresser, I win awards, I do hair for magazines, I take my job very seriously, and I took the show very seriously. There are some real hairdressers on that show, and I keep thinking, why is Brig here? It makes everything we do a mockery. I thought it was ridiculous for her to hold shears and do haircuts. I mean, it’s dangerous. She made my job look like a buffoonery; she’s a clown. I have no respect for Brig. Is that really Brig? No, I think Brig is crazy like a fox. She watches a lot of reality TV and she’s got her character down. As stupid as many people think she is, I think she really might be quite brilliant.

HOTB: Getting back to Jonathan Antin for a minute, besides him blowing up before your elimination, were there any other major interactions with him that stand out?

Faatemah: Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan… Coming from the world where I do hair, Jonathan shouldn’t have been on that stage judging me. I don’t look at him as my peer. I don’t know how you want to interpret that, but I would rather Orlando [Pita] be sitting on that stage and telling me: Faatemah, that sucks. Because Orlando is brilliant. He does what I do. Not discounting Jonathan, I really want to be careful about that. What I’m saying is for what Jonathan does, he doesn’t even have a point of reference. I don’t know if he would understand [what I’m doing.] I said this in my Bravo exit interview too, I’m known for innovating looks, doing something different, pioneering. So is Orlando. When people don’t have a point of reference for that, sometimes they dismiss it and say, Oh that sucks, or they just don’t understand it. I was saying in my exit interview that when Van Gogh and Picasso first presented their work, what must the world have thought? Because they had no point of reference. Other artists were probably like, what is that? That is weird. But now we think it’s brilliant. And I’m not saying that I’m Picasso or Van Gogh, but what I’m saying is that what I do is art, and it’s open to interpretation. Jonathan would never understand what I am doing. He just curls hair and puts a fan on it. He does Hollywood/LA hair. I don’t do celebrities. I do covers and magazines and models, but my world is different. I don’t want to live in Beverly Hills and do some 90210 stars. I want to do Lady Gaga’s hair. I want to do icons. But, you know, doing celebrities has never been important to me. Making art and being fulfilled is. So I never really took what Jonathan said to heart. And I thought that he had a lot of arrogance for someone that I don’t admire that much. I thought, wow, who are you to tell me that I can’t give you an excuse?

HOTB: That’s kind of his thing.

Faatemah: I’m going to be really honest and say I’ve never even seen his show [Blow Out]. And when he first came out to talk to us he was like, I’m sure you guys know me. And I was like, no. I don’t know you. I don’t know him; I’ve never seen his show. I’ve heard his name and I’ve heard things about him, but I never form my opinions based on what other people say. But now I understand why people say what they say. He’s cute though. He’s got good style.

HOTB: Who are your favorites on the show?

Faatemah: I think Janine and Mathew rock. But then my underdog is Jon, because Jeanine and Mathew have the skill where they do what I do. They’ve been nominated for awards, and I think Mathew has won some. They do sexy magazine shoots and runway. And here is Jon, this little guy from Kansas—this Jewish kid who is doing updos with forks. To get on the show, he did an updo with a fork, he told me! He is quite brilliant. He’s bomb. He was my makeup artist. We didn’t have hair and makeup artists on the show, so he did my hair and makeup.

HOTB: I actually really liked your makeup, so he did a good job!

Faatemah: He did! Faatemah doesn’t know how to do makeup, but I was blessed with a permanent tan. I have flawless skin; I never break out or anything. But one thing I learned from the show… I don’t know if it is appropriate for me to say it, but Jon taught me that my big lips are good for two things—blowjobs and red lipstick!

(Pause while we both crack up.)

Faatemah: I feel bad that I’m even saying this. I hope my mom doesn’t read this interview! But I love red lipstick now. Being a woman of color and having full lips, I always did nudes. But he painted me down everyday.

HOTB: That’s so funny because I was re-watching last night’s episode for this interview, and I kept noticing your lipstick! I was wondering if it would be weird to ask you the shade in this interview. Obviously not!

Faatemah: I was MAC Russian Red. Jon bought that lipstick for me and I still own it. We’re really good friends. Mathew did my makeup too—they took turns.

Thanks so much, Faatemah!!


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