Speaking to Artistic Director of
Heading Out Salon and Australia’s number one hairdresser
on a Monday morning was enlightening.
I first thought that the interview was going to
be a rush situation since Caterina had meetings
lined up throughout the day.
When we began the interview, I was impressed on
many different levels.
One; she is a very humble person, and two; after her many years as a
hairdresser, she is still willing to learn new things.
Caterina took a hairdresser
course at the age of 16 and received her diploma.
“Once I completed my diploma I went to work for a
hair salon as a trainee.
So obviously, even though I was qualified, I
worked in a salon, as a hairdresser, as a trainee, and this
company was able to give me the extensive training to
help me on my way.
You know that was in the very, very early days.” It has taken her a lot of years of training and
going to as many courses and seminars, as possible.
Traveling at the age of 22, training even more in
Italy, and taking a course at the Vidal Sassoon in the
United States. She says; “The big turning point for me was at 22
when I went away, as a youngster I traveled the world,
going on holiday, working on holiday around the world; I
realized what I could do with hair dressing and where it
could take me.” Caterina
went back to Australia and continued with more ‘intense
“When I came back, that’s when I really, really put full
attention into my career and worked very, very hard to
be a master of my craft.” Being only 43 and working in the industry for
over 20 years, I’m always impressed with
Last year Caterina won the Hairdresser of the
Year Award. I told her I watched her on the video
her cry as she received her award, I said to myself; I
wonder how she must be feeling being acknowledged in
Australia and named Australia’s number one
I asked her how that makes you feel.
Caterina's response; “Winning the Australia’s
Hairdresser of the Year is the most rewarding thing for
me, as you say. Years and years of work and
determination and working towards the goal because it’s
something that you must work towards.
It is the icing on the cake, with the cherry top.
It is everything that I dreamed of being and
doing, and it does take a lot of time and dedication to
do that because you are number one, and it’s a lot of
work before you actually get your title.”
She continues to tell me why it’s
so important to keep working hard and to keep the
standards high for yourself and for your team.
“The collection is a lot of years of work and
inspiration, you’re working together and also when
you’re putting a collection together like I’ve done in
the last couple of years, each year you raise the bar
because you push it a little bit further cause you have
that little bit more confidence in your ability and
where it’s going to go and you get to work with a great
team of people, but to that, one of my thing is
and raising the bar is really important.
One thing, being in Australia and two, being a female has
so many obstacles in our way and I work very, very hard,
as a female, to be at the top.”
With all her stamina, one has to ask where this
passion and inspiration comes from.
“I work for a very, very powerful man who is very
inspiring, who believes that everything must be perfect
and number one and he doesn’t believe in losing.
So that’s probably my mentor behind me.
My inspiration comes from basically
everything, but it’s the passion and the drive about
wanting to be on top and staying in the game and just
constantly looking and searching for something new and
It is just purely like an adrenaline flowing drug.
Once you have won something, that adrenaline and
that drug, it’s very, very hard not to want something all
the time. So
the passion and drive are the number one thing that
keeps me looking and aspiring, whether it comes from
fashion or different things, but just life in general
and also with my career, I had a little bit of
travel around the world.
Just seeing different things and what we have is
where we get our energy and inspiration from.”
Caterina is involved with L’Oreal
Melbourne Fashion Festival which is coming up March 14th
– March 20th.
She has worked on a number of parades and lots of
different fashion events.
“We have worked with L’Oreal over the years and
obviously with winning the Australian hairdresser of the
year, you basically have to earn your stripes so the
more you do the more proof that you get.
Like a little job that you do by yourself, and
you do it impressive and the reports keep coming through
and you just need to do that so you can say we’ve got a
big job, can you handle it?”
It’s not always just about doing
good hair but it is about building a great reputation
and being recognized in the fashion industry in its
She explains; “It’s not just about L’Oreal; it’s also
about the fashion industry.
Yes, I have to convince them, but I also have to
convince a lot of other people.
You have to have the reputation and the hours to
receive that sort of job because basically, you’re doing
the hair for different designers, so I had to earn the
respect from the industry and outside the industry.
It’s not just about the hairdressing world; it’s
about the respect from editors and fashion people.
That’s what’s really, really important.” Caterina
will be directing the opening shows during fashion week.
She will be
working in the Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and
The parades are sponsored by different designers
Being the Artistic Director at
Heading Out comes with power and responsibility.
“All the photographic and artistic work that gets done
within the company goes under my nose and is approved by me, so my
role is a little bit different because it has to do with
marketing; all the new recruits, my art team is all
trained by me, and all the parades are directed by me.
I might send people out, but I basically train
and then direct out from there to make sure that the
standard of work is kept to an impeccable high.
The head trainer is the overseer of it all so
that it keeps the standard of the brand high.”
my conversation with DiBiase, she has a very clear
understanding of what hard work and dedication is all
about. Her advice to the aspiring
hairdressers/hairstylists is; that the most important
thing is that you don’t know everything, and you have to
keep learning and keep evolving.
She tells me; “Keep changing, it's very important.
You must keep pushing yourself and raising the
bar to stay on top.
To get to the top is one thing, to stay on the
top is another.
So you got to keep challenging yourself and
setting yourself little challenges along the way.
Don’t make too many big targets, but small ones
along the way will help you go up the ladder.
Try to be involved in as many things as possible
and try to volunteer yourself to learn from other people,
if possible, is a great thing.
Everyone has something to teach.
‘Education is the most important thing.’
The really important thing is that hard work
really does pay off and if you love what you do it’s not
Caterina added, “There are short cuts, if you want a
Continuing the interview, I asked
her what she wants to be known for.
“I want to be known as Australia’s number one
hairdresser and I want to be known as a business woman,
because it’s not just about the glory of beautiful hair
and fashion and all of that, which I love, it’s about
fashion hair, cut and color, but it’s also about raising
the standard of hairdressing in Australia and that’s one
of my passions, also, the business side of it.
It’s very, very passionate to me and that’s one of
the things that I am known for; is that, I am a
multi-task woman, like most women are.
I want to be remembered as the number one hair
person, but my biggest motto is, I never say
there is no such word as
‘no’ in my vocabulary, there’s
always a way.