Childhood dream leads Payne to national honors

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By Mallory Bilger

HILLVIEW ee" Since she was very young, Shepherdsville native Jana Payne couldn’t imagine herself being anything else but a professional hair stylist.

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, since I was a little girl, I’ve been trying to braid Barbie Doll’s hair,” she said.

It was a childhood dream that has turned in to a very successful reality for Payne, who recently won several regional and national awards through her employer, Fantastic Sams.

Payne is employed at the Fantastic Sams on Mud Lane where she joined the team after graduating from the Hair Design School in Fern Creek.

After just two short years in the profession, she has been recognized several times in the Fantastic Sams 2008 and 2009 Artistic Styling Awards.

Payne and her friend and co-worker, Traci Judson, both entered the 2009 contest, which put stylists head-to-head with competition from across the nation.

Both girls recruited models and did their hair, makeup and coordinated their outfits. Then a professional photographer took several photos of each model. The photos were then submitted for the company’s regional and national contests.

Payne was awarded first place in the categories of artistic color, artistic cut and style and avant garde ee" which celebrates a stylist’s willingness to try something daring or radical.

“I really enjoy color. It’s a really good way to show your talent,” Payne said.

Judson, Payne’s co-worker, received first place for artistic glamour. Payne said she wouldn’t be such an accomplished stylist so early if it wasn’t for her co-workers contributions.

“Traci’s help was very important. I was totally excited. We really had to step out of the box,” she said.

Payne was awarded trophies, $250 and an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, Nev., in September 2010 for the company’s national convention.

Payne said she applied the same concepts to her contest models that she does to her daily clientele. Selecting hair colors that shine and creating a great cut that compliments the customer are both important, she said.

“It’s really helpful when your customers give you no boundaries. But I want my customers to like it too. If they love their hair, it shows,” she said.

Payne’s manager, Donna Hayden, has been working with stylists for many years. She said Payne has excelled as a stylist in a very short time period and deserved to be recognized.

“To do what she’s done is just amazing,” Hayden said. “(Payne and Judson) are just very artistic. They’re artists and they love to show off their work.”

Payne hopes to never stop advancing as a stylist and looks forward to learning something new each day. She said the help and encouragement of her Fantastic Sams team, especially from Judson, has helped her quickly acquire knowledge and become a young, successful stylist.

“I really feel like it wasn’t just me. Traci is a huge encouragement to me. She’s taught me so much,” Payne said.