OGDEN -- While most 12-year-old girls were asking for Barbie dolls and music CDs for Christmas, Stephanie Brinkerhoff had a different request in mind.
She asked for a mannequin head.
Brinkerhoff loved styling her friends' hair, but they weren't always available. So for Christmas years ago, she received the mannequin head she so desired, and spent hours with it, creating different hair styles.
"I could never picture myself doing anything else, and I still can't," she said.
Brinkerhoff, now 24, has since made a name for herself in the hair and makeup industry. She is currently a hairstylist at Panache Hair Salon and Boutique in South Ogden and owns her own company, Hair and Makeup by Steph. She also has more than 5 million followers to her company on Pinterest, where she was recently discovered by a national fashion website that invited her to participate in New York City's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2013.
"I was chosen to go to New York by a fashion website called Refinery 29," she said. "They found me through Pinterest, emailed me and told me they wanted to send me as their behind-the-scenes hair and makeup correspondent. I was pretty excited. That's not an email you get every day."
The event, which starts this week, will feature some of the biggest names in fashion, including more than 90 of the world's top designers. Brinkerhoff will be there for four days, documenting hair and makeup trends, taking pictures and creating hair tutorials for Refinery 29.
"I hope to get some tips and tricks from the hairstylists and makeup artists there," she said. "It will be great to see what products they are using, as well as tools."
Brinkerhoff said she also hopes to ask questions and seek out advice from the top experts in her field.
Brinkerhoff was born in Ogden and raised in Layton. She is one of four children born to Clay and Launa Arnell. She is married to Kollin Brinkerhoff.
Brinkerhoff graduated from Taylor Andrews Academy of Hair Design in 2007, earning a licensed cosmetology degree. She is also a certified MAC makeup artist. She said her favorite part about her job is hair and makeup for brides. The most rewarding part of her job is finishing someone's hair and makeup and having their friends and family gush about how beautiful they look.
"Not a lot of stylists like doing bridal work, but for me it's my favorite thing," she said. "I love making people look beautiful, and women love to feel pretty. I love that I get to help them see that in themselves."
Right now, Brinkerhoff said a lot of teenage girls are wearing their hair long and wavy. Teenage boys are going for a shaggy, swept to the side look, or more of a dramatic short cut on the sides blended to long on top.
She gets a lot of requests for Kim Kardashian hair. As for the older crowd, men are wearing a more classic look that's short and really clean on the sides but longer on top. Facial hair is also very popular right now, she said.
Older women are wearing soft bangs and layering around the face with a little bit of curl.
Brinkerhoff said she hopes to make a name for herself as an updo specialist. She has taught a lot of workshops and bridal hair classes and hopes to continue in that direction. She has worked hard to get to where she is today, and said the best advice for others who want to pursue a career in her field is to get their work online.
"The more pictures of your work there are circulating out there, the better," she said. "Also, be patient. It takes time to build your clientele, years even."