dd3At Volt we’re always curious about new talent. We’re also big fans of SHOWstudio, Nick Knight’s award-winning fashion website. Which is why we leapt at the opportunity to profile four recent alumni of the Mastered programs. Mastered is a four month online program that gives you the opportunity to be taught by industry heavyweights such as Knight himself, Sam McKnight, Val Garland and Tim Blanks amongst others. Once enrolled, Mastered is committed to providing you with the right insight and opportunities, but also to hook you up with their network of creatives so you can collaborate and create your best work ever while learning from people who are at the peak of their profession. Working with this extensive list of industry people means the pressure is on; none of that laid-back college approach where you have months to turn around a project. As places on each program are extremely limited you’re more likely to be seen by their industry experts and get meaningful feedback on the work you create during your enrolment. A quick glance on the list of people involved should make your heart beat a lot faster as it is chock-full of serious heavyweights – no wonder they demand commitment, passion, versatility and above all, talent, from potential students. But it will pay off, the feedback from the first batch of alumni tells happy tales of work published in magazines and the excitement of your work being name checked by Vivienne Westwood!

First up is Hair Stylist Diane Dusting.

dd2Who are you and what is your background?

I am from Sydney, Australia, now residing in Venice, California, where I’ve lived from November 2014 to present with my partner and 10-year-old son.
Just turned 45, which I always thought would be too old to be doing what I am doing.
My schooling finished in Grade 10 and I always saw myself working in the beauty industry in some shape or form. Even at age of five I just loved the buzz of walking into a salon, seeing all these crazy people with fabulous hair colours and cuts creating masterpieces on their clients.
Twiggy had a ‘Mushroom’ Vidal Sassoon hair cut and I saw this in a magazine so cut my hair off at age six exactly like it.
In the late 1980’s I started hairdressing as an apprentice at age 16, at a high-end salon in Sydney’s fashionable Paddington district. Val Garland had a salon at the time in Sydney called Garland & Garland. Val’s team of stylists was cutting edge so I always attended their education classes. She oozed style and inspired me to try make-up as well.
Education in hair has played an important part of my life. Increasing my creativity on that level is the reason why I did the Mastered Program.
I have been freelancing for the last 18 years as a hair stylist, mainly working in print/fashion, red carpet and now a lot of video content.
I came to LA for a sea change and to broaden my career opportunities.

What attracted you to Mastered?

Val Garland and Sam McKnight have been icons for me for as long as I can remember. The vast range of opportunities Mastered offers and the fact I was able to partake in the first online hair program of this nature that holds such creditability. The content was above and beyond to what I expected.

dd1Did you have any concerns about the online aspect?

No, for me it was the deadlines that were tricky – especially the briefs and the different time zones made it harder to get the work done.

Was it easy to ask questions and get feedback?

I welcome feedback. If the whole world loves your art piece then you would think to yourself there has to be something wrong, This was the best part of the course – the way it was structured so that there was social media within the Mastered hair community. I was able to see how all the other artists grew in their talent and love of their craft.

Did you feel you could access it any time of the day?


What was your best moment during the program?

There are so many! To name one my best project was the Allure brief, I had my profile showcased alongside nine very talented Mastered hair stylists.

And your worst?

I’d have to say the Garage brief, I had a creative block, I did not get it… But then I left it for a few days and came back to it with vengeance and produced a shoot that looked cool in the end.

Do you feel the kind of work do you do has changed after being exposed to a very demanding, high-end fashion world through Mastered?

Yes, I am used to working on a fast paced shoot, but there were a few emotional moments of joy and some meltdowns.

What was it like to have Sam McKnight as your mentor?

Helped me grow my craft.

dd4How do you feel the program on the whole has worked for you?

I have loved all the live Q + A sessions and being to able take part of the conversation within the interviews. Having my work critiqued by the beauty pros has boosted my confidence. I have a lot of gratitude for the team behind Mastered who have been so consistent with providing positive feedback on our skills and much more.

And finally, what are you working on next?

Updating my website with all the new content I have from Mastered Hair Program, collaborating with some of the Mastered photographers who have approached me to work on the their projects. Looking for a new agent.

Mastered has openings for new programs, all of varying length and cost. Check out the website here. Be brave! Take that jump.

Words by Anna Bang


anna bang, Diane Dusting, Nick Knight, Sam McKnight, SHOWstudio, Tim Blanks, Val Garland, vivienne westwood,