An interview with Richie Rivera, North American Color Director

CD: How is it that you started presenting for Vidal Sassoon?

RR: Actually, it began as a mistake. A “Look and Learn” color technique seminar for 75 hairdressers was being run in New York. The color director had to cancel at the last minute. At six hours away, I was the closest fill-in.

CD: Wow. That sounds dramatic. How did it go?

RR: I describe those first 20 minutes as the worst experience of my life. When it was over I told them I would never do it again.

CD: Yet here you are, ten years later leading seminars all over the world for thousands of people and filming high-end demo videos in London. What happened?

RR: Ha! Good question. Well they eased me in slowly and eventually I began to see that I do have a lot of information to share that is really useful to people in this business.

CD: So now, going out in front of large crowds is a piece of cake?

RR: Not at all. I’ve come a long way and I am much more confident and fluid, but the anxiety is still always there. I’ve come to accept that.

CD: So what’s some of the worst presentation advice you have received?

RR: Someone actually said to me, “Don’t worry about what you say because the audience doesn’t understand you anyway.”

CD:  That is just frightening! The best advice?

RR: A European choreographer told me that since I use my hands naturally in conversation, I should use my hands more in front of the camera. That really helped me. She also recommended that I wear a tie to show respect for the audience.

CD: How do you prepare for your presentation?

RR: I eat a banana and peanut butter. I wash my hands and brush my teeth.

CD: When are you happiest when you are in front of a crowd?

RR: When my first sentence is over.

CD: What is your greatest fear as a speaker?

RR: Going blank.

CD: What do you think of as the most overrated speaking virtue?

RR: “Be Yourself.”

CD: Do you have any speaker Pet Peeves?

RR: I’ve seen a lot of overly confident and arrogant colleagues. I think to myself, “People are spending a lot of money to learn from them and this is how they behave?”

CD: What qualities to you look for in a great speaker?

RR: Someone who grabs my attention.

CD: Any speakers that have moved you?

RR: Vidal Sassoon was a fantastic speaker. From his first word, I was captured. He projected calm. He always wore a white shirt and a black ascot.

CD: What is your public speaking motto?

RR: “I hope you guys liked it.”


Richie Rivera, N.A. Color Director and and John Centofanti, Supreme Senior Stylist.  Thank You. -Charlotte