Alumni Spotlight: Athena Alberto

Athena Alberto has been having a pretty tremendous 2016 and it’s not just because she graduated from the Santa Monica TONI&GUY Hairdressing Academy this past April. She has also nabbed herself some serious hairdresser cred by landing a job with one of the most wanted hairstylists in LA before she even graduated her program. On top of that, she walked away from Creative Release with a pretty big honor: She took home the Photographic Award for Best Student Total Look. Clearly, this girl is going places.



The aforementioned accomplishments do not even begin to speak to the impressive accolades already under Alberto’s belt. She caught our eye back in August when she was featured as a guest stylist on The Zoe Report’s Facebook Live stream. She landed this spot through her mentor and boss, Lee Rittiner for whom she assists both at Alen-M salon on Melrose and for shoots and session work. Rittiner is a beauty adviser for The Zoe Report and referred Alberto for the Facebook Live hair tutorial.



Alberto didn’t get to where she is by accident. In fact, it was completely on purpose. She used the power of social media to connect with Rittiner and show him what she could do on the salon floor.


While participating in a photoshoot at Alen-M salon while attending the Santa Monica academy, Alberto immediately knew that she could see herself working there.


Following the photoshoot, she took to Instagram to find everyone who worked there and gave them a follow. Alberto specifically had her eye on Rittiner because of his impressive portfolio and list of specialties. He not only produces exceptional cuts but also works on photoshoots, fashion weeks and music videos and that was the type of work that Alberto had hoped to pursue. So she began tagging him in every photo she posted to Instagram showing the work she was doing at the TONI&GUY academy to get Rittiner’s attention.



Then, in November of last year, all of her diligent tagging paid off when Rittiner left a comment on one of her photos asking where she worked. That led to a phone conversation where Rittiner offered her a job on the spot, despite still having nearly 6 months left of her cosmetology program.


Since being hired by Rittiner, Alberto has not only gained an impressive clientele but has worked on photoshoots, traveled to Miami Fashion Week to style hair for two of the featured designers and a cover shoot for Sapere Magazine, to name just a few of her professional achievements. She also travels to New York and Miami with Rittiner regularly to work at the Alen-M salons there.



“It feels amazing to be where I am so early in my career,” said Alberto. “I know it’ll only get bigger. Graduating from TONI&GUY definitely helped me get to where I am now.”



The TONI&GUY family is so proud to see one of our own excelling so spectacularly at such an early stage of her career. We can’t wait to see all that Athena continues to accomplish in the future. Congratulations to Athena on all of her successes and on her Photographic Awards win!