Shawn Finch started his hairstyling career by working on troll dolls.
He was 6 and he would cut, style and trim the wild, colorful locks of the tiny plastic dolls and then search out his mother to show her his work.
“I would say, ‘Hey Mom, look at what I did!’ And she would say, ‘That’s amazing, go do another one,’ ” he said. “I always thought she was impressed, but she was really trying to get me out of her hair.”
Finch, the longtime owner and main stylist at Biquor & Biquor of Beverly Hills, which closed last year after two decades in Santa Rosa, has made a career of getting into people’s hair. On Saturday, he will walk down the red carpet at the 2014 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, the fifth time he has been so honored.
He hopes that this nomination, for his work on the reality TV show “The Voice,” will earn him his first victory.
“I’m the Susan Lucci of creative Emmys,” Finch said, a reference to the daytime soap actress who received 19 Emmy nominations before winning in 1999. “But I’m just honored to be nominated — there are so many talented people in this business. I know people say it all the time, but it’s true.”
Finch was born and raised in San Jose before his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when he was a teenager. The family stayed for three years and then moved back to California, landing in Sonoma County just as Finch was set to begin high school.
From his days styling the hair of his troll dolls, Finch wanted to be a stylist and announced his intention to his parents. He learned the craft in large part by working on his own hair, which he let grow long. Eventually, friends would ask him to do their hair.
“My hair was long and the girls would see what I did with mine and ask me to do theirs,” he said. “I was cut and coloring everybody.”
He went to Rancho Cotate High for a year before going to Piner High School as a sophomore, and then dropped out to pursue his dream. At least that was the plan. But Finch’s father, a university professor, insisted that he go to college and get a degree first.
“I told him I wanted to be the hairstylist to the stars. I told him that from as far back as I remember,” said Finch, 52, who now splits his time between Los Angeles and Santa Rosa. “He thought it was a pipe dream, basically, and he wanted me to have something to fall back on.”
But nobody said he couldn’t do what his father wanted and still follow his dream too. He dropped out of high school and, he says, passed a high school equivalency test. Then, he enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College before eventually attending San Francisco State and Sonoma State to complete a degree in communications with a minor in psychology. He was only 20 when he graduated and almost immediately, he started classes at the Redwood Empire Beauty College, doing so well they asked him to stay on and teach after he graduated.
Finch began working at a salon in Santa Rosa and then in 1985, at the age of 23, opened Biquor & Biquor of Beverly Hills with a partner. His clientele grew, but he never lost the dream to actually make it in Los Angeles.