• HairStylist Spotlight: Sarah Potempa

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    • How long have you been in the hair business? I have been in the hair industry for over 15 years! I started shampooing at a small salon in my hometown in high school and was obsessed with braiding and creating photo shoots with my little sister as my model!
    • What made you come up with the idea for the beach waver? As a celebrity hairstylist I was continually asked by clients, friends, and beauty editors how to get the “beachy” wave. I tried to teach them how to use a curling iron by holding it backwards and upside down, but it was always really difficult to get the look yourself. I thought, there must be a better way! I sketched out the idea for a curling iron that you could hold upright and it would create the same pattern as wrapping. My sister and I then began a three year research and development process to create the Beachwaver Pro, the rotating curling iron!
    • What was your first step in getting it started? Research! We worked with a whole team of designers, engineers and 3D printing companies to create a prototype based on my original sketch.
    • What was a crucial decision you had to make in the beginning and how did you not let it define your business?  We had to make the decision to outsource to a design firm or research and create everything ourselves. My sister and I are adventurous, curious, and hard-working and opted to learn as much as we could to complete the process ourselves.  This was an incredible challenge that created a strong foundation to grow into a successful business.

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    • How did you attain your first big retail account? I was working with clothing designer Rachel Zoe when she was launching her collection on QVC.  At the time, I had the idea for an easier curling iron.  During one of her promotional TV segments, Rachel urgently needed two models to wear her clothes and show off her jewelry in New York City.  Since I was there with her already, she asked me to go on camera!  I had never modeled before and rarely wore 5 inch heels.  Needless to say, this was an interesting day.  I got to know the marketing director from QVC that day and started talking to him about my idea for a curling iron that rotated to make it easy for you to get celebrity looking waves. He loved the idea and the next time I saw him with Rachel he introduced me to an event planner that was bringing talent in to QVC.  Once we had our prototype ready, we met with the beauty buyers and they loved it!
    • Were you nervous the first time going on QVC? I was really excited and at the time didn’t know much about the process. We had booked three models to demo the Beachwaver on camera and one of these models was one of my best friends that I had studied abroad with, Jamin! She kept me calm and was practicing with me backstage before the show! Luckily, I had two beauty shows that day so we got to go on air 2 times the first day! They estimated a new company gets 5-6 airings in the first year and we ended up with close to 50! Now I love going live!

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    • What would be the top 3 most important things when launching your business? Research, patience, and dedication.
    • How much time do you devote to styling hair as your business grows? I style hair everyday, whether it’s a celebrity, my sister or myself. I honestly love it and feel so lucky that I have a career that is so creative and such a unique form of art.  On Instagram, I started my New Year’s resolution on January 1 to create 365 days of braids for no reason other than I love styling hair!

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    • Have you had an “epic fail” yet and how would you say it has made you and your team stronger? Selling out too fast! Understanding logistics and shipping has been a huge learning curve for us and has taught us so much about the world! We now appreciate getting our mail quickly, the intricacies of groceries being available, and all of the hard-working people that help our society function.
    • As a stylist, who has been your favorite celebrity client to work with? I love clients that are open to creative and new hairstyles. Lea Michele loves when I do braids and intricate updos and Jaime King is always up for a strong “look,” inspired by  her years in fashion! Honestly, each job and every celebrity is unique and it always ends up being a fun, collaborative effort with the makeup artist and the clothing stylist!
    • What client or job was your “ I made it” moment?  The time I flew to Alaska to do a photo shoot in the glaciers and on top of the mountains was an incredible experience that fulfilled my dream of traveling and styling hair! The best part was after I returned from the trip they decided they wanted to shoot more photos at the beach in Costa Rica! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was and truly felt in that moment that I had a dream job.
    • What are your favorite styling products? I love Aussie! I’ve worked with them for over 9 years and love how versatile and lightweight the products are. There are multiple benefits in a lot of the products, like a mouse that has a built in conditioner and a dry shampoo that has built in volumizer.
    • What are your favorite brushes? My favorite brush is the On Set Styling Brush. It is a nylon boar bristle blend that smoothes and polishes every style.

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    • What are your favorite styling tools? My favorite styling tools are my Beachwavers and Ceramic Iron. I developed these to be the exact specs that I love to use. The Beachwaver is a rotating curling iron with a ceramic rod, digital temperature clock and an extra long barrel. It is completely different from other curling irons. It has a motor and three computer boards with customized full length internal heaters and a fast recovery time. With it’s innovative technology comes simplicity, so not only does it drastically reduce your styling time, but it it does all the work for you. There is no straining on your wrist, and you always get a beautiful, red carpet look in minutes.  I can style hair and loose, beachy waves or glamorous old Hollywood waves with one tool. For updos, my clients are obsessed with the Wrap Up because I rarely need to use bobby pins! When they take the tool out it’s easy and gives you relaxed waves overnight!

     

     

     

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    To learn more about Sara Potempa’s product line visit: Sara Potempa’s website

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  • The New Orleans Native Who Styled His Way To The Big Apple

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    Sean James Decuers. Friendliest guy from New Orleans with a sweet accent and an infectious energy you cant deny. You want him to do your hair,  you want to work with him,  you want to be his friend.  This is the story of Sean James and how he made it to the top.

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    How did you get into the hair business?  I was more influenced by music than fashion … I got into it when I was 15.. I started blow drying my moms hair.. And then I started cutting my girlfriends hair and her sister and then in 8th grade I dropped out of school to go to beauty school. So by the time I was 16 I had a car, apartment and job.  I guess the thirst for knowledge just kept me going. I grew up in New Orleans and there was 2 cool shops that were influenced by music. I worked at one of them called Snobs.

    Who was your first mentor?  When I was 17 I went to Sassoon in San Francisco for 3 years and that’s where I got my foundation. I worked for Drew Smith.

    What brought you to NYC?  I think every hair dresser that is good is drawn to NY. I worked for Bumble and Bumble, Le Coup, Oribe, Warren Tricomi, and now I’ve been at Rita Hazan for 9 years. When I first came to New York It was really humbling for me to start all over, I had to start from the bottom, but  I learned a lot. Every salon I worked at taught me something different. When I was at Bumble I really learned how to use a razor. I feel like I got more education on the west coast they are more about cutting and precision New York is about hair dressing. When I worked at Oribe I really learned alot about hair extension pieces and styling.

    How did you get into  doing fashion shows?  I have been blessed to work with the best teams, Eugene Soleimein, Orlando Pita, Sam McKnight, Guido, Edward Tricomi, Rita Hazan. I’ve been on team Orlando for 13 years. That’s 26 seasons.

    What has been your favorite show to do?  Carolina Herrera ss2013.

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     DIY style:

    1) Put the hair into a low ponytail

    2) To create this dramatic end piece we will us a hair extension. Take a 3″ section of a weft hair extension, fold it up in a fan like form to be 3/4″ and attach it inside the bottom of the ponytail

    3) To create a loop with the hair left out of the ponytail  over load it with hair spray then flat iron it until its stiff with no fly aways. Wrap a piece of hair around it to secure it into place leaving out the ends.

    4) To finish  over load with hairspray the ends that are left out. Flat iron the ends of the hair and the extension piece together.

    What is the theory behind your technique? Working with face shape, hair texture and lifestyle. Those 3 things are the formula for a perfect look. My thing is American glam you can’t mess it up and if you do it looks a bit better. The thing about being a woman is to  take on different looks and keep them guessing. Be flexible with your part and your look. Versatility is the trick to keep the onlooker interested.

    Is there a celebrity or show or client in general you have been the most excited about ?  One was when Jaimie Presley wanted to cut her hair off when she was nominated for an Emmy. I was excited and a little nervous but I knew it was gonna be good. Um, doing the lead on Marquesa was very nerve racking but Jaimie was the first thing that came to my mind.

    Have you had a moment where you did a haircut and then saw it in the media as the next best thing? Yes I did a style for a magazine and it was picked up on social media. I came across it randomly and I thought, hey I did that!

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    Who inspires you the most in your field? Probably Orlando Pita , his adaptability to style, the way he makes things look so easy and careless, even just with a comb and a bottle of water. He can just make a woman look so beautiful effortlessly.

    What are your favorite products /tools?

    Oribe texturizing spray 

    Favorite brushes- ys parks

    Favorite hair pins – classic American pins because they hold more hair. I use to be into the Japanese ones, but they are so tight. Shear world is where I get my stuff

    You can Find Sean James currently at Rita Hazaan Salon and every 6 weeks in Panama at HardRock Hotel.

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  • HairClutch at IBS- New York

    HairClutch at IBS- New York

    Hair extension storage, hair extension carrier, hair extension purse, hair extension clutch, hairclutch, bellami hair extensions, cashmere hair extensions, kylie jenner hair extensions, travel case, IBS new yorkHairClutch made its debut at IBS, NYC. Our Founder, Amalia Moscoso, aka, The Hair Dame made friends with Hairstylists and Hair extension companies. HairClutch was a huge hit on the floor of the trade show. Shout out to Sarah Potempa and Peter Grey, celebrity and fashion hairstylists! Was a pleasure meeting you! Thanks for the support, we look forward to the next show!!

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  • Friday Feature: Larry Sims

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    Larry Sims is undeniably one of the hottest hairstylists in the entertainment business today. His clients have ranged from Victoria Beckham, Queen Latifah, Gabrielle Union, and Mary J. Blige to Lupita Nyong’o and on.  His work has been showcased on the most glamorous red carpets.  We will never forget Lupita’s iconic Moment at the Oscar’s last year — his work has created trends that last for years. Who could forget the Victoria Beckham bob that gave us all the dire need to have an A-line bob moment? Larry still remains incredibly humble and driven to work harder than ever.

    We had the opportunity to hang with Larry at his home sipping on alkaline water infused with cucumber and mint. Here’s our interview with Larry Sims:

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    THD: How long have you been doing hair?  

    Sims:  Naturally for over 20 years, but professionally for probably about 6 years.  I was a dancer professionally for over 15 years.

    THD: Is that how you broke easily into the industry – because you were a dancer first? 

    Sims: I wouldn’t say easily because I had to start from the bottom. It was actually hard because for people that knew you as a dancer, it was hard to write a check for you that was more money in another field.  I had to prove myself harder: assisting, washing hair, carrying bags. So I wouldn’t say it was easier, no, not initially.

    THD: Who did you assist for, how did you get started?

    Sims: Well, the person that’s probably the most relevant to this conversation is Ken Paves. I was dancing for Jessica Simpson and her stylist introduced me to Ken. That was it.

    THD: Who were your mentors?

    Sims:  Ken Paves, as you know, and also Johnny Wright who is now at the White House with Michelle Obama. Ken and I are great supporters of each other. He’s the one that introduced me to Victoria Beckham and that was really my first opportunity that  launched me into everything. Victoria and David were bigger than my career at the time… my career was non- existent. It was really the bob that we gave her.larry simsTHD: OMG! You gave her that bob haircut?  

    Sims: Yes, [laughs], it wasn’t that I gave her something new that didn’t exist before…

    THD: No, you didn’t invent the bob, but you started a sweeping trend that blew up!

    Sims: Yeah, I think it was because she was and still is so iconic, everyone payed attention to her.  These media outlets really plugged into that, Haaper’s Bazar, Vanity Fair — they called me.  They had never done a feature on Larry Sims in their life. In Style Magazine, this blog , that blog.  Everyone wanted to know who Larry Sims was.  She had just moved to the States and it was intended for Ken to work with her, but he was busy with J-Lo, so he handed her to me. It was the first for both of us and she rocked with me for about 3 years solid, until she ended up back with him [Paves]. It was great!  I went on tour with the Spice Girls. She [V. Beckham] put me on all of David’s Armani campaigns, Adidas campaigns, and it just became this thing. They really were the people that opened this huge door for me. It was amazing. Who would have thought?

    THD: Do you like traveling with your clients?

    Sims: Yes, because the clients I travel with are my friends, also.

    THD: Are they your friends from working with them or did you know them before?

    Simms: A lot of them were my friends before from dancing and being in the industry.  Like, I knew Gabrielle Union from before I became a professional hairstylist. I met Mary J. Blige before I became a hairstylist, I met Queen Latifah before I became a professional hairstylist. There are so many people that I travel with also that I became friends with after. But I think light attracts light and kindred spirits, so Ive been thankful and grateful that I haven’t had to weed through sour lemons.

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    THD: Where’s your favorite place you have been for a job?

    Sims: I have so many, wow.  Gabrielle [Union] took me to Paris Fashion Week which was amazing. I got to sit with her in the front row; she was invited by Miu Miu. That’s when I met Lupita, cut to… I ended up up doing her for the Oscars!

    THD: OMG, I was obsessed with her and how she looked, you did an amazing job Larry!

    Sims: Thank you! It was definitely a game changer.

    THD: What is an OMG I can’t believe this is happening moment and how did you fix it?

    Sims: I did have a client that my kit didn’t show up and I didn’t have anything.  I was in Texas and I didn’t have time to go to the store and grab anything.  I stopped at Walgreens, bought a mini flat iron, some pins and a comb and gave her a messy ponytail situation.  She was so blown away by my effort to make something happen.  She was really great about it. I’m lucky, I really haven’t had any divas. I only had one situation that a client and I had a miscommunication and it was awful. It was awkward, it was terrible. I think she was just in her head.  She hated it, she really hated it. But she left the house with it and the next day Glamour Magazine deemed it #1 best red carpet look.

    THD: Was she humble about it when she saw that? 

    Sims:  No, she was like ” oh yeah, I saw that” {laughs}  I never worked with her again.  I think it was mutual.

    THD: What would you name the style that your clients seek you out  for? 

    Sims:  The beautiful disaster.  Young and modern, yet chic and effortless.  I’m also known for my cuts. I send my girls to Nine Zero One, Nikki and Riawna for color.

    THD: Where do you get your inspiration?  

    Sims: Thats a good question…I never stop dreaming, you know what I mean?  You know how some people get to that point where they feel like “I made it” or “I’ve done it” “I have arrived”,  I never want to feel like that. When I first started as a hairstylist I had a friend with a 1 bdrm apartment and I slept on his floor for 3 months before I could afford to get an apartment. When I could get an apartment it was from some friends that owned a property on Rodeo, you know on the hood side.  So when you go from that to living in a home in the hills you gotta acknowledge that you have done something for yourself, and when you look around you are reminded of the journey and the gratitude that I have. But what it doesnt do, for me at least, is change the drive because in my mind its easy to go back there. The moment you think you have arrived or you think your 10 steps ahead of the game is when you lose it. So its even more pressure for me now, because I have to maintain this shit, and I have to always top what I did last.  like award season with Lupita or 5 years ago with Victoria, whatever it is you always have to top yourself.  So that keeps me inspired.

    THD: Do you ever feel competitive with other hairstylist that might share clients with you?

    Sims: I don’t know about them, but me, I’ve never been that guy.  Ted Gibson and I share Lupita. We always mention eachother in the press, always give eachother high fives. I always made sure I spoke highly of him in interviews, because I didnt want to get the full credit for something that he might of done.  Same with Kim Kimble, same with Kiyah Wright, we big each other up, we shout each other out. These are heavy hitters in the industry. I dont know if anyone has been petty with me, but from my perspective, no.

    THD: What’s your favorite moment with a client?

    Sims: Lupita for the Oscars.  Beyond Victoria {Beckham}, beyond anything else I’ve achieved.  When I’m long and gone that will be a moment in history that cant be erased, and my name will always be cemented as the guy that was with Lupita when she won that iconic award. You know I talk to my friend Johnny Wright about how he has sacrificed so much to be in the white house- but when he’s gone from there, he will be in history books. For me, Lupita on the red carpet for the Oscars, that was my history book moment.

    THD: Awe, that is so amazing Larry, You should be proud of yourself.

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    THD: What’s your main focus in your career right now?

    Sims: Expanding the brand. I’ve gotten into executive producing and television projects. My company is called Simms Styled Inc, and under that corporation we have developed television shows, that we have sold. The Larry Simms brand is going to expand passed hair. We are doing wine glasses, and linens, and its really about a lifestyle. Larry Simms success isn’t just based on hair, Larry Simms is a lifestyle. I want to be a household name.

    THD: What are your favorite products?

    Sims: Go pro curls by Larry Simms,  go pro gro by Larry Simms, Osis hairspray by Schwartzkoff , I swear by, oh and Oribe dry texturizing spray– LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!! Rusk Shine, and got to be “Guardian Angel” heat protectant .

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    THD: What do u think about consumer based products vs salon products

    Sims:  Well, it depends on whose using them.  It’s not better because its more expensive, that’s for sure.

    THD: What’s a secret product people wouldn’t expect that you can’t live without?

    Sims:  The dry texturizing spray by Oribe , Got To Be- Beach Trippin, ugh it just gives the hair so much texture, I love it!

    THD: What advice would you give to someone that wants to do celebrity hair ?

    Sims:  Two things- 1) Always surround yourself around people that inspire you in that respected field. Do what you have to do to get to them, move to their city, be around them, be mentored by them. 2) 2nd thing , Do the work, do the research, test test test, do lots of free stuff,  its not always about the dollar -Work your ass off!

    Larry Sims in his Woodland Hills home with his dog, Noche.

    Larry Sims in his Woodland Hills home with his dog, Noche.

    See Larry’s work on his website www.larry-sims.com.

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  • SPOTLIGHT: The Undone Done Hairstylist To Keep Our Eyes On!

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    Watch out hair lovers..here comes Ray D! He is slaying heads one celeb at a time.  Everyday we have the joy of seeing a group of lovely, opinionated, sassy women on The Real, They talk about men, hollywood gossip and important controversial topics.  The one thing we really need to be talking about is how fabulous everyone’s hair,  makeup and wardrobe looks!  These ladies are really bringing it. One that stuck out to us was Adriene Bailon. She has a different hairstyle every day and each one is giving her “a moment” as Ray D would say.  We had the opportunity to talk to Ray and here’s the dish on all his favorite products,  specialty techniques and his advice to up and coming stylists in the business.

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    How long have you been doing hair?  7 years. Started on a whim but I’ve always been creative and took the opportunity when it was presented to me

    What is your specialized technique or method? known for the ‘undone’ look.   Hair should be easy and breezy, it should have flow and movement.  I think I bring a younger appeal to my clients

    How did you get into the business? assisted Kim Berry (Prince’s hairstylist)  started in a salon and word of mouth. {The Jasmine Ashley salon}

    Who was your first celebrity/ big break? Adrienne Bailon was my first big client and word of mouth from there

    What are your favorite tools/ products? Oribe texturizing spray, LOVE IT! KMS waxspray way live by!  Spray and play by bis sexy hair, biosilk drops. Tools- Nueme love their irons and wands, babyliss nano titanium, blowdryer- silver bird

    Who is someone you would die to get your hands on? Would love to word with Zedaya, I love her style now, but I would love her to experience me.  I love her style, I think she’s so beautiful.

    What do you see for the future of your career/ major goals? I’m actually dying to get an extension line of my own as well as a couple products. I want to share with the world a piece of me- conquering one head at a time. Malaysain hair {type of hair extensions} is my personal favorite.

    Is there someone who’s work you admire beyond? Who is your biggest inspiration? I love Oscar James!! He’s an amazing hairstylist, I love him and we’re actual cool-I know him.. Ursula Stevens, she does Rihanna, I think she’s awesome and innovative. I love her work!!

    Do you have any advice for up and coming hairstylists trying to break into entertainment? This industry is very up and down- so create relationships and good relationships. Its good to be good at what you do but that alone won’t cut it. Its about who you know AND what you know!! You can learn from other hairstylists, there is always new techniques and you need to stay up on your game.

    Ok I just want to get a vibe for when your on set with a client- What is your favorite word right now when working with a client ? I like to tell them, they look’ beat’.  This hair beat is everything or we are having a moment- Girl this is your moment!

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    You can check out more of Ray’s D’ s work on his website  www.raydhair.com

    Be on the lookout for his latest hairstyles on Adriene Bailon on The Real .

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  • Where Fashion meets Fantasy : Laurent Philippon

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    On this lovely fall day here in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of speaking with the amazing Laurent Philippon, a hairstylist that we know from magazine covers like Vogue, ad campaigns including Valentino and Givenchy, and celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Bjork. We all know and respect his work and I am honored to share his story and perspective. This is a short story on Laurent Philippon.

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    Laurent Philippon was born to be a hairdresser, you might say. His father was a barber and Laurent grew up from a very young age standing on a stool washing hair. He was uninspired in the small barber shop in his village and had a strong desire to expand his estetic. At the age of 15, he left school and went on to the school of hairdressing. By 16, he entered into his first hair contest and won. Winning that first contest gave him a strong confidence and kept him moving forward in this world of hairstyling as he continued to win regionals and then on to nationals. He was confident and yet very curious, but he wanted more. Laurent decided to knock on the door of hairdressing legend, Alexandre de Paris, which was where he really studied his method and developed his skills. He started from the very bottom sweeping floors, but spent hours and hours perfecting technique.

    As an artist, we all have something or somewhere that inspires us. For Laurent, he is inspired by EVERYTHING. He says he is the most curious person he knows. However, to find solace on his downtime he finds himself at the Palace of Versailles. I asked if he sits and enjoys coffee and takes it in. His response was intriguing. He walks, he says. He stays in movement. The right movement is very important, he explains. As an example, the movement of the oceans and seas is perfection and this translates into his theory of hairstyling. Laurent explains he adapted this theory from his work with Julien D’ys , who is the definition of an artist by every token.

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    For hairdressers, we embody ourselves into our own work. The inspiration, the study, the technique. However, I found through my conversation with Laurent that he is embodied by not only his own work, but by the work of others. This is exemplified in his book, Hair: Fashion and Fantasy. His appreciation and respect for his mentors is manifested through his estethic and his curiosity is shown through his admiration for the work around him. He said he gets so excited to see the work of Eugene Souleiman, and for a successful artist to display this much passion for a collegue is admirable. This idea of displaying the work of others and the inspiration to which they collectively feed on is what we see in his book, and what his inspiration was for creating it.

    Today, Laurent is the global creative director of Bumble and Bumble and wishes to own a hair museum one day. I hope soon, so that this wonderful book will become a monument for the crossbreed of hairdresser, painter, photographer. The true definition of Art.  ##

    http://www.amazon.com/Hair-Fashion-Fantasy-Laurent-Philippon/dp/050029108X

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