Your Hair Up Close Interview
How did you get into hairdressing?
I walked into my moms bedroom aged 10 and she was there blow drying her hair. She looked stunning, I was mesmerised by the transformation. She showed me how to do it using the brush and dryer and that night I sneaked back into her room whilst she as out and started doing it to myself! That developed into me then collecting Vogue and Elle and looking at the hair and the imagery. I was captivated by it. My mates would come round from about age 13, and I would cut their hair in my garage, I got into a lot of trouble for that!
What was your big break?
When Nicky Clarke found me. I was a teenager and I knew where I wanted to be but I didn’t know how to get there. Nicky saw something in me, moved me into one of his salons, began taking an interest in my work and then I started assisting him. I hate the word ‘protege’ but that’s what I was and I’m thankful for that. I still ask him for his advise now.
Then there are the breaks you make for yourself. I first did Sienna Millers hair I was brave enough to do something a bit different, she loved it and helped me out as did designer Matthew Williamson, that really made head waves for me in the ‘celebrity’ market. Before I knew it I was doing everybody from Naomi Campbell, to Kate Moss, to Princess Beatrice and Eugenie.
What are your best professional memories?
In 2012 I won Backstage Stylist of the Year. I’m the resident Hair Stylist on The Lorraine Show on daybreak, cutting Sienna Miller’s fringe in the toilets of the Connaught Hotel is a fond memory. Being booked to do the Princesses’ for the Royal Wedding then being requested by Prince William to do a homeless girl for his charity was pretty special! That was nice.
How has the beauty industry changed since you started?
It’s evolved with fashion and will continue to do so. That’s the great thing about working in beauty and fashion, you never stand still. What I did last season is not necessarily what I’d do this.
Do you have a good work/life balance?
Not really. I work six days a week every week, I can’t remember the last time I got back to my apartment before 9pm and I regularly get picked up at 6am. Holidays are in three cities New york, Milan, Paris and that’s when I’m doing fashion week twice a year. But I love it, this isn’t a job for me, it’s about a dream I had and making that happen. The journey along the way will be what it is but I’m a big believer in you get back what you put in. The thing is I have so many ideas that for my sanity I need to get them out and be pro-active. I love going to work and the day I dont then I’ll do something else. I always think if I don’t do the job somebody else will!
What do you do to relax?
The only time I can ever switch off and relax is when I’m with the lads and we hit it. I live in Primrose Hill so there are no shortages of bars. Second to going out, I do like a Sunday on the sofa with a day full of football to look forward too but even then I’m checking my emails, etc.
Do you eat healthily?
Massively so. I’m a big believer in ‘you are what you eat’. This job can take its toll on you and you never get a chance to sit down and eat so I try to make sure I do have breakfast. Five fruit smoothy, porridge, berocca, manuka honey and lemon, crumptes, yoghurt! I’m lucky I love fruit, water, vegetables…all the good stuff. The food on shoots is actually really good.
What is your favourite perk of the job?
I have a good social life and I know I can be sorted out in pretty much any bar/club in London and New York. I’ve had so many great gifts too. Once I was put on a private jet and given my clients pad in Miami for a week. I was talking to Mario Testino, he did a lot for me when I was younger, and we had this really enthusiastic chat about hair, photography, etc. and it was only two days later that it dawned on me – you take it for granted but he’s probably the greatest photographer of all time and I was casually chatting to him about what I love.
Who is the best celebrity you’ve styled and why?
Rihanna. I did her recently for a TV show I worked on with her. Alternatively take your pic from: Kate, Naomi, Sienna, Daisy Lowe, Kate Bosworth, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
What one top hair tip do you swear by?
Be an individual. Be sexy and feel good about yourself. Be inspired by fashion but not led by it. Style without substance is worth very little.
What’s the one product you can’t live without?
Nicky Clarke Hold and Shine Ultimate Hairspray. It offers copious amounts of volume, thickens hair and gives beautiful shine. I use the products on shoots and shows all day long.
Have you got any advice for someone who wants to start out in the industry?
Have the biggest dream and dont stop. Don’t be fooled into thinking hairdressing is simply stood behind a chair doing clients, it isn’t. This profession can take you to places unknown, wonderful places.
Never cut corners and never stop learning. Ask questions, practice, practice, practice, assist, assist, assist. There is one thing in common with all the top hairdressers in the world. THEY LIVE FOR THEIR JOB. It is the only way to succeed.