WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST THING ABOUT 2020?
Well, I’ve got into a new area of the industry – I’m now focusing on men’s make-up! It’s crazy because in January 2020 I had the busiest start to the year I’ve ever had in terms of travel and education dates. But then on March 23, I had 19 international days cancelled at once. That really cemented what I knew I needed to do and that was to diversify what I was offering.
WHY DID YOU GET INTO MEN’S MAKE UP?
Over the years I’ve seen a massive trend for make-up artists doing hair on shoots. The world that we are living in now means budgets aren’t limitless and you’ve really got to start multi-tasking to thrive. It’s quite common now on shoots to hire a make-up artist who does hair too. In fact when I worked with Jamie Redknapp on a project last year and he was looking for someone to do hair and make-up, I knew I needed to start offering both.
HOW DID YOU TRAIN?
I shadowed a young make-up artist called Vivienne to hone my skills. If you were going to learn to drive you wouldn’t ask a grandparent to teach you, you’d ask someone who’d recently passed their test, wouldn’t you? Then I used my model contacts to practice on different skin tones and ages. Vivienne gave me tips on what kit to invest in and then I sat in front of the mirror and applied it on myself! I took the passion I had for hair and used that momentum. I’m not proclaiming to be a make-up artist as such but I think it’s so important for someone in men’s grooming to understand the whole package.
WHAT TIPS HAVE YOU LEARNT ABOUT MAKE-UP AND SKINCARE FOR MEN?
Less is more. I’ve invested most in skincare to be honest. In women’s make-up we are generally trying to create a ‘look’, but with men’s make-up they just want to look better, like they’ve had a great night’s sleep or to look like they’d been on holiday for a week. From a barbershop perspective, having an understanding of skincare and grooming products, not necessarily make-up, is a great skill to have. People always show me photos of David Beckham and Jamie Redknapp in commercials and want to look like them. I think they’re under the illusion that they naturally look like that – but they don’t! Sure they’re good looking guys, but they look great because they’ve had their hair and make-up done.
”IN MARCH I HAD 19 DATES CANCELLED – IT CEMENTED WHAT I NEEDED TO DO AND THAT WAS TO DIVERSIFY”
SO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WITH CLIENTS, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?
I’m the global brand ambassador for Fudge Professional which keeps me very busy! I think brand ambassador is a title in a barbering and hairdressing career that a lot of people aspire to without knowing what it entails. Basically I look after styling and care for Fudge Professional. I head up creative campaigns, create content and I travel globally to promote new launches and shows. I’m heavily involved in product development too. I work with the NPD team and I test and advise. The role at Fudge Professional came along and it’s the job I always wanted, but didn’t expect!
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING WITH FUDGE PROFESSIONAL?
The ‘In the chair’ concept was something I really wanted to develop. I was inspired by James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. He has so many conversations that you wouldn’t hear in a studio interview, and it really reminded me of the chats we have with clients in barbershops or salons. So I wanted to do videos with well-known faces whilst I was cutting and styling their hair. Fudge Professional helped me see the vision. We were moving fast with it, we filmed Jamie Laing from Made in Chelsea for an episode and then – bam – lockdown happened. The next guest lined up was Pete Wicks from TOWIE but we had to relook at how we could film in line with COVID-19 restrictions. I couldn’t cut his hair so I basically had to teach him to style his own hair from two metres away! However, the silver lining from this year has been the reception to the ‘In the Chair’ series. It got so much traction – and I think this has been in part due to the pandemic.
DO YOU FIND YOU’RE TORN BETWEEN BEING CALLED A MEN’S AND WOMEN’S HAIRDRESSER – WHERE DO YOUR LOYALTIES LIE?
I think public perception is that I do men’s hair. I would say I’m a hairdresser and I’m skilled in men’s grooming. I got more recognition earlier in my career for my men’s work, then I worked with male models, then it became musicians, celebrities and TV. I get a lot of guys come in for haircuts. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.