I never dreamed entering a competition would change my life. I never dreamed it would give me distinguished creative experiences and credibility within my vocation. I never dreamed it would allow me to meet a partner that’s incredibly in tune with my vision and outlook. I never dreamed it would give me self belief and confidence to tackle any situation with strength and pride. If I’m entirely honest I entered Wella Generation Now 2013/14 not knowing exactly what it was and what it entailed. I wasn’t your typical hairdresser. I enjoyed my job and took fufilment in my work but if I told you the truth I didn’t have an overwhelming passion for the industry. I went to work. I came home. I didn’t bring my work with me. But that changed absolutely.
If you want to learn anything in any given field then you have to put yourself out there. You sacrifice to gain. Knowledge and understanding is what sets you aside from the rest. Securing a basic fundamental foundation isn’t enough and you have to self pursue other avenues to get ahead. When I started out I offered my services free of charge. I went into a salon every Friday, cleaned, made coffee and watched. I picked up salon etiquette, I learned customer service skills, I gained self confidence and I discovered a realisation of an interest in educating myself to pursue an advantageous career.
Any extra curricular activities or events I pursued. I swapped modelling jobs for cutting courses at Toni and Guy. I self funded my SVQ level three and participated in any creative work that would place me always one step ahead. With an interest in fashion I put myself forward for small, local shoots and shows to add experience. Acquiring recognition I began to work with more established photographers and film makers and found myself at work on set with The View and Martin Compston. I styled the look books for fashion designer Hayley Scanlan and designed the hair for the Scottish Dance Theatre in their production of SisGo which took them on a world tour. I acquired experience working backstage at Jeremy Scott’s only London Fashion Week show ‘Bone to be Wild’. A collaborative collection which featured my cutting work, published in Hairdressers Journal, Creative Head and other publications. I knew it was time to take my short career to the next level.
I entered the Wella World Studio Manchester with an overwhelming, queazy feeling in my tummy, I felt nauseous. I repeated the same words over and over in my head. The words were the opening line of my four minute presentation. I was here to audition along with eleven other contestants to win a place on Wella’s Generation Now Team. An art team described as an effective launch-pad for young professionals who want to to become key players in the competitive hair industry, the team also provides an excellent platform for inspirational, up and coming talent. At the time I didn’t know what it meant but looking back it meant a lot. I put pride and passion in my audition and I fought tooth and nail. I deserved my place. My attention to detail was precise and I left no stone unturned. My inspirations were key and I researched them in depth. All elements were covered and I proved with a little guidance and help I could become finely tuned.
In retrospect I wouldn’t have done anything any different, I’m a strong believer in my work and the opportunity of my year on the team has seen me grow into a successful young stylist with serious credentials in which I am continuously adding to. To my delight the most important credential yet seen me return once more to Manchester, to the Wella World Studio, at the Generation Now audition, this time to judge.
Along with Lynsey Salen, Gen Now Team Leader, Tom Wright, Wella Guest Artist and previous Gen Now Team Member and Bruce Masefield, UK Creative Director of Sassoon. An overwhelming feeling of importance made me judge this competition with strict significance. Relating to each contestant and knowing the magnitude of what the prize could bring, it was no easy feat. The individuals showed skills, personality and fighting spirit and made my job tough and severely difficult. My journey back to the airport left me drained and anxious. I felt the collective nerves and I was nervous with them. I’m eager to see who made the final cut and I will find gratification in the thought that my participation and influence may change the life of another, just as it did for me.
Long live the VEF and may the best QUEEN win!