How did you get your start in the hair industry?
I got my start thanks to my mum. I begged her for a summer job when I was 13 so I could have some spending money, so she got me a job at the local salon. I instantly connected with the energy of the salon environment. When I went back to school in the fall, I knew it wasn’t the right place for me; I was ready to be out working and learning something I was actually passionate about. Much to mum’s dismay, I left school to work full-time in the salon and get an apprenticeship, but she made me promise to fully dedicate myself to the job and work to the top of the field, and not to take sick days. To this day, I’ve only ever taken one sick day!
You grew up in Dublin and lived in Paris. Tell us about that and what your key takeaways were. Did any of that inspire you to pursue hairdressing?
Growing up in Ireland in the 90s was often challenging. There was a lot of region-supported homophobia, so it could be an unkind environment to a sensitive gay boy. After completing my apprenticeship, I had the opportunity to travel to Paris at 18 to work with one of the top beauty agencies. After growing up in a stifled environment, I jumped at the opportunity to expand my career. There was a beautiful library near where I lived, so I spent all my free time with my nose in magazines studying and learning references and absorbing the work of great hairdressers, photographers and fashion icons.
You’ve worked with many different celebrities. What has surprised you the most about this?
Working with famous people, your work is always going to be seen by a lot of people. I’ve been working with celebrities for a lot of my career, but what has been interesting has been the evolution of social media during that time. 10 or 15 years ago, doing a look for a celebrity would mean your work would be in the pages of magazines and on websites, but now that visibility is in hyperdrive: we’ll finish a look and anyone in the world can see it within minutes on Instagram.
When it comes to hairstyling, what have been some of your favourite red-carpet moments? Do you have any stand-out moments or experiences?
My favorites always change as time goes on, so it’s hard to say! If I had to pick a few, I’d say the recent wet waves look I did for Megan Fox at the VMAs would be one (it’s not only one of my most-liked posts on Instagram, but it’s probably one of my top favorites, personally, to date). And every Met Gala has been a special experience. I loved Kylie’s look from 2018, it was a really fun creative process.
What are some things that people may not realize about celebrity hairstyling in general?
Celebrities are human beings just like you or me. They have a lot of the same problems, insecurities They just have the entire world watching and judging their every move, which is an unfathomable amount of pressure.
What advice would you have for hairstylists who are interested in working with celebrities?
If you’re interested in working with celebrities, make sure you’re doing so for the right reasons. Just like your relationships with clients in the salon, trust is everything. One of the reasons I’ve been able to be successful in this field is because I aim treat everyone with the same high level of respect, whether my client is an A-list celebrity or a cashier. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and care.
You’ve grown a large following on social media. What has been your secret to maintaining a strong following?
Honestly, social media is something I’m still working on, so I’d take any tips from you! In general, I try to consistently post my work and glimpses of my life.
What are your thoughts on the increase of hair education being offered online due to the pandemic?
I love that stylists are able to continue their education right from home. I think education of all types should be accessible to all, and I think online resources have made it so easy to be and remain informed and connected. I think this adapted way of working on your art or craft is fostering a new era of incredible talent.
What’s next for you? Any goals you’re working toward that you can share with us?
I have a few very big projects in the works for next year that I’m not able to reveal yet, but follow me on Instagram and I will share news as soon as I’m allowed!