She started her career as a 13-year-old in her local salon. Now she’s working on music videos for Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles, campaigning for hair equality in salons up and down the UK, and she’s about to become a TV star as a judge on E4’s new show, The Big Blow Out. Hello, Lisa!

Let’s start with favourite subjects at school
I loved Art, as it gave me a creative outlet to escape and paint, but I loved English too and you’ll often still find me with a book attached. Art enabled me to release my rebel and English allowed me to explain without being outspoken because words never shout, right? RIGHT?

So how – and why – did you choose hairdressing?
My school delivered a masterclass in how not to teach creatives: you’re stupid, you’re not clever enough, you won’t amount to anything… That’s what made me even more determined to succeed. At age 13, I would knock on the door of my local salon every Friday after school and ask for a job. At the 20th attempt, they gave in. Keep knocking on doors and don’t take no for an answer. What started off as a way of earning pocket money for the park on a Friday night turned into me being good at something and the sparks started to fly.

And the training?
I was already working in a salon before I was at an age to go to college so when the time came it was a no brainer that I would go into hairdressing. Rather than do an apprenticeship, I attended college but also worked full time in the salon because the hours allowed me to do this. Having said that, I believe an apprenticeship is the best route into hairdressing. You learn so much this way – not just the science but the life skills that you can take into any job, like maths and learning how to read people.

Describe those early years learning your craft
Like in the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (although I’m working on the million!) every path you take leads you onto something bigger and better. When my salon was being refurbished I went and worked in a barber shop and this taught me the graft of short hair. When a client with textured hair got turned away from my salon, this inspired me to learn about Afro and textured hair. Everything in life has a purpose but you’ve got to be hungry and you can’t give up. I learned early on that education is power and once you know the correct way, then you can make your own way.

And where has all that taken you?
I work as a session hairdresser with some of the biggest names in music! I’ve been on set with A-List celebrities! I have been onstage educating to thousands and I’m going to be on TV in front of millions! (Lisa is a judge in the E4 show The Big Blow Out.) My hairdressing world is a living dream filled with blood, sweat, tears and excitement.

What do you love most about hairdressing, and what are the downsides?
I love the weird requests, the not knowing, the rushing and the stillness... I love being in a room with other creative powerhouses, masters of their art, and wanting to be seen the same way... Creating a stunning picture that resonates with people... I love how varied my role is and how it takes me all over the world and allows me to meet new people and see new ways of life. The downside? You give up a lot: missed weddings, birthdays... you name it. But it’s worth it, for that independence, that buzz. And it’s hard to give up.

And what’s been the biggest surprise?
How you can be an independent and succeed. I’m not great at selling myself, I like my work to do the talking, but in hairdressing I can be real and kind and I can be me.

Any advice for someone thinking about becoming a hairdresser?
All of the above, but also: be your own boss, be in control, be creative and write your own rules. There’s only one you, and that’s your brand. Own it. Come join the barbies, the weirdos, the business owners, the freedom fighters, the trend setters, and the game changers. What are you waiting for?




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