Working in partnership with L’Oréal Professionnel has taken me to places I never dreamed I’d visit…
For 15 years I had a fear of flying, which limited me to travelling abroad on holidays only by ferry or train. Far-flung places like Asia and America, which required getting on an aeroplane, seemed far out of reach and I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d only ever see these places via the BBC’s Planet Earth.
Nine months into my job at Ken Picton Salon and my first chance to show some creative input arose in the form of presenting L’Oréal’s ‘super hero products’ at an industry trade show. Ken left me to colour all four models, and I went pretty out there, pulling out all my best moves. Ken was a little freaked out but L’Oréal seemed to like it and my first opportunity to present with Ken was in the bag.
A few months later, Ken called me into his office and said we had been asked to present a Diacolor masterclass at a L’Oréal Professionnel business forum. This was an amazing opportunity, and I immediately said yes, I’d love to. He replied, “I’ll need your passport so they can book the flights.”
Weeks passed. I knew I had to get on that plane if I wanted to follow my dream, and so, after watching hours of plane crash documentaries and researching the best place to sit on the plane for survival, we boarded!
When we landed I felt euphoric – the same feeling I imagine you would get from a night out at The Hacienda with the Happy Mondays. This was great! I did it! A whole two-hour flight! It opened new doors for me.
Over the last three years I’ve been racking up the air miles (11 countries this year to date), and every time I land somewhere new I get that same feeling – something I hope I’ll never lose. Maybe it’s just the fact that we have landed safely, but hopefully it’s because I know I’m about to experience something new and different, and will find a new approach in a new land with alien ways.
It would appear that most of the countries we educate in are the ones whose people have the longest, darkest hair! We’ve been lucky enough to hold seminars in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Lima, Santiago and Jakarta, as well as Geneva, Stockholm, Melbourne and Sydney, to name but a few. I can say that each trip comes with its challenges and surprises.
We are lucky in the UK, being such a multi cultural society, we have natural bases ranging from a 1 to a 10 and colour choices to complement this.
In a country where the predominant base is a 2, you can imagine my surprise to discover nothing in the chart above a level 6 – and they want six models, different colours… oh, and nobody here likes warmth!
We’ve presented shows in theatres, hotels and academies, had live bands playing while we’ve been presenting, and once I walked into a room to be confronted with a cardboard cut-out of myself (that was a pretty surreal moment for sure!).
I remember working with Ian Michael Black some years ago in London and watching him pack his kit bag ready for another adventure to another amazing country, thinking how lucky he was, bugging him to regale me with tales of his travels. It all sounded so glamorous, and yes, a lot of it is – you get nice flights and beautiful hotels. But early starts and late finishes are normal, days off are rare and you sit around a lot, alone in airports.
But when you weigh it all up I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to do my dream job.
These last few years have taught me how valuable it can be to take the risk. After all, it’s amazing what can happen when you get on that plane…