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What I’ve learned… styling hair for live TV

Most Wanted 2017 ‘Creative Talent’ winner Craig Chapman has just completed his second stint as hair lead on ITV’s Saturday night hit show, The Voice. We quizzed him about what it takes to hold your nerve when working on live TV, and he revealed some hidden truths about prepping looks and tight turnaround times…

The lesson I learned quickly…
Be as prepped as you can before you start. That then means that no matter what you are asked for or to do, you can turn it around quickly. And speed is what’s needed sometimes when you have 4 minutes and 30 seconds to change a look! If you’re ready with and have planned a few looks per contestant ahead of time, then you’re game ready.

There will be ideas you have to scrap.
Luckily, I only had to jettison two each season and that was mostly down to outfit changes which meant the hair I’d designed didn’t work anymore. One was a wig that looked great when the contestant was walking around the hair and make up room, but once we saw it on the screen during the dress run, it was just too long!

My one tip for anyone styling hair for live TV…
Besides having the ability, you definitely need flexibility! Every time you arrive at the studios, you are dealing with more than just the contestant – there are the execs, stage creatives and agents and all of them need to be happy with the looks. If one or more wants something changed, you need to be ready to do that. Because TV shows (particularly talent-based contests) are big productions, as a hairdresser you may also need to pitch in with styling dancers, choirs and the live band, which will also require you to adapt your plans… fast.

The best thing about my experience
Being booked for a second year of The Voice (let’s see if it turns into a third)! But seriously, you cannot take away nor replicate the unique buzz of a live show. The thrill of it all – that’s what I love.

Would I do it again?
For sure, I’m loving the TV life!