British Hairdressing Awards

What can Winning Newcomer of the Year do for your Career?

by akesha / last updated June 12, 2019

Gianluca Caruso Newcomer of the Year 2018

Gianluca Caruso from TONI&GUY is the current Newcomer of the Year. Cos Sakkas, international artistic director and head of education for TONI&GUY, won the award 20 years ago back in 1999. He has since gone on to with London Hairdresser of the Year three times, and been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year twice.

Here Gianluca quizzes Cos on his in rise to the top from being crowned Newcomer of the Year. Cos also shares his tips on staying up there…

Gianluca Caruso: What opportunities did winning Newcomer of the Year bring to you?

Cos Sakkas: It gave me the confidence to want to explore and enjoy the photographic side of hairdressing, create images and enjoy the evolution of creating photographs. It was a great introduction to the industry and I started networking at events, which is important as the industry is such a tight-knit community. The British Hairdressing Awards are recognised worldwide and the win put me in front of people who may not have noticed me before. I started to get requested for overseas education.

GC: What are your top tips to keep staying at the top?

CS: You must never rest on your laurels, think that the world will bow at your feet and expect that things will come your way just because you won an award one year. You have to show that you are progressing, test shoot, push yourself, try new ideas when working with clients and training. No two days can be the same; repetition is good for developing a discipline but can be dangerous because it can make you stale. So make sure you have both sides of that – practice and experimentation.

GC: What do you think this award is going to give me for now and the future?

CS: It gives you a platform and a boost to allow your ambition to run wild. This is just the beginning and shows how exciting your career can be. Don’t think you have arrived and you are a superstar; this is just the start and how you take this success depends on how you succeed.

GC: What makes an original a photoshoot?

CS: It’s all in the detail. As hairdressers it’s important that even though we are part of the fashion industry and hair has become bigger in that industry, it’s great to create the whole look. When you are shooting head and shoulders, you are limited in what you can change. How do you reinvent the bob, the braid, colour? That is the detail of reinvention.

There’s no point spending a fortune on a plain grey background that everyone else is using.

GC: Why do you think I won this award?

CS: You have got a very ambitious head on your shoulders, are hard-working, focused and dedicated to your craft. You’ve utilised all your mentoring and training and allow your creativity to be expressed through your pictures.

GC: How important are competitions?

CS: They give you goals and with those goals come a project, something to work towards, they get you motivated and excited about what you could create. Your colleagues within the industry are also working on their own projects and so you are all working towards the same thing. Also, the peers you respect and admire are entering the same competitions so it creates a really nice industry mindset. We may be up against each other but we have respect for each other and a healthy competition. You are up against people you admire and feel like you are in good company.

GC: After winning Newcomer of the Year in 1999 you won London Hairdresser of the Year three times – what’s the secret to your success?

former Newcomer of the Year Cos Sakkas

CS: All my shoots are completely different. Ultimately, it’s a hair competition and the hair has to be outstanding. You have to push the boundaries and I thought about every image as a potential front cover with every image as a hero image. So that when they are up on the wall being judged, the judges can’t walk past without stopping to look.

GC: How does the budget of a photoshoot effect the end result?

CS: You don’t need to spent a fortune on a shoot; just get out there and network and meet new models and photographers. You can make it work for everyone. Images that a new photographer can use in their portfolio and models can use to promote themselves.

Spend your money wisely, spend it on the important things that will make a difference – that special model that has something unique; on that little element of styling that will capture the mood; on a photographic detail that will give you the feeling you are after. There’s no point spending a fortune on a plain grey background that everyone else is using.

GC: How do you feel been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year among the best people in this industry?

CS: It’s something I’ve always dreamed about and delighted when it happened. If you work hard enough and dream long enough it could happen. I feel very humbled and I am still in a dream about being nominated for the biggest award in the industry.

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