interview michelle thompson

Life Through a Lens: An Interview with Michelle Thompson

by laurahusband / last updated June 6, 2019

Michelle Thompson from Francesco Group’s Birmingham Salon & Academy is HJ’s reigning British Afro Hairdresser of the Year, sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional. She is known for creating beautiful and wearable hair and here are six of her all-time favourites.

Simple but effective

“This is an image from my most recent collection – Translucent. It’s one of my favourite images because it showcases my creativity and love of art. It allowed me to express my inner thoughts and emotions all in one image. This style reflects my artistic vision and it gave me the opportunity to use all of the skills I’ve acquired from working with textured hair throughout my career. It’s simple but effective.

Definitive power

“This collection is very special to me as I won Afro hairdresser of the year at the British hairdressing awards, sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional for the first time with it back in 2009. This image is the most memorable as the concept of the shoot was influenced by the iconic Grace Jones. The hair was styled using the pin-frizzing method and moulded into the classic Jones flat-top.”

Raw emotion

“This collection was based on fashion photographer Paolo Roversi’s ability to capture real raw emotion. All of the models were chosen based on their real emotion in front of the camera – powerful, alluring and raw. The image I’ve chosen represents the confidence, femininity and beauty I see in women.”


“Inspired by powerful women throughout the ages, I created this look around Cleopatra being an influential character in the Egyptian era. I wanted to bring the past to the present and showcase how women with Afro hair wear their hair today using accessorise such as beads and shells.”


“Not all images are as they appear – this was one of the most unforgettable and difficult to shoot. The model looks like she’s in an action shot, but it was actually captured while she was lying down on a six-foot high self-built glass table. I’ll never forget having to style hair while the model was lying down.”


“Being comfortable in your own skin doesn’t come naturally to everyone. This was about embracing female empowerment no matter how you wear your hair. Lying on a beach in Mexico – the concept was there but the model wasn’t. When I hand-picked this Dutch beauty from Instagram, I finally had all of the ingredients to complete my vision.”

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