Lockdown Life for Freelance Editorial Stylist Neil Moodie
As the focus for the hairdressing industry shifted to reopening, HJ spoke to editorial and celebrity stylist and L’Oréal Professionnel Steampod Styler Neil Moodie about how he was coping with lockdown life and his plans for reopening his business
How do you plan on reopening your editorial stylist business?
I haven’t worked since 3 March and at the moment I’m not 100% sure when I’ll be going back as we’re waiting for more procedures to be put in place. I’m waiting for my agent’s instructions right now but I’m ready!!
What systems and procedures will you be putting in place?
I’ve received the Barbicide certificate and I’ve also sent off for an antibodies test and I’m waiting for the results while I type. As a freelance editorial stylist, I do not work from a single salon space so I will have to rely on the people I work with to have the appropriate systems put in place to keep us as safe and protected as possible. I’ve always been very conscientious about my kit being clean so that won’t be any different for me. I wear masks right now when I go out, so I have some ready in my kit just in case as well.
How have you been spending your time during lockdown?
I’m using this time to improve my cooking skills as I’ve never done so much home cooking in my life. I’ve also taught myself to use iMovie as I wanted to learn anyway for my own YouTube channel. This new skill has become invaluable as I’ve been making and editing my own videos during lockdown for Biolage and L’Oréal Professionnel Steampod 3.0. I’ve taken part in Instagram Lives and I’ve been doing a lot of walking to explore my local area on foot. I don’t have a garden, so I’ve been going out for my hourly exercise. I’ve also been partaking in a weekly Zoom quiz with friends on a Friday night as well as a spot of Netflix and listening to Podcasts.
How are you communicating with your clients during this time?
I’m communicating with my clients via email, text and FaceTime. The relationship I have with my clients is different to the kind of relationships a salon hairdresser would have with salon clients as my clients are not waiting for me to do ‘their’ hair.
How have you avoided feeling lonely during this time?
Lots of FaceTime video calls but living on my own has meant I’ve had the odd tough day. I’ve meditated my way through the more difficult days by playing upbeat music and having a sing and a dance to myself to keep my spirits up.
Have you found support from other editorial stylists in a similar position?
Some of my friends are editorial stylists and also make-up artists who are all in the same position as me. We have WhatsApp group chats and video calls to keep our morale up.
Are there any resources or websites you’ve found to be particularly useful for freelance/session hairdressers?
The British Beauty Council has shared its latest news on the virus and our industry, plus they’ve been doing lots of interesting and informative Instagram Lives. I’m finding podcasts are helping me to stay positive and get through these tough times.
Neil’s tips for surviving lockdown
- I’m a huge believer in looking after your mental health. We work in an incredibly fast-paced industry and I find looking after my mental wellbeing helps me to think with clarity and feel my most creative. If I’m backstage or on a shoot I need to know that I am bringing my best self to the job so that I can truly collaborate with the team.
- I stay in regular touch with my friends and family. It helps me to stay centred. Human connection is very important to me so I start most days with a call to my mum and having this routine helps to give my day structure.
- I’m constantly looking to find new ways to inspire my creativity during lockdown. There are some very cool exhibitions online and I’m exploring art and collections even more now than I usually would. It’s also been the perfect time to listen to new podcasts and pick up old books I haven’t read in years. I’m reading Andre Leon Talley’s The Chiffon Trenches.
- I’m enjoying revisiting the past and using it to inspire my future work. I’ve been watching old documentaries about iconic designers and artists. My favourite so far is The Legend of Leigh Bowery.He was a fashion designer, club promoter and performance artist. I love Radio 4’s daily podcast Front Row to keep up to date with popular culture.
- Social media is a great way to stay connected to your work network and right now I’m also using it to find exciting new connections. Why not use this time to drop someone a DM and let them know that you admire their work? Spreading positivity right now can only lead to an even stronger industry once ‘normality’ begins to resume.