Life of a Stylist – Styling A-list Hair with Lorraine Dublin
The Hairdressing industry is so varied that it can be hard to know what path to follow. For the Life of a Stylist Series we have exclusively tracked down hair professionals from a variety of industry positions from pop star tour stylists to A-list Afro barbers so that you can gain insight into the breadth of the industry.
For this week’s instalment of Life of a Stylist we spoke to Lorraine Dublin, co-owner of My Hair Bar and hair stylist to huge names such as Serena Williams, Kelly Rowland and rapper Eve.
What was your route into hair?
I started styling hair when I was five years old. A lady came to my house to teach my mum how to canerow and I just copied her and before you know it I was styling my entire family’s hair: my mum’s, brothers and sisters. By the time I was at Primary school, I was quite confident in my styling abilities. I did my NVQ Level 2 at the London College of Fashion, followed by my Level 3 at Battersea College. My first salon job was at Zig Zag’s in Baker Street where I worked as a junior stylist. Following that, I worked for various salons across London and just built up my styling skills from there.
How did you come to working with Serena?
I was recommended to Serena by Kelly Rowland, whose hair I styled during her time on The X Factor in the UK. You tend to find that’s how it works – you work for a client, who will then go on to recommend you to someone else if they had a pleasant experience. That’s why it’s so important to work hard, be cordial and flexible – you never know where one job might lead to.
What is it like styling for A-Listers? Pros and Cons?
I’d say the positives are: it’s very exciting as you never know which city or country you’ll be in. You also get to meet lots of people as celebs usually travel in large groups, so there’s definitely a social aspect involved. You’re also treated very well, all your expenses are paid for, and you tend to stay in beautiful hotels. The cons I’d say are, sometimes due to the last minute nature of celebrity bookings, you have to make a lot of last minute appointment cancellations and also have to shuffle your personal life around. Thankfully, all my clients are extremely happy for me and excited about my celebrity bookings so there are never any issues Also, it can be quite long and unsociable working hours, so definitely not for those who prefer more traditional working hours – at times you can be up styling hair at 3am in the morning, and you could still have a calling time at 7am.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far and how did you overcome them?
I’d say my biggest challenge currently is juggling all my various responsibilities as I’m also a salon owner and teach hairdressing students. At times it does seem a bit overwhelming but I just take a moment to breathe and appreciate how fortunate I am to be working in a career that I love and am absolutely passionate about.
What are your top tips for future talent that want to get into celebrity hairstyling?
– Stay professional at all times – being polite, humble and willing to learn will stand you in good stead for the future.
– Network with industry professionals – attend industry events and celebrity stylist masterclasses to learn from those currently in the positions you aspire to be in.
– Learn your craft inside out – you can never learn enough.
– Be flexible – as previously mentioned, celebrity styling calls for flexibility. Always try and look at the bigger picture and try and be as cooperative as possible.
What’s your styling philosophy?
Healthy and stylish hair all starts from a good cut.
Favourite account to follow on Instagram?
@nikkinelms – she’s very inspirational and an incredibly versatile stylist – she currently styles Janelle Monae’s hair and a whole host of celebs. I also like Vernon Francois’ account (@vernonfrancois), it’s informative and entertaining.
Do you have a signature look you like to create?
I would say cutting hair – I love to cut, and it doesn’t matter which length, it could be long, short or midi. My co-owners would probably consider my signature look ‘colour’, as I do enjoy experimenting with colour too.
What are your most reached for products in your kitbag?
I like using KeraCare Hydrating Shampoo, Humecto Conditioner, KeraCare Leave-In Conditioner, Schwarzkopf Got2Be Gel and Elnett Hairspray.