What is your official training background?
I first officially trained as hairdresser in Auckland at Crimpters in Victoria Street over 30 years ago. It’s funny actually, as I now have my own studio, also based on Victoria Street – I’ve come full circle! After working as a hairdresser for a while, I was given the chance to work on Annie Lennox’s hair. It was Annie who convinced me to give freelance hairdressing a try – I quit my salon job the very next day and never looked back! I spent a few years freelance hair styling for photographic shoots and worked with lots of renowned photographers at the time. In terms of my makeup experience, I did a make up course in Auckland, but initially a lot of my work was self taught. I eventually packed my bags and flew to London, where I did a full make up training course with techniques, different looks, special effects, the works. I came top of my class.
And the rest is history!
2. Where did the idea of your party ready service come from?
It comes from my own love of girls getting together and getting ready to go out. Sometimes I feel like it’s more fun getting ready – creating special moments with your friends and family, and getting glammed up. I want to make it easy for women to come in to my studio, and have everything done for them in the most fun, relaxed environment, and I want to help women feel beautiful, empowered and full of life. I want women to walk out with their hair done, makeup done, and nails done, after a couple of glasses of bubbly, feeling like a million bucks!
3. You also have a haircare range. What made you decide to create it and are there any future plans to expand on it?
Over the years, I found myself working with hair that lacked natural body and volume, and that needed product after product added on top to get it looking great. The problem was that many of these products were full of nasty chemicals and didn’t really do their job properly. In my opinion, healthy hair needs to start at the basin, and it can be done entirely naturally. That’s really what inspired The Black Collection – I wanted to create a range that was scientifically formulated to completely nourish all hair types, leaving it healthy and full of body. It also needed to be completely ethical – made using only natural ingredients, such as jojoba oil, shea butter and avocado oil, and no animal testing. I’m inspired by my Irish and Polynesian ancestors, who knew the importance of the ethical use of nature in beauty products. To bring the collection to life, I partnered with NZ scientist Sir Ray Avery, who was able to provide the scientific insight – and we now have a beautiful shampoo, conditioner and treatment. My next steps are to continue growing my party-ready service and other beauty services, and bring my Black Collection products to more women around New Zealand and overseas, in time.
4. If you weren’t a magician of hair and make up, is there anything else you would do?
An archaeologist. I love old ruins and foraging for fossils. It’s quite difficult to do that here in Auckland, so I satisfy my foraging by looking for treasures in op shops and markets instead.
5. Who are some women in your life that inspire you?
My long-time friend Judith Baragwanath, and my mother. They inspire me because they are strong women who are empathetic, kind and have always believed in themselves.
6. What is your favourite type of cheese or favourite snack?
Meredith’s goat feta. I also love fresh figs when they’re in season. Hummus. And truffle oil – drizzled on a pizza. Yum!
7. What is something people don’t generally know about you?
I like to perform the poi. I haven’t quite mastered the one over my shoulder yet but it’s a work in progress.
8. What is your quote to live by?
Seize the day. Also, try your best to help someone every day.
See our recent visit at her amazing loft salon HERE