How I Became A Celebrity Hairstylist

nicola clarke

Nicola Clarke is the Creative Color Director for John Frieda. She can probably make anyone’s hair look fab, but she’s seriously in-demand in the UK and USA. She is the hair colorist to the stars, meaning she really knows her stuff about hair. She was responsible for Madonna’s hair transformations and Cate Blanchett’s recent pink rinse. So cool. Everything she does is cool, chic and right on trend without losing what the client initially asks for. But enough from me, here is a bit about her career in her own words:

My career in hair began when I was 13, I talked my way into a “Saturday job” at a local salon which was local to home and a year before I left school I secured a job in the salon at The Berkeley Hotel and started there at 15.

As a child, I was inspired by Sam McKnight.  I always wanted to work with hair, it has always been my passion and I am lucky enough to get to color and style some of the most inspiring women around the world.

The highlights of my career…

I love working with the inspiration that is Kate Winslet from her Lancôme campaign, to Revolutionary Road or her complete transformation in Steve Jobs or the epic hair on Triple 9.  Film wise I think it was Triple Nine because the filming for Kate Winslet was shot in Atlanta in just 7 days. I also enjoyed working with Kate Moss on the Versace campaign and Michelle Williams for Louis Vuitton, and of course Cate Blanchett for SK11, and Armani Si. But maybe coloring hair pieces on set for Lady GaGa with Sam McKnight was fun and really creative.

I’ve had so many highlights in my career, perhaps working on the film The Beach was pretty fantastic.

My hair must-haves are…

I love the Color Wow range, Color Wow Root Cover Up is always in my kit – it covers roots and grays seamlessly when there isn’t time to color hair before a premier or on a shoot.

Color Wow Raise the Root thicken & Lift Spray is brilliant at creating volume particularly on color treated hair which is fragile, I also love this product as it doesn’t contain any of the ingredients which can darken the color of hair.  A pair of tongs is another essential.

My top tip for keeping hair looking sleek and chic on the go is to invest time in styling hair, the current trend for that slightly more undone look means that you can rough dry hair, and then use tongs to create loose waves which look stylish, then finish with some hairspray to hold them in place.

The inspiring people I’ve met…

Sam McKnight because he is a master with hair and has remained the world’s best stylist for decades, which is quite an achievement. The other is Madonna because she’s one of the most professional and creative people I’ve had the pleasure of working with and is crazy respectful of your craft whatever that may be.

My average day…

On the average day I will get up at 5.15am and go to Barry’s Bootcamp or my trainer, then head get back home get my kids ready for school, then head straight to the salon (if I I’m not on a shoot or going away with a client for a film or red carpet event ), then it will be a full day of colour appointments and I love that every day is different, I leave the salon by 6pm so I can have supper and spend some time with my family, this is really important to me.

Balance is easier with help…

I have a fantastic husband who is brilliant with my work and is amazing with the kids So it makes life a lot easier when I am in the salon and have a standard routine.   When I am traveling with clients it is a little harder, but he’s actually better than me at maintaining a routine. I make time to facetime and call them when I’m away. On the flipside, I have got some amazing opportunities because of my clients, such as taking my son to the premier of Star Wars.

“You must be passionate about what you do and embrace every opportunity that comes your way and be true to your eye and what you see and of course work, hard.”

My networking tips…

I hate the word networking, what would be considered my most important contacts are my friends and I genuinely like them rather than seeing them as an opportunity to further my career.  If you just remember that everyone is a normal person, so just be yourself and do what you do best and people will respect you for that.

The best advice I’ve ever received…

Be yourself, trust your instincts and believe in yourself and don’t take it too seriously.  Work hard!!!!!

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