DT popped in to Simon Maynard’s studio in South Tottenham for a cuppa and a chat.
How long have you been doing hair?
I started cutting hair when I was 12, started my apprenticeship at 15 and I’m 48 now.
How did that come about?
My mum was always into hairdressing. I was quite independent by the age of 12 and I went to get a Saturday job. I wouldn’t say my mum was a bad parent, but she had a lot of issues going on and we got left on our own. I used to get my friends to see what was happening in the salon and try it out.
I remember the first flat top I did was on my brother. It looked great straight on. I had a razor and I was looking in the mirror and getting it flat on top not realising I’d shaved the top of his head! When he put his head down he had a bald spot.
What you do now in your studio?
I’m predominantly a session hairdresser so I specialise in doing commercials and photo shoots. It can range from fashion, to GHD, to Jessie J, to The Times magazine.
My dream was to have my own personal space to be able to create and give clients the perfect haircut. I’m really into cutting hair, I always have been. I’ve been very lucky to work with the best hairdressers in the world and I’ve travelled all over the world flicking hair around.
I used to go on the Dreamliner aeroplane a lot on my travels. When it comes in to land the lights start changing colours. It’s soothing and I wanted to bring that style of lighting in here. Someone gave me this light to cut hair under and I don’t have to worry about the ambient lighting anymore because everything is going on underneath, enabling me to give you this soothing light and colour therapy.
I wanted somewhere that was equally relaxing for the clients to sit in as well as for me to work. Hairdressing is always a two-way thing. It’s about communication with the client and also them being comfortable and me being comfortable.
The light the studio is also really good for photography.
Who have you worked with over the years?
Everyone from the Queen of Brunei to Steve Coogan and Jennifer Saunders. I’ve done lots of different things over the last 20 odd years. I went to Asia to do hair for the Brunei royal family for 22 years. I was doing that once a month. It would take me 20 hours to get there, do that for a day, and come home.
How did you end up cutting celebrity hair and moving away from the salon?
In my early 20s I started working for Nicky Clarke and became their artistic director by the age of 24. He sponsored another hairdresser who’s the biggest hairdresser in the world you’ve probably never heard of, Guido Palau, and I was his number one. He came to Nicky Clarke and picked a team to work with him and we travelled the world doing all the fashion shows: Alexander McQueen, Versace, Gucci, Chanel. It progressed from there and I started to do my own thing.
I got more into doing advertising. I’ve shot about 500 hair commercials. What I do is quite specialist. They come to me and say ‘We’ve got a commercial, we want the girl to walk through the door, hair to go boof, explode, then fall down and be perfect.’ Then I have to work out how to do that. Wires, wind machine, rolling it back when she comes in.
What made you decide to move into Tottenham?
From living and working in Soho and Covent Garden, everybody has slowly started moving north and I’ve gradually started coming this way more and more. Then the studio became available here. I get a lovely big space and a lot of my friends live round here so it was a perfect move.
What are you most proud of?
Lots of different things! Some of the big commercials I’ve done have been amazing. Working on film is one of my passions, but also I love cutting hair. That’s the one thing you don’t tend to do on film sets. I got this place so I can actually enjoy cutting hair. I was responsible for cutting Jessie J’s fringe in her debut music video for Do It Like a Dude – I’m pretty proud of that.
Can you tell us a bit about the work you’ll be doing with the make-up artist?
She’s quite a prominent make-up artist called Yin Lee. We want to do a master class in make-up and hair. It would be aimed at professionals or people that want to get into the industry – people who are training and want to add a bit more to their skill set.
This article first appeared in the Fashion & Beauty issue of Discovering Tottenham which was released in September 2018.