No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
Last September I was able to spend some time with my favourite filmmaker in Belfast. This is what we made together.
I am becoming convinced that courage lives somewhere in self-expression. Ability to create something of and from within yourself, regardless of the response. Being concerned more-so with truth discovered in process than validation found in critique.
Anis is incredible.
Jo McKay is Aveda’s European Technical Hair Specialist. I had the privilege of sitting down to chat with her recently at the Melanie Giles Apprentice Talent Competition. Here is what she had to say…
What does Aveda mean to you personally?
If I’m honest, everything. I have been working with Aveda for 12 years so it kind of means everything. The environmental side has always been massive for me, and the products are so clean in terms of that. It is like this wonderful, holistic thing where it is all included – it is much more than just the final product.
And I really absolutely love the products. I mean really the aromas are so wonderful. It is impossible not to fall in love with them. And, of course, the people. I love the people who I work with. They so inspire me to take risks.
You have spoken about research as being vital to creativity. Is there anything else that you would say is absolutely fundamental to maintaining creativity?
I have always had a real love for photography. It is something that really inspires me. I love to take and store images - they help to animate and tell a story. I am constantly looking for inspiration that way. It is just the visual aspect that is so important for me.
And Aveda is all about telling stories as they help us to understand the information out there. The message of what we are about is communicated through stories.
Why did you come to Melanie Giles in Bradford-on-Avon this evening?
I had heard that Abi (manager at Melanie Giles Bath) had been following my career in hairdressing, and for me that was enough to convince me to come tonight. I had been actually looking for an opportunity to come to meet with Abi and when I heard about the Talent Competition I just felt I had to be involved. It has been such a joy to support the apprentices tonight. I hope I have been able to inspire them in some way. It is incredible for me to be able to inspire young people to do things with their lives. And inspire them to take a risk on being creative.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Wow, that sounds amazing – why so?
I don’t know. I just think it’s amazing. It likes going to the moon. It is this wonderfully pure, beautiful and picturesque place. And the people are so kind.
What is the best cup of coffee in London?
Actually, I drink tea. I carry my own tea with me. And wherever I go I buy tea there. I sort of collect it and then take it on my travels. There are some wonderful little teahouses across London but for me it’s all about finding places I can buy my own.
It has been over 4 years now since my last journey to Bristol for the ‘foodies festival’ which takes place annually at the Harbourside, and I cannot comprehend why I have waited so long to go back.
This festival brings together local suppliers, food demos by top chefs and live music to create a bright and yet relaxed atmosphere. On a sunny Saturday afternoon in July there is nothing more appropriate in my mind than a glass of pimms, the company of good friends and the sights and wonderful aromas of any number of food stalls surrounding you. For any food lover this was paradise.
"Creativity is contagious, pass it on" Albert Einstein
The world of hairdressing intrigues me. I must admit it is an extremely fascinating industry. For me, it somehow brings together the everyday and the extravagant. I like that.
Those of you who have been to any of Melanie’s salons will know that it is an experience in itself. To be in one that is hosting a talent competition for all of their apprentice stylists was an absolute joy. The sense of anticipation, that the judges would finally see several months of effort and endeavour, was palpable even as I arrived.
Overall award winner Emily explaining her look to Melanie.
Speaking to those involved, from apprentices to models, from owner to managers, you could see just how much hard work had gone in to this showcase of some exceptional talent.
And I found myself slowly becoming a part of it all. An environment where creativity and passion are encouraged and cultivated is somehow refreshing. Witnessing those in, perhaps, their first year of hairdressing receiving encouragement from someone as inspirational as Jo McKay was beyond exciting.
Jo is Aveda’s European Education Specialist in Colour and her love of all things hair related is remarkable. It is really impossible not to want to be involved in some way. As she spoke to the room she opened with, ‘This all feels very Aveda’, swiftly followed by, ‘…for me, it feels like, you are the future of hairdressing.’ By the end of her address I was more convinced than ever that creativity, and indeed passion really is contagious. What makes Jo extraordinary is her willingness to pass it on. Her desire to inspire others to take risks, and to create.
Jo Mckay giving her feedback to one of the apprentices.
Each of the apprentices involved had worked tirelessly for several months all to come to this point. Their ‘mood boards’ adorning the walls on both sides of the Salon, one of the four judges Maddy Wood told me they were looking for, ‘…a strong representation of the boards. I want to be inspired by what the apprentices are doing.’ One by one the models took to the floor and the final look was revealed. The judging process could begin.
Mood boards hanging on both sides of the Salon in Bradford-on-Avon.
"What Mel has achieved in 6 years is just incredible" Emma Hodgkins
And it really is incredible. Speaking to Mel and Bath Salon Manager Abi at the end of the evening, they both said their favourite thing about the night was that everyone was under one roof. And no wonder – to begin just 6 years ago with 3 people in one salon – and now to be sitting in this wonderful, spacious salon-number-three with a little over 50 Melanie Giles employees. It all became a bit of a love in. It was, I’m afraid to admit, difficult not to get involved.
What brought all of this together so beautifully was this idea that inspiration, creativity and passion are not only contagious, but central to all that happens at Melanie Giles Hairdressing. They have brought together the everyday and the extravagant in a rather unique way and it was a pleasure to be involved.
“What I do is a lot of research. You need to look for inspiration – seek these things out.” Jo McKay
Melanie Giles Apprentice Talent Competition
Jo McKay // European Education Specialist in Colour (Aveda)
Melanie Giles // Owner (Melanie Giles Hairdressing)
Maddy Wood // Manager (Melanie Giles Hairdressing)
Emma Hodgkins // Company Trainer (Melanie Giles Hairdressing)
1st Year Apprentices – Katherine James
2nd Year Apprentices – Faith Reed
3rd Year Apprentices – Ben McRobert-Thompson
Overall Achievement Award – Emily McLaughlin