Posted on 17th June 2024


We put the lovely talented MERYL on the HOT SEAT to fill us all in about her exciting hairdressing career, & also all about the Academy Salons 2024 PHOTO SHOOT!

Interviewer: Let’s start with your role. Why did you become a hairdresser, how long have you been in the profession, and what do you love most about your job?

Meryl: I stepped out of school and straight into a warm and welcoming hair salon in Yorkshire. Since then, I’ve enjoyed continuous opportunities and employment both in the UK and overseas. It has been an enriching and nurturing journey, always learning new things and having the support of both clients and fellow colleagues for the last 30 years. The variety and scope that this industry offers are probably the key ingredients in maintaining my enthusiasm for hairdressing. As a creative director producing workshops, I now love to show new, up-and-coming hairdressers the opportunities ahead of them and represent all that is positive about the hairdressing industry.

Interviewer: Photoshoots are such a big part of the creative process. Can you tell us what drives these shoots?

Meryl: Like most creative people, I love those moments when an idea explodes unpredictably in my head. Photoshoots give purpose to these thoughts and the opportunity to express and see the ideas come to life.

Interviewer: The preparation must be intense. How do you get everything ready for these creative shoots? When do you start prepping? What inspires them, and how big is your team? What’s the secret to getting it all done in one day?

Meryl: Firstly, there’s the challenge of accepting that not everything goes perfectly smoothly. The most important part of the year is spent planning, researching, organizing, and having regular discussions, preparation, and practice. If we do all of that, then no matter the outcome, we know we did our best. Everyone in the creative team has a ‘superpower’ to bring to the table, but the most important elements are commitment and enthusiasm. In art, every creation is open to interpretation. It’s the pride and lessons we learn along the way that fuel our passion for the annual photoshoot. As soon as one shoot is done, my team is eager to get started on the next one.

Interviewer: Why do you think these shoots are so crucial for your creative team and the salon?

Meryl: It’s the best feeling in the world to have a creative team thrilled because our images are on a wall or in a magazine. The rewards from a photoshoot are immediate, widespread, and long-lasting. Our salon and its wonderfully talented individuals have a
chance to shine and celebrate with other like-minded hairdressers in this friendly yet competitive industry.

Interviewer: You’ve seen a lot of trends come and go. What’s been your favourite hairstyle or hair trend since you started?

Meryl: I started hairdressing in the early 90s, so it was ‘goodbye’ perming and ‘hello’ colour, which put a smile on my face. Moving away from cap highlights, we started using foil, allowing us to use our imagination for creative colour placement. This was a big game-changer, enabling us to transform the currently trending pixie cut, graduated/disconnected bob, or the shoulder-length layered ‘Rachel from Friends’ haircut. The classic bob remains my absolute favourite. There’s a version of the bob to suit everyone. Over the years, we’ve even had fun reinventing names like the Lob (Long Bob), Blunt Bob, Boyfriend Bob, Asymmetrical Bob, Curly Bob, Butterfly Bob, French Bob, and Bob with Bangs.

Interviewer: How have client requests evolved? Are people becoming more experimental with their hair?

Meryl: Social media encourages people to regularly think about their hair and the possibilities of change. Clients do not want to feel bored with their hair, and as long as you can find ways, big or small, to keep reinventing a suitable shape or colour for them, you can build a good style and client relationship.

Interviewer: How many shoots have you been a part of?

Meryl: I was lucky enough to have my first taste of a photoshoot at the young age of 17, and it was an eye-opener. Since joining the Academy Salons group nearly 14 years ago, the enthusiasm for photoshoots and the appetite for competitions and shows have grown immensely. We are fortunate to have a skilled photographer who can guide us through the process brilliantly.

Interviewer: Lastly, what was your favourite look of this shoot and why?

Meryl: Oh, I can’t have a favourite. That’s a tough one because I know what was involved in creating each look. I’m proud of our creators and their individual talents. Choosing the colours and effects was one thing, but seeing how the colours came alive, or not, in front of the camera created a mixture of surprises. It’s all a “love it and learn from it” approach, and we enjoy the feedback.

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