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Quick-fire quiz

sophia_che_quizpanelDescribe yourself in three words

Relentless (re·lent·less) adjective – The ability to drive forward through hard conditions.
Synonyms: Persistent, constant, continuous, non-stop, steady.

Empathetic (em·pa·thet·ic) adjective – The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Synonyms: Compassion, understanding, condolence, sympathy

Philosophical (philo.soph.ical) adjective – Relating or devoted to the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.
Synonyms: analytical, rational

If I could work with one person, it would be…

My greatest teacher/mentor was Sally Brooks. I hung onto her every word for years. I would have done anything for that woman – I still would. She constantly tested how far I could go both mentally and physically. The hardest time of my career, but I wouldn’t be where I am without it. I literally have tears writing this, I’m very grateful of my journey.

What’s the secret to presenting to an audience?

Be normal. Just talk the way you normally talk – you’re not presenting the news or the latest UN summit. This is hairdressing, so be honest and sound like a real person. Don’t see it as an opportunity to make it about you. If you mess up, you mess up. You’re human – remember that.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made… and what did you learn from it?

Oh god, I’ve made a million. I forgot to get a ‘license to marry’ and nearly had to fake my entire wedding so no one knew it wasn’t actually legally binding!
What did I learn? Not a lot. Just that I’m a moron.

Finish this sentence: young ambitious hairdressers today need to…?

Think about whether what they are working towards is ultimately what they want. Have you heard the expression, ‘There is no point in climbing a ladder only to find it’s leaning against the wrong wall?’  It’s important we check that wall from time to time.

I’ll never tire of…

Mentoring my team. The most beautiful part of having a salon is growing people. I have great relationships with my staff because deep down I really respect them. The salon ethos is about allowing them truly to be themselves, because the more comfortable they are in their own skin the happier they will be with me, with each other and with clients.

What do you need surrounding you to be able to work?

I need fewer opinions of others. I’m obsessed with getting other people’s point of view when making a decision but so often it’s the worst thing I can do.

If I hadn’t been a hairdresser, I would have…

It’s so hard to tell but I can tell you one thing, I’ve never been a person who doesn’t know what to do because I don’t like anything, I like everything! I love hairdressing but it’s not the only thing that’s exciting in the world of me. I wish I had 10 lives to try 10 different jobs!

What skill should stylists learn that isn’t hair-related?

I always teach my staff to address their personality traits before we start on their hairdressing. For example, learning stress management is a big one; if you can’t control this, everything else will become so difficult.

The most exciting place I’ve worked was…

Madagascar. The ladies there told me that my styles were ‘old fashioned’ and that they looked like their grandma should have them. That was a huge reality check for me. Who the hell am I to say what is ‘cool’? I learned then that ‘cool’ does not actually exist and we should all just chill out with the fashion malarkey rubbish. No one way is more right than the other.

The most important thing you need to succeed in hairdressing is…

You need to have an honest and trustworthy personality. You can get to the top without it, but no one is going to respect you when you are there. You need to treat people kindly on the way up – not in case you see them on the way down (which is a blooming awful expression, if you ask me), but because it’s the right thing to do. Contribute to your industry; focus not on what you can take out of it, but on what you can add to it.

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