Collaborate with a Creative: Being a Hair Model

Day 16 of Blog Every Day in May is ‘collaborate with another creative’. Having been a musician and a teacher, this used to be a pretty regular occurrence for me. So I decided to collaborate in a different way.

I saw an ad on Facebook of a local hair salon looking for hair models to help trainee hairdressers with their apprenticeships. I’m always up for helping people in training- I’ve taken on several work experience students and trainee teachers while working in schools and I’m always happy to talk to med students and Junior Doctors about my conditions. I’m also known as sounding like a broken record with students when I explain that courses like teaching, beauty, hair, sales etc at college should be considered as ‘creative’ courses, because anything which involves negotiating or working closely with humans requires a varied ‘think outside the box’ approach rather than a ‘one size fits all’ method.

I miss teaching and it was also heavily discounted, which was a bonus! I liaised with the trainee beforehand via email and went in today. She was very friendly and professional and explained what was happening every step of the way e.g. when she needed her mentor to check her work and what they’d be looking for. The appointment lasted about twice the length of my usual haircut, mostly because she was taking her time, which I didn’t mind.

She started like a usual hairdresser would, asking what I’d like and explaining her ideas. Her mentor came to check her consultation and offered some styling advice to her (which I didn’t understand), as I have thick curly hair which springs up once dried, so needing a slightly different approach to straight hair. She asked her mentor to double check a couple of things, but she wasn’t floundering, she’d already decided on what she wanted to do, she just wanted some reassurance. There was one point where her technique wasn’t quite right, and I could see she was beating herself up about it, but it wasn’t as bad as she thought, as she’d at least been consistent in what she’d been doing! Her mentor told her how to ‘fix it’, which she did.

I wasn’t really nervous about the appointment, although I can see why some people would be- you’re giving over a lot of control to someone who’s still learning. This wouldn’t be for you if you struggle being flexible. It was definitely a combined effort between the trainee, her mentor and me. It reminded me a lot of what I did every day in teaching, but with some differences: provide the necessary information, sit back and watch without prompting, be there to answer questions if needed and draw some conclusions so that progress can continue next time. She needed to be creative in making sure my needs were met, I needed to be creative in that giving her feedback was very different from teaching, as I had even less control than usual. She did a good job and had good customer service skills- I’d see her again, anyway!

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