Photo by Lee Woolcock
Hair Stylist, 41, Catalan/English
I have a Catalan dad and an English mum, and they met in the UK in the Sixties. Although I was brought up in Hounslow, we used to come to the Costa Brava for about six weeks every summer and I never wanted to go home. I decided to move here when I was 20.
My hairdressing career started out as a joke. My friend and I were walking down Kingston High Street one day and passed a salon full of girls. There was a sign outside saying “Help Needed”, so I went in and they asked if I could start folding the towels straight away. I stuck my head out of the door and told my friend to go home because I was staying. I was 15.
The real training began when I went to work for Raymond Bessone, aka Mr Teasy-Weasy. He was the first celebrity hairdresser and had a TV show. He did Marilyn Monroe’s hair and trained Vidal Sassoon.Two years into my training, I decided I might want to be a photographer, but my mother wouldn’t let me. She told me to stick with it and finish the course. I have to say that’s the only bit of good advice she gave me.I set up my first salon in Gràcia after eight years here. I was living in that barrio and I felt it was the heart of the city, with a good mix of people from Barcelona and outside. I saw two old barbershop chairs while on holiday in Thailand and had them shipped over, and it all took off.
It’s true that hairdressers get to hear the best gossip. One guy whose hair I’d been doing for a while showed me a picture on his iPhone of a girl he had slept with the night before. It was just their faces but you could see they were naked. He was very pleased with himself. The next time he came in, he told me his phone had synched the photo to his iPad through iCloud, his wife had seen it, smashed up the iPad, emptied his bank account, ripped up his clothes and put everything into his car. I had to try not to smile.
What I most love about the job is seeing people’s moods change. They leave the salon feeling much better and more confident in themselves and I like that I’ve made their day. The downside is all the paperwork!
Although I have five salons in the city now, most of my work is done outside. I am the ambassador for TRESemmé in Spain, so I work in Madrid and other Spanish cities a lot, and I am also heavily involved with the Madrid, New York and Miami Fashion Weeks. I speak to the designers, look at the clothes and create the new hairstyles that will filter down to the high street. I’ve also styled many celebrities’ hair, Paris Hilton’s for example, and worked alongside Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon in New York.
What I most love about Barcelona is that even after all these years, it still feels like a holiday. I love the beach, you can wear flip-flops all summer and there’s never that “Oh no!” feeling when you have to go back to work. My favourite haunt is the Cuban bar, Raïm, in Carrer del Progrés. In fact, I was there last night.