When I began my internship at Liverpool Urban Hair Show, I figured the final event would be just a hair show where hairdressers styled the hair of models and competed for the best hairstyle.
Boy was I wrong.
I found myself completely thrown in at the deep end, turning up on my first day for a ‘shoot’, I was told no more. I found myself meeting the ever so lovely Eve Betts (Channel 4’s First Dates), being whisked out of my jeans and into a bright pink skirt, running round town to get confetti, and throwing balloons in front of a camera. I enjoyed every minute of it. I listened intently as Eve’s mum described Eve growing up with Alopecia, and I realised how much of an unrecognised issue it is. Hair loss is feared, those brave enough to flaunt it are presumed to have Cancer, and are pitied rather than celebrated, or expected to wear wigs. In reality, hair loss can occur for so many more reasons. Stress, pregnancy, anaemia, alopecia, PCOS, vitamin deficiency. It seems acceptable for males to be bald in public, but not for females. Equally, men seem to be shamed for being self conscious of their baldness and women are almost expected to be embarrassed, so unfair.
The show took place on Sunday 5th March, in Avenue HQ. A beautiful venue overlooking the Albert Docks. The whole purpose of the Liverpool Urban Hair Show was to raise money and awareness for Hair Heals, an amazing organisation, and it did just that. It was a fabulous night celebrating all forms of beauty and fashion. We had talented local dancers and singers from MD Productions, House of Dance, Amy Bryant, Girl Talk and Janice Music. The designers were absolutely phenomenal, KC Dainty’s beautiful and jewelled lingerie was out of this world and Donna Marina’s gowns had everyone staring at the models in awe. We also had an Avant Garde Fashion Showcase where Flixy Fashions ballet themed outfits stole the show. Liverpool John Moores Fashion Showcase had the most creative and interesting set of outfits I have ever seen, using clear and colourful fabric which gave the whole show a nautical vibe.
It was tough to work backstage when all of this talent was being showcased. However, backstage we worked with the loveliest models, talented makeup artists and hair dressers. It was hard work, running to and from the show room, liasing with presenter and actress Lynne Sellers, communicating with those backstage, and making sure everyone was ready, ordered, and happy. I got caught in the Beast from the East back home, but I knew I couldn’t miss the event we had all worked so hard to put on. 6 hours and 4 trains later, I eventually made it to Liverpool, changed in the car, and walked in just before it started. I was absolutely exhausted, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. The whole event was a celebration of talent rather than dwelling on the issue of hair loss. The night took an emotional turn towards the end when the video diary of a woman losing her hair was played, bringing the evening back to the stark reality that we were supporting, it almost brought me to tears.
To me, the most inspirational part of organising this event was the photos from the Hair Loss campaign we shot, as Eve looked absolutely stunning, and everyone enjoyed the shoot. Eve has a beautiful flower tattoo on the side of her head, which I asked her about. She responded, “people always look at things quickly in life, and never really take in the details and the little things that make people different. You can look at the flower and think “that’s a beautiful flower” and then if you really look, there’s actually a skull inside the flower. For me, I feel I’m a bit of an oddball and a bit different, and I wanted to give people that little realisation of things aren’t always how they first appear”. This quote sums the campaign up perfectly. Hair loss is such a stark issue, hair or lack of, tends to be one of the first things you notice about people. Eve has this metaphor tattooed on her in order to encourage everyone to look at the person behind their issues. She often speaks on instagram about how many messages she gets from young people about their hair loss, and thanks to this campaign, the fashion industry is finally telling them that they are allowed to feel beautiful and confident, they don’t have to hide.
#AlopeciaIsFashion, and 2018 is the year that the voices of sufferers are being heard.
It got me thinking how important my hair is to me. Yes it may be at that annoying length where it’s not long enough, but i’m so dependent on it. I admire Eve, and all those who have experienced hair loss. My hair is my identity, it changed with me from blonde to brunette as I matured at university, and it has been my comfort blanket that I hide behind after a decade of self-esteem issues with my nose. I rarely ever tie my hair up unless sleeping or going to the gym, as I don’t feel confident with my side profile, but now I know how I am to have never experienced hair loss. One day, it could happen to me, and to any of us. Most of us have issues, but they are internalised like mine. We should aspire to be more like those who’s issues they can’t hide, because it makes them braver and stronger people.
Claire is a very tough and ambitious lady, everything International Women’s Day celebrates, but she’s passionate and brilliant and treats us as more than just interns. Yes this comes with more responsibilities, and a lot of thinking on your feet, but we are allowed to be creative. Hire people, decorate sets, be in front of the camera, meet talented people and celebrities. Claire was inspired to create Hair Heals as a result of her own experiences:
“I experienced hair loss myself for a short period of time and remember being so confused, lacking support and avoiding going to places such as the salon were my hair would be touched, though it grew back after some time, I felt they could be many of us out there who when stressed, depressed or due to any other reasons, may lose hair and not know what to do or were to go for that support. After working in the fashion industry and organising Liverpool Urban Hair Fashion Show, I was exposed to Hair & Beauty professionals and models, I then had an epitome that the fashion industry would be the best starting point to campaign for victims of hair loss.”
I’d like to say a massive thank you to Claire for hiring me, and making me so passionate about this company. To the other intern girls, who I now call my friends; Sel, Caitlynn, Louise, Toni, Vlad, I love you girls and i’m so happy that we all work so well together. There is nothing better than working with like-minded, creative, talented, and most importantly, fun and friendly girls. Thank you to Eve Betts for inspiring us all, and supporting us. Also, thank you to Toni, Vlad and Dee Jay for your photography featured in this post and for letting me be the test model aha. Thank you to The Apprentice’s Joanna Jarjue for attending, and for speaking and encouraging us all. Most importantly, thank you to everyone who attended the show, and to everyone who cares to read this post. I hope you check out the links below.
The team is always looking for more interns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.liverpoolurbanhairshow.com, ideally we team up with people that are passionate about charities, the arts, fashion or anyone that has experienced hair loss or know of someone who experienced hair loss.
Please also check out www.hairheals.org.uk, and give £3 which contributes towards wigs, beanies, treatments, consultation fees, and more for those who attend workshops offering support and information.
Instagrams of those featured:
- @evebettsx – model