Alex Cook, from Wispers Hair Salon in The Square, Wickham, and Tia Gentles, from Tony Wood Hair in Castle Road, Southsea, have made the final of the British Hair Fellowship competition, which will take place at the annual Salon International event at London’s Excel Centre on Monday, October 18.
The pair are among eight finalists who will be competing for one of four places in the 2022 Fellowship Academy for Merit and Excellence (F.A.M.E) team, where they will be mentored by leading names in the industry.
The finalists have already had to showcase their portfolios, create a professional short film, perform their styles on live models, take part in an interview and a presentation, and will be under the spotlight for the final time next month to perform for their place in the F.A.M.E team.
Alex, from Knowle, has been at Wispers salon for six years. Her career has already taken her to London and Paris fashion weeks and Alex hopes that the F.A.M.E team will be her next step.
The 28-year-old said: ‘This has always been my biggest goal, I’ve always come to this event since I first started hairdressing and thought “how do they get there?” and now one of my dreams is going to happen.’
Having an interest in hairdressing since her time at St Mary’s School in Southampton, Alex did an apprenticeship at Fareham College and has been a hairdresser ever since.
Wispers owner Tina O’Nion said how proud she is of Alex’s hard work.
She said: ‘She puts so much effort into everything, she goes above and beyond and spends a lot of time in the evenings to prepare.’
Tia, from Whiteley, has worked at Tony Wood Hair for two years, and has been a hairdresser for 10 years, since starting her training while in Year 10 at Brookfield Community School in Sarisbury Green.
She’s excited for the final, but said ‘the nerves will kick in soon’.
Tony Wood’s co-owner, Liam Fry said he has every faith in Tia’s abilities.
He said: ‘She’s such a multi-talented stylist, I know for a fact that she’ll come up with something spectacular for the final’.
Tia, 26, said: ‘It’s really good to have two people from Hampshire going through to something so big as the F.A.M.E team.’
Alex added: ‘It’s amazing having people from the south coast because not many people reach this high level, and it’s normally people from the big cities. I’m buzzing for Tia too’.
The winners will be announced in December.