I think before I continue with this blogging business you need to get to know me a bit more. So let's dive right in...
I'm Ashleigh Hodges, aka The Hair Geek UK, I got this name from a friend (I can't even remember which one now) who was laughing at the amount of courses etc I was going on when I was first starting out. Then it kinda stuck. I'm a very ambitious, passionate, yet quite typical 26 year old. I tend to work 6 sometimes 7 days a week, but when I'm not working I throw on a pair of mom jeans, my old skools & a fur coat (of course) and go for brunch in vintage emporiums looking at all the stuff I didn't realise I needed in my life. Currently residing in northampton with my boyfriend of nearly 7 years, Matthew Gavin, and my boys Gatsby & Hendrix, two cheeky & gorgeous fur babies. I have recently started a new adventure commuting to london and working for the award winning team at Jamie Stevens Kennsington. Passions of mine include hair (oF course), food, interiors, and looking after our world as a happy feminist.
So how did I get to this point in my life?
This story starts with a broken heart. Let's go back to 2010, yep only 7 years ago, the year that changed my life and mind set completely. In 2010 I met some of the most important and influential people in my life today-
My bestie/sister sarah, Matt, Errol Douglas and Jamie Stevens now my boss man.
At the time I was just finishing off my NVQ level 3 Hairdressing apprenticeship at my mums salon, Flame Hair Studios. I flew through my apprenticeship, completing everything plus extra units in only 2 years (told you I was a Hair Geek), well I had been doing hair since I was 11 years old. I had just found out I hadn't made it through to the final of a college competition and was devistated, all I wanted was to see my boyfriend of 3 years, to cheer me up. He came up to northampton that Saturday, I picked him up from the station we came back to my parents house and he broke up with me out of nowhere. Now this was the guy I thought I'd marry, for all the ambitions I had in life I think I would have compromised it all for him. I was broken hearted.
This was the biggest turning point for me. I realised I would have edited my future for someone that could just through it away. I vowed then to become my own strong independant women. The first day I felt like myself again was a month later when I was Invited to assist on the northampton matrix show. I was surrounded by passionate hairdressers and that's what I wanted in life. From that day I through myself completely into my career. I was on every course, till matrix asked me to come on board as a educator for them, the youngest one to date at 19. The stage was where I saw myself so I starting asking every inspirational hairdresser to assist them.
Errol Douglas said yes. So I travelled up to Leeds (I had never been up north before) and assisted him on a huge show he was doing for Matrix. I made myself indispensable and made sure he wouldn't forget me. I was then asked to assist him on a regular basis on shows and shoots. This is when I got to meet my now boss man Jamie Stevens, Jamie was working for Errol at the time, so I'd quite often help Jamie out on things too. I wanted to learn as much as possible to one day be in their shoes. Errol then put me forward to apply for the FAME team. I didn't think I was ready, but had nothing to loose, if anything I would learn a lot from the process. I look back now and think I was very nieve when I entered and I think that was perfect, if I was entering now I would over think every part of it & perhaps wouldn't have completely been myself. At the 2011 fellowship luncheon I was announced as a 2012 fame team member along side three other amazing hairdressers. It was such an honour.
Fame team was the best year of my career. But when you finish you think oh my god where do I go from here? You don't want to be forgotten, so you have to work even harder to keep progressing up the industry. I went back to asking the people I'd met over the year to work with them, and tried to usilise the contacts and knowledge I'd just been given. I worked on numerous shows for fashion week and shot for different brands. Matrix then bought me on as a guest artist and I was finally being paid to be my creative self. This gave me the opertinity to really invest in myself and my career, I was able to start doing my own photo shoots and showcase myself on stage at all the events. I made sure I was seen everywhere. I entered everything. I then won creative heads IT GIRL 2014 (top female under 30) and matrix global started to take an interest in me. So for the last few years I've been able to fly to and from New York and across Europe working on shoots and shows to showcase my creativity to them. The goal is to be an official global ambassador for them, and strengthen the female talent they globally have.
During this time the fellowship asked me to become a project leader for them and look after their finishing school- the project x team. This was a huge honour and such a great way for me to give back to the organisation that started my career. I think a lot of people didn't think I'd successed at this, seen as I was younger than most the students paying to be on it. That really frustrates me in not just our industry but in life- you work your arse off for years to have experience yet people focus on a number. Anyway I definitely proved them wrong and had a extremely successful two years, with two brilliant teams who have now gone on to become the next generation of hairdressers for our industry. From this I have been able to progress through the organisation and recently been elected onto the fellowship council. I am hoping I can keep progressing the fellowship and really mold the industry of the future- where gender and age doesn't matter.
I get to do some bloody amazing things in my career, I recently got to work on the tv show The Voice, not only is that awesome I get to do it with people I love being around. But I've only got to this point in my life through pure hard work and determination. I like to think I'm a role model for any hairdresser wanting to make it. I came from a salon no one had heard of, in a town no one has heard of, and because of my hard work everyone knows what I'm about now.
So that's a brief insight into my career so far and how I've got to The Hair Geek UK in 2017. My plan for the imidiate future is to move to london, once Matt gets settled into his new job, find my feet on the fellowship council, build up a strong clientele and work with the amazing creative team at my new hair home Jamie Stevens Kensington, and really prove to matrix global they need me on their team.
Life goals- change the world. I know, I know I can't do that, but I can help to change the world around me, and that's the plan. I want to be one of the people moulding hairdressing for future generations, proving females really can get to the top, that age really is a number and it's all about experience, and that you can do all of that whilst living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Well let's see... 7 years ago no one knew who I was and look how that's worked out, you just give me another 7!