Back in February I was filmed for an episode of BBC 2’s new series of Hair and last week the final episode aired and Phil Hunt was officially crowned Britain’s Best Amateur Hair Stylist 2015. What a worthy winner he was too.
Phil is originally from East Yorkshire, and now lives in London whilst studying women’s hairdressing at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College and working towards his trade test at the Oolong Hair salon, Shad Thames, London. He gave up a successful career in retail fashion early last year in order to retrain at EHWLC and realise his dream career as a hair designer and stylist.
Phil Hockey, Executive Director at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College said: ‘On behalf of everyone at the College I would like to congratulate Phil on his well-deserved victory in the competition. We are very proud of him and he sets a shining example to adult students embarking on career change of what is possible through vision, talent and hard work.’
I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat to Phil last week in the aftermath of the show and find out his thoughts on the whole experience.
Congratulations, on winning. How did it feel when it was announced?
It was rather a bizarre feeling, when the three of us stood in a line at the end waiting for the announcement. I truly did not think I’d win. In my head throughout the whole day I thought the other two were definitely going to win, and I was happy with that.
Have you had trouble keeping it a secret until the programme aired?
Keeping it a secret has been a nightmare for me, I decided not to tell any of my family in Yorkshire, as I really wanted them to watch the show and enjoy the experience without knowing that I had won it.
What’s the plan now?
At the moment I’m working towards my hairdressers trade test once that is finished I will be able to work as a hairdresser in a salon, and in September I will go back to college and carry on studying. I also want to start getting experience in film and television, theatre and editorial work. I love the idea of being able to diversify, so I am also completely open to any opportunities that may come along too and if by chance Paloma Faith is seeking a new hair stylist, I’d definitely be interested.
What made you decide to enter in the first place?
During the summer of last year, I was working in retail and wasn’t very happy with the career that was mapped out for me. I decided I wanted to do something that I hadn’t been able to do years ago, I wanted to do something that was not only rewarding but creative, and watching series 1 of Hair last year really inspired me to have a go myself. In September 2014, I signed up to a college course, and in October last year I got a job as a salon Junior, and I worked hard. It was then in January 2015, my lecturer at college received an email from the BBC saying they were looking for applicants for Hair 2015. I jumped at the chance.
Did you always think you could win or was there just a certain point you wanted to get to in the competition?
I was grateful to get an audition, and once I received the phone call to say I’d actually been chosen for the show I was elated. Every episode from there on, I was grateful to be in there, and to get to the final was so surreal. I didn’t think I would win it, I still don’t!
You did some pretty amazing creations, where did you get your inspiration?
I take a lot of inspiration from the person who sits in front of me, their culture, their face shape, their hair colour. I get excited about nature, and all the different shapes and styles of nature, the colours and the shine. For me inspiration comes daily, and I often grab my phone and take photos of shapes, designs, colours I like at the time.
Which was your favourite challenge?
I loved all the challenges, however my favourites were the freestyle challenges where I could be super creative. I always have a clear vision and I really wanted to show my artistic merit. My favourite creation was Miss Havisham in the ‘Fantasy’ round.
Did you hate any of the challenges?
I loved every single one of them, they were all amazing
Did you disagree with anything the judges had to say?
I didn’t disagree with the judges at all, their experience and knowledge for me is liquid gold.
Have you kept in touch with any of the other contestants?
I have created great friendships through the show especially with Sarah and Rebecca. I think they are both super talented.
What a lovely guy! I’m still astonished by some of the amazing creations he brought to life on the show and if he’s ever looking for willing volunteers to try more crazy things out on, I’m here!