I started in a salon at the age of fourteen years and started to think about entering hair contests at the age of 16. This style of work was different to salon style hair. The training for hair contests meant after hour work in the salon to understand how to create new style hair. I had the bug very early in life and was trained by my two bosses, Len Stein and Albert Simmons, in the salon they had, ‘Romaines of Park West’ in central London. I trained every evening after the salon closed; they taught me so much.
Lidija Gjorievska Harold Leighton Within a year, I was having a winning streak with the apprentice contests and had won three apprentice cups in a short time and then entered and won the big boy’s cups as I got more experience. When I turned 17, other people were joining the salon and the people that came into my life then included Leslie Green and his girl friend Connie Baker, Gerry Saper, and an unknown young man who had just come out of the Israeli army, Vidal Sassoon. Leslie and Connie became the teachers of this salon and Gerry and Vidal caught on in the fun and also started to enter the grownup contests. Between the three of us, we went out and developed a fan club as we started to win many cups between us: ‘The Brighton Festival’, ‘The Spring Fashion Trophy’, ‘The Rosebowl’, “The Chris Cola Cup’. These were the London-based contests that we entered and won. I was the youngest and I won them all in one or two years. It was hard work and we worked late into the night, from Monday to Thursday, and then on the weekends. Mondays were the contest evening events.
Another guy came into my life at this time, another unknown from Scotland, named Paul Mitchell. He wanted to know how I was winning these cups. We became close friends until he passed away in April 1989. We grew together in training and working with hair; we dressed hair, we molded hair, we pin curled hair, we worked hair in so many different ways. This to me is how I learned and scored points as our relationship grew along with our hair skills. We did not think about football, soccer, basketball or any ball game. All we thought about was meeting young attractive girls to be our models. I guess we were learning the girl game! AndI found this quite enjoyable as it taught us a lot about the other side of life!