Mandy Kingsman talks to us about the moment she decided to pursue styling, her career, how she ventured into freelance and her decision to start educating. Her story is fascinating and her work is breathtaking, take a peek at her gorgeous hair art...
Can you tell us a little more about you and your background?
My name is Mandy Kingsman. I live and work in Sydney Australia and I have been hairdressing for just over 12 years now.
What drew you to hair styling?
Seriously…. I started cutting my own hair when I was about 15. It was really short and the hairdresser who cut it wouldn’t cut it as short as I wanted it. I would watch in the mirror and then go home and do it again – I’d get my brother to hold a mirror so I could see the back. Talk about D.I.Y.
But it wasn’t until I was at university studying and a friend asked me to cut her really long hair short, that I thought, I love this!
What is your favorite technique to use?
Razor cutting……That friend who’s hair I cut off. Well the whole haircut was done with a disposable razor (for your legs)
What has been your biggest defining moment in your career?
That haircut. It started my whole career. I quit University the next day and started an apprenticeship – 12 years later I run my own business and have just launched Kingsman Education.
Can you give us a bit of insight into what the typical creative process behind creating one of your gorgeous collections is like?
A hair collection for me tends to start with an idea I have. Which quickly becomes an obsession. That’s when I know I have to shoot it. I can’t move on from it until I created what is in my mind into a collection. I draw little cartoons of how I see each shot looking and then I hunt down my team. Photographer, Stylist and Makeup artist. There are lots of mood boards and conversations between everyone and I start making hair pieces if I need them.
Is there a specific area you often find yourself looking to for inspiration?
History. I love it. I’m a bit of a geek.
Do you have any rituals to ensure a successful shoot?
I go to bed early the night before, never get enough sleep from tossing and turning, wake up super early, drink LOADS of coffee, shoot for hours and hours and fall into bed at the end of the day. EVERY. TIME.
Where do you find your inspirations?
Everywhere – even now I’m typing this and out of the window are these beautiful Jacaranda trees that have really interesting bell shaped, purple flowers and I’m wondering how I could relate that into hair.
What is the one product/tool that you can’t live without?
I couldn’t do anything without my hairdryer! Not. A. Thing.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation! I would love to be able to do that.
How did you get into the education side of hair?
Education is in my blood. I used to coach athletics when I was younger, then I went to university to become a teacher… It was always going to happen!
I really enjoy seeing other hairdressers have that “Now I get it “ moment.
Who were your mentors along the way?
I think you can learn and grow from everyone who you meet along the way - But for almost the last 2 years I do have someone who I consider my mentor. She gives me the best advice and guidance.
So far, What has your biggest accomplishment been in your career?
There have been so many accomplishments to date. But that’s an easy question to answer! Starting my own business. Kingsman Hair and Kingsman Education.
Are you artistic outside of doing hair?
I like to think so. I appreciate photography and art. A lot. I don’t do enough of it myself though.
Who has influenced you most in your career?
People who have educated me along the way have had the most influence on my career. Both the great educators, as well as the not so great educators. I’ve built my entire approach to education on the lessons I’ve learned from them.
If you could talk to yourself at the start of your career, what advice would you give your younger self?
Along the way, people will make you doubt yourself and your ability. Stay on track – it’s the right one. And ALWAYS be yourself don’t try to mould yourself to fit how you think others want you to be.
What is some advice you can offer the next generation of stylists?
If it doesn’t happen fast enough don’t give up. Some of your mentors and hair idols have been in the industry for a really long time.
Work hard and Listen.
How has pursuing freelance changed your career?
It has opened so many doors that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t pursue it. it has also forced me to keep pushing and challenging myself, both creatively and personally.
Be sure to stalk Mandy on Bangstyle to see her latest styles!