Wendy Hall-Shelton




pounds 35 per day plus tips


Swanscombe, Kent

How did you become a hairdresser?

I left school when I was 15, but even before that I was working as a Saturday girl. In those days, I used to get pounds 4 for sweeping up hair on the floor, washing clients' hair, watching and learning. I always wanted to be a hairdresser. I worked for Mario Edmonds where my mum and aunt used to get their hair done. I learnt to cut hair in the shop rather than at college. Later on I managed the Dartford then the Maidstone branches.

Do you remember your first haircut?

Yes, it was during a training evening. A woman came in with long hair and I was supposed to cut off only an inch from the bottom. I wasn't able get it straight so in the end I took off four inches. Before that, I used to use my brother Terry as my first guinea pig.

Have you managed to get any better?

Over the years! Styles have changed so much. When I first started, people wanted big curls like Farrah Fawcett-Majors; now they want it to be more natural. In between we've had bob haircuts. You still get people set in their ways who want the same perm or cut every time. It's nice when you do a hair makeover, when you re-style and tint hair that hasn't been done before. And bring out the red and gold. You feel that you've really achieved something much better than cutting a five-year-old's fringe.

What's the oddest thing that you have been asked to do?

When I was in Maidstone there was a man who used to find any excuse to come in and have his head wrapped in cling film. He'd have his hair conditioned every week just so he could get this treatment.

Don't you get sick of asking people about their holidays all the time?

Over the course of time you get to know your customers - your regulars come in every six to eight weeks. Many have become good friends and we socialise together, so it's not just "where are you going tonight" and "where are you going for your holidays".

Where do you work now?

I've only just gone back into working in a salon. I've been freelance for a few years and I did another job away from hairdressing. I saw a job going at Peter Bright's in Dartford and went in on impulse. Coming to work is almost like a social event for me these days, now that the children are getting older and don't need me so much.

How many children do you have?

We have three, two boys with a girl in the middle: Ky who is 13, Kacie is 12 and Keenan 8. We decided to call all our children with names beginning with K. We have a friend called Ty, which is how we got the idea for Ky. Apart from the school run, which I share with some other mums, I seem to spend most of my life ferrying the children around to football, karate and cross-country. When we finally get together, I tend to cook convenience meals as all the kids like different things: Kacie eats pasta and healthy things, whereas I wouldn't eat a burger or meat, just chicken occasionally. My husband Richard and the boys will eat just about anything. Richard eats a lot yet has been able to stay the same weight since we've been married. I'm always trying different diets, so my weight has steadily increased.

Who does your hair?

I chop a bit off the front and sides and I have to get somebody else to style it out. Until last July I used to have shoulder-length blonde hair. I colour it myself. I'm always changing - I must have been through the rainbow and back. It's copper coloured now but in my wilder days it's been black and red, mauve and pink. I've calmed down now.