EFM Exclusive Story - Hair Stylist Ayo Laguda




 hen I met Ayo in the luxurious lounge of  ‘One Aldwych’ in the West End of London, I felt slightly flustered as I was a little late, or was he a little early?   I joined him and we immediately went into the interview.

Ayo always knew that he wanted to do something creative with his hands; he told me that as a young boy he wanted to be a carpenter.  Ayo's career as a hairstylist began over 25 years ago.  Whilst he was on a summer holiday from school, a friend of his, who was a junior hairdresser, suggested he could get a job as a ‘junior’ too.  Ayo, not really knowing what the 'junior' job entailed, decided to go along.  “I swept the floor, served coffee, and learned how to wash hair.” Ayo described his new found surroundings as a salon of celebrities and affluent people, something that he wasn't accustomed to.  However, in spite of this Ayo sensed that being a hairstylist was something that he wanted to become.  “I was very intrigued and decided to stick with it and see where being a hairstylist would take me.”   After working in the hair business for such a long time, Ayo still doesn't think that it’s hard to become a successful hairstylist like himself.  Ayo is a very humble and unassuming man.  “I think it's become a lot easier.”  How so, I asked?  “When I started out there wasn't that many session hairdressers in London, also there were no agencies. However, nowadays there are quite a few!  Ayo states that now it has become easier to join teams and work backstage on fashion shows.  “When I started, I worked alongside Eugene Souleiman.”  I interviewed Eugene, I said to Ayo.  “Oh really, Eugene is an amazing hairdresser and really good friend we worked together for years.”   Ayo shared with me interesting stories from ‘back in the day’ when he and Eugene use to team up at the fashion shows backstage.

I asked how important is it to have an agent?   I met Ayo through his agent Emma Davies, who is great and a very professional agent.  How long have you been with her I asked?  “About a year,” says Ayo.  “You have to build a substantial relationship and you have learn to know each other,” as you may speak to several times a day.

 Your recent work with InStyle UK featured Nicole Richie on the cover.  “You saw that,” he says to me with a laugh. How did working with Nicole Richie come about?  “I work with InStyle UK quite regularly and InStyle always uses celebrities. How was the shoot with Nicole?  I asked Ayo.  “It was good,” he says.  “She was here for the Glamour Magazine award show.  She's very nice.  I was actually quite pleased with the way her hair came out.”  It was very slick and sophisticated, I said to Ayo.  “I researched online to see how Nicole’s previous hairstyles where through-out the years and on other magazines and events.”

What do you think the hair trends for S/S 2011 will be?  Or do you believe in hair trends? I asked Ayo.  “No not really,” says Ayo.  “I don't do any fashion shows anymore.  You could get a general feel if you did the fashion shows of what the hair trends would be.  It never seems to change that much.”  He says that it's more of the celebrities that stage the hair trends more so than the models on the catwalk.  “If a celebrity turns their hair gold, then everyone turns their hair gold.”

A few years back Ayo developed a hair care called ‘Afrodisiac’, which he still uses today on his A-List clients.  “It's not color specific, its hair-type specific.  'Texture Control'.  I can do anything with that, Ayo says, with a laugh. Other products he likes are the Brazilian Blow Dry and Keratin Complex.

After spending a little time with Ayo, you can get a true sense of his character as a kind and generous individual.  Ayo's best advice he shares with me, to the aspiring hairstylist is, “meet with photographers, or if you really want to start, ring your local modelling agency; ‘say that you want to meet a photographer who is testing’.  That's one way you could start. Once you have built your portfolio you need to be in an area to get the work; like London, New York, Paris or Milan.”  Ayo says that he doesn't mind having aspiring hairstylists’ shadow him while he's on location.  A lot of people are not as nice as you, I said to Ayo.  He response;  “I grew up in a culture where some hairdressers were very guarded about their techniques.  But, that has never been my personality, I like to help people and pass on knowledge.”

After our interview Ayo and I continued our conversation.  Ayo mentioned that he has mentored two aspiring hairstylists and they have become very successful.  I asked Ayo, how does that make him feel, his response, “it makes me proud to help someone to achieve their goals, it's fantastic.”  He continued to say, that sometimes they are out for the same job, “it doesn't bother me.  You’re always going to have the younger talent coming through.”







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