Recognised as a woman of substance across UK, five time winner of the enviable British Hairdressing Awards, Tracey Devine Smith is a rare combination of guts and glory. Having started out at age 15, Smith, a self-taught hairstylist, is now the International Global Ambassador at Affinage. She has garnered a wealth of experience in hairdressing and is now ready to be bestowed with several more prestigious awards.
How did you get interested in hair dressing?
I was born to do hair! From my earliest memory I wanted to be a stylist sitting on my mother’s shoulders brushing her hair. My first job was at Clancys at age 15 in Elgin, Scotland. I was lucky to gain an apprenticeship there and at that time they were really at the top of their game. I did work in a chemist before that at age 13, but Clancys was
my first hair job.
Who all have mentored you?
One of my biggest mentors is a session stylist named Cim Mahoney. He made me realise my potential and showed me how exciting session hair was! He instilled in me the passion and belief to follow my dreams of session hair. I also love the ethos of Errol Douglas. He is a real people’s champion and never gives up. Jamie Stevens is a huge inspiration in the way he has changed the perception of hairdressing in UK. I applaud him for what he has achieved at such a young age.
What all courses have you done and from where?
I am mainly self-taught. After college, I did go on to do an HND in hair and attended Sassoon’s and HOB, but I am an online junkie. I think, online you can learn at your own pace and the proof is in the practice and experience. We are never too old to learn!
What were the challenges that you faced?
Challenges come with success and I still face them regularly, but I believe, they make you strong and teach you dignity. My main challenge is to ensure women in our industry are recognised for their skills. I champion this cause every day.
What is your forte as a renowned hairstylist?
Photographic work is my USP. I am mostly at home working on hair behind the camera and it never bores me. I am an all rounder so nothing scares me. I also love colour and feel very strong in this area.
What is your current role and responsibility at Affinage?
My main role at present is the International Global Ambassador and I am in charge of their creative direction and help the brand grow in a positive modern direction, spread education and generally help in developing the brand . I also am a regular at fashion weeks, creating shoots on a monthly basis for top titles or high street brands. Please tell us something about your association with the British Hairdressing Awards. The British Hairdressing Awards are very close to my heart. Having won five titles, I feel very honoured to now be in the hall of fame and be part of the esteemed judging panel. It’s the highlight of my year!