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Stylist students prepare to prove they are a cut above the competition

A GROUP of student stylists are bidding to prove they are a cut above the competition as they take on a series of regional and national challenges.

Eight Grimsby Institute hairdressing learners have reached the regional round of Wella’s Xposure 2018, while three of those –  Yolanda Ligertwood, Sharna Stevens and Ruby Genney – are also in the final of the Francesco Group Spotlight competition.

And Yolanda (20) has even more reason to celebrate, after being named one of eight finalists for the Hair Council Student of the Year, due to be held on June 10th.

The apprentice, who is in her third year of an NVQ Level 3 Hairdressing at the Institute while also working at Aura Hair and Beauty, will have 50 minutes to produce an “innovative cut and blow dry”.

“I found out I was a finalist a bit by chance,” Yolanda explained. “The Hair Council started following me on Instagram; I didn’t realise but they had sent me an email which was in my junk.

“I was going to subscribe to their magazine so went online and just happened to see my name – then started crying!”

Yolanda will take down a friend to model for her in the final, which will be held at London’s Goldwell Academy.

“She’s quite funky anyway so I came up with the idea to do a root stretch, which shows a bit more skill and is a nice look which suits her.

“I’ll be dying her hair in reds and copper beforehand, which are quite in colours, then I’ll be doing a very sleek, smooth and shiny look.

“I also have to plan her outfit and makeup as well as create a mood board of inspiration, to show where my ideas came from.”

Judging the competition are celebrity stylists Jamie Stevens, Patrick Cameron and Andrew Barton, who will also be interviewing Yolanda on the day.

“I’m feeling excited but really nervous,” she said. “I know on the day I’ll be a lot more at ease, but I’m just anxious because it’s such a big deal.

“Hairdressing is something I’ve wanted to do since I was really young. I love how there’s so much you can do with hair; there are no limits.

“I’ve always been arty and hair is just the art I’ve chosen.”

Yolanda has also “loved” her time at the Institute, adding: “I’ve met so many nice people and the staff are just ace at what they teach you.

“If it wasn’t for them telling me I could do this, I don’t think I’d ever have dared.”

Rachel McLean, Programme Leader for Hairdressing, said all of her students heading into competition have done “amazingly well”.

“To get eight into the regional final of Wella Xposure is a fantastic achievement in itself; we’ve never had that many into this stage.

“We won first and second at Spotlight last year so are hoping to at least match, if not better last year’s result.

“As for the Hair Council Student of the Year, we’ve not had a student in the final for five years, so to win that would be the icing on the cake.

“Julie Moore, who is now our Vice Principal for Curriculum, won the competition herself and has been so supportive.

“All of our students have worked really hard, going above and beyond what is expected in a normal college or working week.”

She added: “Yolanda is a fabulous student who is really enthusiastic and passionate about the industry.

“I know she’s got a lot of ambition and has what it takes to have a fantastic career, so we wish her lots of success.”

Yolanda, Sharna and Ruby will be joined at Wella Xposure by fellow students Carrie Ann Pickering, Kelly Laws, Sophie Smalley, Sky Young and Keisha MacLennan.