How I became a hairstylist

After all these educational posts, here’s a more personal post about what being a hairstylist means to me, and how I came up with the idea to do it.

Photographed by Sheridan’s Art

As a kid, I was always into art. I loved drawing portraits, painting, sculpting, … I believe that resulted in the style I have today. I was always a tomboy and never liked barbie dolls or make up, but drawing, and making my own fantasy world, this I loved.

From age 14, I fell in love with 80s heavy metal and punk bands. I wanted to wear my hair just like them, but unfortunately, none of the hairdressers in the neighbourhood knew about the style and they didn’t succeed in getting me what I wanted.
I gathered all my courage and asked my friend at the time to cut my hair into an 80s mullet. Ever since that moment, I trimmed the ends and took care of my very own dream mullet.
Then, the styling journey began. I have extremely thin hair, so I tried everything to get some volume in it. I loved going crazy with extensions, hairsprays, gels, anything I could get my hands on. I also experimented with hairdyes and bleach. I loved going crazy on my own hair, but never touched anyone else’s hair before.

Photographed by Sheridan’s Art

When i was 18, I joined an 80s-style hardrock band as a keyboard player. Every time I performed live with the band, I got better in doing my own hair. Unfortunately, I never became a good musician!
I also met my boyfriend at that time and we were (and still are) so much in love that I wanted to have children. Of course, I was just 18, and he said that I was still too young. He wanted me to enjoy my youth before settling down and becoming a full time mother.
Yet, the desire for children filled my heart and the fact that it wasn’t time for that yet made me very depressed. A friend suggested I’d find something else to put my passion in, instead of being sad about my situation. I looked for something where I could put my heart and soul in.

In a very stupid coincidence, I was bingewatching all seasons of America’s Next Top model. I think I must’ve been around 20  years old at the time. I watched the behind the scenes footage of every shoot and fell in love with the hairstyles. Working with models, making art together with other artists, traveling the world, working with fashion designers, … It looked like a dream to me.
I thought about it a lot, of course, but every piece of the puzzle fell into place. I felt extremely happy when I did my own hair and I felt beautiful when I had my full 80s lion’s mane. So how incredible would it be if I could make other people feel beautiful and create art at the same time?

Photographed by Dave Groennesby of Collabs Photography


I immediately looked up hairstyling schools in my area, and found one not so far from my home. It was only half a day per week, and in one year I would have my diploma. Since I worked part time, it was the perfect opportunity. I still remember how amazing it felt when I registered. I realised I was about to embark on a journey that I wouldn’t regret. It felt as if I got my owl with my Hogwarts letter when I got the confirmation that i would start my education in september 2012.

I had a blast at hairstyling school. My classmates were all super nice girls and we always had lunch together in the cafetaria or indulged in a lovely McDonalds meal. I learned a lot, especially from my second teacher Nadine. She taught us about historical hairstyles, and that is where my love for Rococo hair started. At the time, I worked as a waitress in a cupcake café, and I would sometimes come to work with crazy hairstyles with flowers in them because I just came from class. (Luckily, my boss didn’t mind at all. )

Photographed by Dave Groennesby of Collabs Photography

When I got my diploma, I wanted to dive into the world of fashion shoots right away. I got my first shoot thanks to Bibi Makeup Queen,  a Make Up Artist who discovered me on Facebook. I remember I first focused a lot on 80s hairstyles, but I soon fell in love with Avant Garde and hyper feminine hair. It was a nice contrast for me, because I always felt very boyish and did “manly” things – I listened to heavy metal and punk, wore men’s clothes, went out drinking and was very loud, and never showed any interest in things like make up, fashion magazines or anything like that. I got into the world of high fashion and it was like Disney World to me.
I don’t think I will ever lose my punk edge, though. It makes me who I am and also creates that Je-m’en-foutisme that makes my work stand out, in my opinion. I always want to be different than what everyone else is doing, and I hope that shines through in my work.

In the following years, I focused a lot on doing everything I possibly could. I accepted every shoot, every dance show or movie, every friend that asked me to do their hair for a party. And because I wanted to learn, I did everything for free.
When I met Melanie Plum from Au Contraire Photography, my life as a hairstylist changed. She showed me what I had been aiming for all these years: pure art and extremely good photos. I realised I had set the bar way too low for myself before, and from that moment on (I think that was the end of 2016), I got much pickier when it came to collaborations. That made my portfolio a hundred times better then it was before.

Photographed by Sanne Verhei van Bergenhenegouwen

The more I worked as a hairstylist, the more I realised i wanted to do this as a full time job. I had found my passion. Every minute of the day I thought about the next shoot I would do, looked up ideas for hairstyles or practised on my mannequin head. I asked around if there was a chance I could do this officially.
After a lot of research I decided I wanted to become an enterpreneur and become a hairstylist officially. To achieve that, I had to get my business management diploma. Since I didn’t finish middle school and never had a diploma before, this intimidated me a lot. I did get my hairstyling diploma, but that was a walk in the park for me because it was all practical. Business management was pure theory, formulas, and a lot of mathemathics, a subject I was horrible at when I was still in school.
But, thanks to hard work and after a lot of breakdowns and #ragequits, I took the exam. I would’ve been satisfied if I just got half of the points, but I got a whopping 61%, which was a huge achievement for me. I registered my company “Julia Lion Hair”, officially, got an accountant, and now I have been an official hairstylist for 5 months already.

I am so grateful for the incredible journey I’ve been through and can’t wait to see what’s next in store for me. I have learned that anything is possible through perseverence and hard work.

I hope this article was interesting to read. I would absolutely love to hear your stories! Feel free to write your own post (on your blog, website or even Facebook page) about how you became what you are now.

One Reply to “How I became a hairstylist”

  1. Hi Julia,

    Thank you so much to put my name in your article! I was Totaly surprised. You know you rock girl. Wish you all the best luck .

    Thank you so much, really apriciate it.

    Love you girl.

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