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A Woman To Watch: Jess de Wahls

Mar 04, 2014

There are tonnes of amazing women out there who are shaking things up in their industry.  Across business, sport, art and tech, we’re talking to incredible ladies to learn about their lives and how they’re changing the game.  As the wise philosopher, Beyonce, once said, “Who run the world? Girls.”
Name:  Jess de Wahls
Age:  30 (for another week!)
Sexuality:  Straight ( although…who cares)
First ever job: Papergirl
Uni:  Nope
Current occupation:  Hairstylist, as well as Artist
Month or years in current field:  Stylist: 14 years /Artist: My whole life
Tell us what your typical day looks like:
Well, since I have two jobs, there are two kinds of typical days. Every wednesday to friday I work at my salon, which is inside Soho Theatres cabaret dressing rooms. On those days, I typically get up around 6:30am, feed my cats, get my sorry arse in gear to do 30 minutes Gillian Michaels 30 day shred, followed by generally getting ready for the day and cycling from Brixton to Soho for a day of chopping, colouring, chatting and generally recovering from the 4 days of hermit artist life that I very much enjoy to, though I could never imagine doing each job full time anymore. After I finish I often go for a drink with my last customer (most of whom I consider friends after years of knowing them) or maybe catch a show at the theatre. I cycle home, and depending of whether there is art work to do or not, I will either get on with that or just chill with my other half, Brad, and the kitties.
The days that I am working at my studio, and yes- it’s all the other 4 days – I usually try and get up relatively early, although that entirely depends on how late into the previous night i have been working.  Same thing applies…30 day shred followed by breakfast and then straight onto arty things. For the past year and a half I have been working on my upcoming show, Big swinging Ovaries, so I would usually work on one of those pieces for 9 to 13 hours depending on how sore my fingers have gotten from the sewing.  Maybe some wine and a wind down season of the latest set Brad and I have been swallowing up on netflix, and then bed.
My biggest achievement to date: Rather than a thing that I’ve done, I think it’s much more the deeply rooted contentment that I have gained with myself, through following my dreams and convictions without letting fear and worry get the better of me.  Though let’s see how Big Swinging Ovaries goes…it’s gotta be up there 😉
What keeps you up at night:  My never resting creative ideas breeding brain…and my cats.
Have you ever cried at work: YES!  You do when a friend dies.
What’s your ultimate goal to achieve:  Gaaaaaaaaaaawd it’s not really one thing, it’s so many..! But in a nutshell, I am lucky!! I am terrifically lucky for so many reason that there isn’t enough time to write them all down, but, what I wanna do when I’m a grown-up, is to be a philanthropist. I have been working on establishing my name as a brand for quite some time, as well as merging the many things I do under that name. What I want to do, is to help people that haven’t been so lucky in life, and teach them skills! Teach them how to cut hair, how to sew retex sculptures, how to build their own success etc.  I don’t believe in ridiculous riches, although I am painfully aware that if I want to make a difference, I will need the funds to do so in our society. But what I mainly believe is in Giving whilst living! So yeah…I want to be the best I can, so I can be an inspiration as well as a help for others. That’s my ultimate goal.
What did you want to be when you where 5 years old:  A doctor…only briefly though, but long enough that my granddad was holding against me that I only became “a lousy hairdresser” after all, for the rest of his life…ah well.., can’t please them all.
Who is your work idol: Well, I gotta say- most people don’t expect this of me, but I greatly admire Beyonce, hence her portrait in my exhibition. That women’s work ethic and determination is crazily inspiring to me- though it never made me want to be a popstar or anything like that, the sheer drive behind here is to me awe inspiring!
Clear your diary for 8th March when the show opens, coinciding nicely with International Women’s Day and half of the proceeds will go to supporting TechMums.  The exhibition only runs for 11 days so make sure you don’t miss out.

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