First year hairdressing student Sophie Squires has been studying the Certificate in Hairdressing (Year 1) at SIT for just 8 months and on Saturday, November 11, she was awarded first place in The Patrick Cameron Instagram Challenge (Under 4 years), a competition hosted by the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers (NZARH).Named as a top four finalist in late September, Sophie never imagined she would take out the top prize.
“I was absolutely pumped,” she says.
“I never expected it.”
When undertaking the course, Sophie’s initial goal was to finish the year-long course. She had finished school and was looking for a useful skill. Hairdressing was something she had been interested in growing up, so Sophie decided to go for it. “I didn’t know if I would continue on and become qualified, but over the last couple of months I’ve now decided to complete it.” As part of her course, Sophie has to carry out 80 hours of volunteer work experience in a salon. Halycon took her under their wing and Helen Lee encouraged her to enter the competition. A senior stylist at Halycon, Helen tutors at SIT and spoke to Sophie’s class about her journey.
“As part of that, she said she had entered the competition and been one of the finalists,” says Sophie.
“I wasn’t sure as it was completely out of my comfort zone, but the week prior to the competition ending I decided to enter.”
She found a model and worked for quite a few hours in the salon, perfecting the style required – an easy ponytail or easy classic look, naked shoulders with photos of front, side and back. Patrick Cameron asked that the look was not ‘tribal’ or ‘fantasy’ inspired.
I didn’t have heaps of ideas because this was the first time I had entered a competition,” Sophie says.
“I did my thing and kept to the guidelines.”
As a top four finalists, Sophie was invited to Auckland to the Industry Awards. These coveted awards recognised the best business, training and creative talent in New Zealand’s hair, beauty and barbering industries.
The Patrick Cameron Instagram Challenge – Under 4 years in the industry was in the Creative Section of the Industry Awards and Sophie, along with her brother Frank who accompanied her to Auckland, sat tensely awaiting the results.
When her name was called as the winner of the award, amongst her peers throughout New Zealand, Sophie was very surprised.
“It didn’t quite sink in,” she says.
“I got up on stage, shook someone’s hand and then said a few words.”
Sophie received a glass trophy and an education package as part of her prize. She says her tutors have been fantastic, which has made a real difference to her studies and her goals. “I thrive under encouragement and positivity. “I have done extra well under their tutelage and have really loved the theory and practical aspects, working through a bit of both. “I’m also very grateful for the amazing support I have received from the girls at Halycon, my family and friends. I really couldn’t have come this far without them all.”
Next year, Sophie is hoping to enter more competitions whilst continuing her hairdressing journey as an apprentice at Haylcon, completing block courses at SIT and working with HITO.