Jemima Wright completed her apprenticeship in Hairdressing here on the Coffs Coast, and even though she then moved away, she always came back for visits and calls Coffs home. Whilst living in Sydney, Jemima worked for some of the city’s most prestigious salons and won a number of awards for her work. And now, she’s brought that talent back home to the Coffs Coast!
Hi Jemima. What’s your history here on the Coffs Coast?
I wasn’t born here, but I was definitely bred here on the Coffs Coast. It’s always been my home base, as all my family connections are here; no matter where I have travelled off to, I have always come back to visit frequently.
What have you enjoyed most about being back here after all your years away?
Space! I loved inner city living; I lived in Redfern and so close to the city in what you could call a “cosy” apartment. Most of your life in the city is spent out at work or play, but now our family has grown, and my priorities have changed. I have moved back to Coffs with my fiancé and our beautiful daughter; we are all loving having a home and more space to spread out. Reconnecting with old friends and developing new connections with some really awesome creative people up here on the coast has also been really enjoyable.
You are a hairdresser by trade; tell us a bit about how you came to be in that profession?
I started my hairdressing apprenticeship up here in Coffs in 2000. I was a qualified hairdresser by the age of 19 and as soon as I had the chance I spread my wings and off to Sydney – I went. It was hard, and I really had to work at it. Just because my apprenticeship was over didn’t mean the training had stopped! I started working with Toni and Guy as a colour technician and continued undergoing an immense amount of training. It was from this point I veered into really finding my niche as a hair colour specialist. I finished there and went on to become the premier colourist at one of Sydney’s most awarded and reputable salons, Wildlife Hair. And now I’m back after 19 years, to where it all began.
What do you enjoy most about hairdressing?
Being able to have a job that is hands on and creative is truly enjoyable. And beyond that, the most enjoyable thing is to be able to create a look for someone that is a true and unique expression of their individuality. I have also, through hard work, been able to experience so much of what this industry has to offer – whether it be on the salon floor, to being behind the scenes on photoshoots, fashion weeks, hair shows and even TV productions; it’s all been really fun.
You have won a number of awards over your career so far; tell us a bit about that.
In the prime of my time, you could say I was pretty competitive, and I had the opportunity to enter some of Australia’s biggest hair awards. I was awarded with Judges’ Recognition four times for Australian Hair Colourist of the Year and was also a part of Salon Team of the Year numerous times, being part of the Wild Life Hair salon. It was definitely a time in my career where I lived and breathed work, and I loved every part of it – but now the most rewarding part of my career is stepping back into the salon after some time away from it and reigniting my love for this profession.
Hairdressing is a very creative job; where do you draw inspiration from?
I have been extremely blessed and lucky to work alongside some of the best in our industry in Australia, and working alongside other creative and passionate people, exchanging and bouncing ideas off each other has always helped me find creativity. Hairdressing is a fashion industry; I strongly believe it’s our job as professionals to keep on top of the latest trends and techniques, so that we can bring them to our clientele. Social media, pop culture and fashion are all my go tos when looking for inspiration; although, in saying that, being a little bit kooky and thinking outside the box will always set you apart.
Ongoing education is also really important to keep up-to-date on products, techniques and trends; we believe you are also an educator?
Education is key in this industry, as it is evolving and updating constantly. I have worked in all levels of education; I have been on the main stage of Australia’s biggest hair education event, Hair Expo, numerous times. I have travelled Australia-wide teaching as a guest artist and have even been to New Zealand, but most importantly, I have been able to teach and mentor apprentices on the salon floor, which is by far the most rewarding thing – to watch the young ones grow with skill and confidence.
You also teach yoga in your spare time; when and how did you first get into yoga?
I have been a practitioner for 10+ years and was originally drawn into yoga through an injury. In 2014, in between hairdressing, I went to New York to complete my teacher training and since then have continued to train and even complete another apprenticeship. I have an advanced certification now in the Jivamukti yoga method, and I also travel frequently to practice and spend time with my teachers. It’s not just something I teach, but is a way of living ethically that for me goes way beyond the time spent on a yoga mat. It has truly been a real pleasure to teach here in Coffs Harbour and to watch the yoga community grow and flourish.