A cut above

Tia Wright-Pihama

QUALIFIED stylist in May, award winning HotShot in June. 

Twenty-year-old Toni & Guy Perth hairstylist Tia Wright-Pihama has had a whirlwind welcome into the industry. 

Despite being labelled Apprentice of the Year at the Australian Hair Fashion Awards last December, Ms Wright-Pihama didn’t come into the Australian Hair Industry Awards in June with great expectations.

“I was prepared to just try again next year,” she said.

But the six hairstyles she submitted in her application and short spiel about her experience in the industry caught the judge’s eye and Ms Wright-Pihama was awarded one of the four HotShot positions at the finals in Sydney.

Judges included former Australian Hairdresser of the Year Jayne Wild, Dee Parker-Attwood, Benni Tognini, Stevie English, Kobi Bokshish, Sharon Blain and Brad Ngata.

AHIA owner and publisher Linda Woodhead said Perth should be proud of “the amazing” Ms Wright-Pihama. 

“She has firmly proven herself as one of the industry’s most exciting and upcoming talents and I can’t wait to see where this award will take her,” Ms Woodhead said.

Ms Wright-Pihama said she made the decision to go into hairdressing in her final year of high school in 2019, not even waiting until graduation.

“Sometimes [school] is for certain people, and isn’t for others,” she said.

“I always knew I wanted to do something very creative, and an office job just wasn’t going to cut it for me.”

“My mum said to me, ‘you’ve got a week to find a job or you’re going back to school’.”

Her mum had plenty of reason to be concerned about her hairdressing aspirations after a disastrous experiment with her best friend and a bottle of boxed bleach when she was 14 years old needed a total restyle with the kitchen scissors.

But she hit the phones for a week, and struck gold with her very last lead, when Toni & Guy offered her a job at Perth Central.

She watched the senior stylists in awe while delivering coffees and colouring bowls, but over the last three years has worked her way through the ranks and is now considered one of the salon’s senior stylists.

She completed her TAFE studies in May of this year in Australia’s hair capital, Sydney. 

Despite the recent successes, Ms Wright-Pihama says she’s not resting on her laurels.

“You never know everything, you can always know more,” she said.

by MIA KNOX

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