Local beauty pagent hairstylist, Shirley Naidoo, is well-known as the owner of Hair Sensations, based at the Hilton Hotel Durban. She has been the official hairdresser for many beauty pageants, exhibitions, international conferences and special events held at the Durban ICC.
The Weekly Gazette recently had a chat with the creative hairstylist to find out what is she all about.
TWG: Tell us about your background, where did you grow up and what were your circumstances like?
SN: I grew up in Puntans Hill, living in a joint family environment with my grandparents, my parents, my dad’s sisters and brothers and their children. Almost 25 of us and it was so much of fun.
TWG: Why did you start your business and how did you rise to success?
SN: After working at two salons for almost 15 years I had gone to start a salon in Victoria St, Durban, at Damjee Centre. This is where I built up a clientele and I also did a lot of charity. I sponsored hair and make up for local and international shows and I grew by attending hair workshops by internationally trained hairdressers and participating in hairdressing competitions.
TWG: What has been your motivation and driving force?
SN: When I started Hair Sensation in the 80s my dream was to be the best in my field and the driving force was my late mum who taught me to do bridal hair when I was a little girl.
TWG How many years have you been in the field?
SN: I have been in the industry for over 40 years.
TWG: What is your most proud moment in the profession?
SN: I have many proud moments. In 1977 I won my first hairdressing competition. In 1983 I obtained my masters in hairdressing and was chosen as an official hairstylist for over 40 countries including Singapore, South America, India, Dubai, and American cities like New York and San Francisco.
TWG: Tell us about your role in the Miss India World.
SN: My role in the Miss India Worldwide pageants is not only doing the hair for contestants but to help with chaperoning as well. Since many of the contestants come without their parents I act as stand in mom and over the last 25 years I have built a beautiful bond with contestants around the world.
TWG: What are some of your greatest achievements?
SN: My greatest achievement is having a salon at The Hilton Hotel in Durban and we celebrate 20 years in August. I was also nominated as one of the icons of hairdressing for KZN and I have received over 100 awards in the various disciplines of hairdressing.
TWG: What does the future look like for you?
SN: The future for me looks really promising. I have been invited to be on the hairdressing team for Miss Universe.
TWG: What are some of the large or small events that have built your name?
SN: The Now or Never Show, MTV Awards, Miss South Africa, Miss India SA, Miss India Worlwide ,The Eastern Bridal Fair, East Meets West, Miss India International, Miss India Teen, Barbie and Ken and Mr India.
TWG: Who do you do all this work for?
SN: I do this for myself because it’s what makes me happy.
Shirley, complete these sentences for us:
TWG: I first styled hair in…
SN: …1968 for my late mother when she competed in the Telegu Eisteddfod.
TWG: My personal favorite hairstyle is…
SN: …a French knot.
TWG: I love doing hair because…
SN: …it is what I do best and also I am able to make a lot of people look beautiful and feel happy about themselves.
TWG: If I was not a hairstylist I would have been a….
SN: …probably been a teacher.
TWG: I enjoyed doing hair at…
SN: …all the events that I have worked with but the one that really touched our hearts was the mass weddings which we sponsored for 10 brides.
We had all the brides dressed at the salon with hair, make-up, jewellery, and the Hilton sponsored their breakfast. Kevin Joseph did a photo shoot and a luxury bus was sponsored by Ashika Devnarain to transport them to the Veeraboga temple in Tongaat. Garlands was done by Flowers Direct.
TWG: I would compare doing hair to…
SN: I really wouldn’t compare hairdressing to anything else.
TWG: My favorite event that I did hair at was…
SN: My favorite event was doing the first Miss India SA in 1991 at the Raj Cinema, in Prince Edward Street.
TWG: I hate…
SN: …lazy people and dishonest people.
TWG: I love…
SN: …motivated, honest, loving and happy people.
TGWG: My biggest dream is…
SN: …to leave a legacy for one of my children to follow.
TWG: What are some of your personal hair tips for our readers, especially this winter with dry hair being a common issue?
SN: A tip for hair that is dry and lifeless in winter is to wash in warm or cool water. Keep hair and scalp well hydrated. Because it becomes brittle and dry, not to mention the frizz and static, warm olive or coconut oil with a little lemon juice massaged on the scalp will alleviate the problem of winter hair damage.