'I'm just a normal guy' – hairdresser to the stars wants to inspire others
He's the talented hairdresser to the stars who hails from Wolverhampton – and he is hoping his journey to the big time will help inspire others in the city.
Paul Jones, from Oxley, has cut and styled the hair of numerous supermodels and celebrity A-listers after leaving school with just one GCSE in pottery.
He has been the hairdresser for Olivia Colman, Megan Fox, Kate Moss and even for Benedict Cumberbatch's wife Sophie Hunter at the Oscars last year.
And after hitting the big time the 42-year-old is hoping his extraordinary journey will inspire others to pick up a pair of scissors and enter the profession.
"I always had a funny little dream I would be working at a salon and Nicole Kidman would come in and she would whisk me away and all over the world, but I thought 'that's never going to happen'," the hairdresser said.
"But I remember a lady came in for a blow-dry once and I didn't know she worked for Harvey Nichols and she was so impressed she asked me 'do you want to do the hair for our show?' I did the hair for 24 models and she was so impressed she said 'will you go to Knightsbridge with us'?
"And my career went from there. I moved to London and started doing hair on the fashion circuit, so I've done New York, Milan, Paris – I've travelled the word and I've even done the hair for the Oscars, for Benedict Cumberbatch's wife which is a stand out moment for me. But every time I go to work I do something pretty amazing."
Paul was a student at Pendeford High School and left in 1996 when he was 16 with one GCSE in pottery to his name, describing himself as a "terror" who was suspended in his final week – later discovering he was dyslexic.
He started at a college in Wolverhampton city centre, which closed down, before heading to another site based in King Street. He was the only boy on apprenticeship at the time – something which generated a "lot of stick" at the time – and worked at Cato in 1996. He later achieved his NVQ in hairdressing.
"There wasn't YouTube or Instagram, or anything like that when I started so you either had to go on courses or watch people you worked with," he said.
He then worked at the Francesco Group, Toni and Guy and Saints in Wolverhampton along with Obsession, Nicky Clarke, James Bushell and Hazel and Hayden in Birmingham to name a few – having worked in 18 salons in 18 years – with the fateful meeting happening in 2010 in Birmingham.
And soon he would enter the world of supermodels and showbiz at age 33, saying he had to "start all over again" when he started in the professional side of the industry which led him to cut the hair of high-profile clients.
"I did Olivia Coleman's hair," he recalled. "She was doing press for her latest film and I've never met her, I walked into the room and she said 'can you cut hair?' because a lot of people can style hair but they might not be able to cut it. I said 'yes' and she said 'will you cut all my hair off'? So I had to cut her hair really short.
"I did Kate Moss' hair for an awards ceremony in 2018 and I had to do her hair in 10 minutes in the back of a car – and my hairstyle was actually praised in Vogue as one of the best of the year.
"But there's been so, so many because I've been doing this for around 10 years now. I did Megan Fox not too long ago, Machine Gun Kelly, and a lot of others. I feel in my career I've been very fortunate and I always look at these people as people. I've been hairdressing for 25 years and I don't look at anyone differently. I've done some really amazing people and been fortunate enough to do nice people – and one of the nicest people I've ever done is Kate Moss."
The hairdresser worked on the fashion circuit under legendary hair stylist Sam McKnight MBE, known for his work with Princess Diana, Lady Gaga, and fashion houses, for five years – being a member of "Team McKnight".
It enabled them to travel the world covering some of the world's biggest fashion shows in New York, London, Milan and in Paris and the likes of the The Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the streets of Havana, before making the "heart-breaking decision" to leave and try life as a freelancer.
Paul later styled the hair for Benedict Cumberbatch's wife Sophie Hunter, when the Marvel and Sherlock star was up for the Best Actor award for his role in The Power of the Dog, at the Oscars in 2022.
"Getting them ready in their hotel was incredible, I'll never forget it – I bought Benedict a crystal for luck which he took with him to the awards," the hairdresser said, describing the buzz around it as "incredible".
The hairdresser is now a freelancer who lives in London, but he speaks fondly of his time in Wolverhampton – and is hopeful others may decide to follow in his footsteps, and his advice for making it to the big time.
He said: "Every day is a 'pinch me moment' to be honest. I have to have a reality check sometimes and be like 'wow, am I really on set with the most legendary model of all time Kate Moss?'. Or I'll be in LA doing hair and think I'm just a normal guy from Wolverhampton and now I'm working on the most famous red carpet in the world.
"I never ever take what I do for granted and I am so grateful for everything I do and everywhere I travel to, I got on 30 flights last year, and it wasn’t a quick transition. This has taken a lot of hard work, guts and determination."
When asked for advice on how people can follow in his footsteps, he said: "I think firstly, you have to have a lot of belief in yourself and you skills. That's what will make take you to where you want to go. Learn as much as you can and be prepared to have to do things at the last minute. Believing in yourself and knowing what you want is so important – and put yourself in positions that will help you get to where you want to go.
"If someone would have told me when I was working in a salon in Wolverhampton that I would do these things I've done, I wouldn't have believed them – so dream big and big things will happen," he added.
Paul's famous hairdos can be found documented on Instagram under the username PaulJonesHair.