In an exclusive interview for Estetica Magazine, Chairman and Founder of Alternative Hair, Tony Rizzo, answers the 10 most widely asked questions about the Alternative Hair Show and how its enduring popularity continues deliver worldwide acclaim and support!
1. This year will be the 36th Alternative Hair Show. It’s an enormous task to organize such an event each year. What is it that makes you keep going?
“My passion has always been hair and creative hairdressing and it is through my craft that I have been able to channel my commitment to Fighting Leukaemia. I am excited to promote the artistry of hairdressing and to bring together so many talented teams from across the globe.“
2. When you began AHS did you think it would become such an enduring event?
“Not at all! I planned a one-off show. It was only after its success that other hairdressers persuaded me to do a show the following year… and then we just kept going.“
3. What was it that drove you to start AHS?
“Sadly, Maggie and I lost our first child to Leukaemia. When he passed away I was bereft and felt very helpless. I needed something to help me focus and so I turned to the organization of a hairdressing show, because that was something I knew about and I knew I could do. I never dreamt I’d get such incredible support from other hairdressers. It was absolutely amazing. I will never forget the kindness the hairdressing profession has given me over the years.“
4. Can you think of any stand-out moments from past shows?
“One moment stands out very clearly. Vidal Sassoon agreed to be the Global Patron of Alternative Hair. Such a wonderful man! He was hugely supportive and very hands-on. Soon after he became Patron, he agreed to do a short presentation about his life during the show, which was at the Royal Albert Hall. The theatre holds over 5,000 people and at the end of his presentation he received a standing ovation that resulted in the show over running by 15 minutes. It was spectacular and I’m sure no one in that audience will forget that moment.“
5. How long does it take to organise the annual show in London?
“I think you’d be surprised to know just how small the team is that works on the Alternative Hair Show. There’s me… and to be honest I do a lot of it myself, not just because I’m a bit of a control-freak, (which I am), but also to keep costs to a minimum. I have a PA, a graphic designer and my wife. That’s it on a day to day basis. We do everything from seeing venues, booking production teams, and organizing ticket sales, to thinking up a name for the show, planning the promotion and advertising, liaising with artistic teams, model agencies and choreographers to running the show on the day. There’s only a couple of months between one show ending and planning for the next one, and it doesn’t get any easier!“
6. Do you have anyone with whom you throw around ideas?
“Absolutely. 14 years ago Anthony Mascolo agreed to be the Global President of Alternative Hair. He’s proven to be an incredible support and of course, he’s always full of ideas and is a good ‘sounding board’. It was Anthony who came up with the idea of The Visionary Award. He’s passionate about finding and promoting new talent and the competition has developed from a small event in its first year, to a truly international event. We get entrants from as far away as Taiwan and Australia and it’s very humbling to see their enthusiasm, passion and creativity.“
7. Can you tell us about this year’s theme?
“This year’s theme is “Mystique”. The show is moving to the beautiful and mysterious Masonic Temple in the Freemasons’ Hall in London’s Covent Garden and the name seemed to fit the location. The venue is guaranteed to create an exciting, intimate atmosphere, allowing the audience to see every detail of the hair, makeup and costumes whilst enjoying the performance.“
8. You have raised over £12 Million for Leukaemia Research and your charitable foundation, Fighting Leukaemia. Is this money specifically used in the UK?
“Not at all. We work closely with the doctors and researchers at Great Ormond Street Children’s hospital in London and we organize an annual “party day’ for UK families, but we have supported charities across the Globe including sending nurses from the UK to train local nurses on child and family support, setting up best practice in hospitals in Africa and helping with funding in places as diverse as Russia and Korea.“
9. Who will be participating in this year’s show?
The Artistic Teams appearing in this year’s show are…
Alan Edwards – UK
Klaus Peter Ochs – Germany
Laszlo Hajas – Hungary
Saco – UK
Sassoon – UK
Sanrizz – UK
Robert Masciave – UK
TIGI Creative Team – UK
Rudy Mostarda – Italy
Ken Zhou – China
Carlo Bay – Italy
Guy Kremer – UK
Marc Antoni – UK
Anne Veck – UK
Mikel Luzea – Spain
Mark Leeson – UK
Kumenhair – Spain
Charlie Price – USA
10. What’s the date for this year’s show and how can people buy tickets for the show?
The Alternative Hair Show takes place on Sunday, October 14th at The Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden, London. Tickets are available from www.alternativehair.org or by contacting Tel: +44 (0) 170 765 7980