HJ Voicenotes: Jordanna Cobella, the International Women's Day special

Published 06th Mar 2024 by Charlotte Grant-West

We spoke to Jordanna Cobella for our HJ Voicenotes column, but we just couldn't wait until the May issue dropped as it was full of so many brilliant sentiments that hit the International Women's Day spot (Friday 8 March). Read it and feel inspired...

What does the term feminism mean to you?
It’s still about striving for gender equality and equal pay, but increasingly I feel like feminism means celebrating the divine woman and feminine power. It’s about celebrating female superpowers and our differences, rather than seeing them as flaws. It’s about stepping into female energy and celebrating the maternal traits we bring to our roles in the workplace and the relationships we have with our clients. It used to be about ‘wear trousers, be more like a man’ – but now it’s about celebrating who you are as a woman.

What does feminism in the hairdressing industry look like to you?
Feminism in the hairdressing industry looks like women supporting women. We should be celebrating both the diversity and commonality of women. In essence, it’s about women coming together.

Who are your female hairdressing icons?
I love Renya Xydis. She is a global ambassador for Wella Professionals in Australia. She really celebrates her femininity. She has bright pink hair and piercing blue eyes. She dresses femininely; and has such a strong presence. She has such a professional manner, you’d never catch her talking badly about another hairdresser. It’s great to have a figurehead like that that represents professionalism in our industry. She represents what it takes to be a great hairdresser, including her eloquence and careful choice of language. She is the whole package. She represents her passion for hairdressing through podcasts and her social media channels. She’s amazingly active on social media – she’s 60 years old and she dispels any notions of social media having an age limit. People connect with her through her amazing hair, but also her energy and vibe. She’s halfway across the world but her online presence makes her seem like she’s much closer.

If you could go back in time to when you traind to be a hairdresser, what would you say to yourself?
So I initially trained as a lawyer and retrained as a hairdresser when I was 21, so I would say to that Jordanna: ‘you’ll always feel like you’re winging it’. But even though you feel like that, you are creating masterpieces along the way, so just enjoy it. When I’m training young hairdressers, I can see that they’re shaking, but I think that’s great. No one has ever felt ‘ready’ to be charging £70 for a haircut. It’s the same across every single industry, everyone has imposter syndrome. We’re taught in a very linear way at school – there is no room for grey areas. But in the creative industry we have to embrace the grey areas, because it’s how we handle those mistakes that make us who we are.

You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that your ambition is to win British Hairdresser of the Year, sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional. What would that accolade mean to you…
I would really step into that role and pave the way for future generations. I would represent British hairdressing totally. With that responsibility and that title, there are so many things you can do. There are so many things you can lobby for, change and innovate. I would want to evolve the industry within that year. I’m obsessed with collaboration and what we can learn from our neighbouring industries like make-up, and even creative advertising. For example, we can learn so much from the advertising industry, such as the psychology behind advertising colour, how we can better market our services to clients, the emotional intelligence behind a colour change, there’s so much... Having the British Hairdresser of the Year platform allows you to start the conversation and see where it leads.

Are you at the top of your game?
I do have moments of imposter syndrome – but I think it’s good to have areas that you feel that you could get better in. It’s so important to enjoy the journey along the way. I really want to empower hairdressers to realise that anything is achievable. People say things like ‘I don’t have the money to attend that course or do a shoot’, ‘I have two kids’, ‘I’m freelance, I can’t do that’– I honestly often think they’re excuses. You really can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Charlotte Grant-West

Charlotte Grant-West

Published 06th Mar 2024

Charlotte oversees the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. With over a decade of experience as a journalist, Charlotte was formerly Editor of Modern Barber and HJ Men, Social Editor at Netmums and Features Writer at Boots Health & Beauty magazine. She loves any products that make her hair bigger and more voluminous, and loves a behind-the-scenes peek at anything hair-related – whether it's a factory tour, BTS on a shoot or backstage at fashion week.

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