James Forte (@jamesfortehair) has loved his year as Denman Stage Star Winner* 2021, and it’s definitely been action-packed. Denman recently arranged for James to spend two days with ambassador Mike Taylor at his academy in Poole, Dorset. James says: “I chose to go on a course with Mike Taylor as he’s an incredible barber and I wanted to expand my repertoire as a hairdresser. I hadn’t actually experienced a barbering course before and wanted to see some actual barbering techniques and how I could incorporate them into my work in the salon.”
Free education is an important part of the Denman Stage Star year and the winner gets access, as well as complimentary travel and accommodation, to help them grow their skills and make their year with Denman even more valuable. During two busy days with Mike Taylor, James was able to learn different types of skin fades, layer-over-comb and finishing techniques that will help make sure each cut lasts longer; he even got a haircut from the man himself. Lastly, James was able to learn basic techniques with a cutthroat razor, to understand the full traditional barbershop experience.
“My favourite bit was learning how to do a razor shave. It was loads of fun and I took away a lot from that. I even got access to the Mike Taylor Education Zone app and a really cool T-shirt, too. The biggest challenge I faced was doing the wet shave on a client without guidance but under supervision, at the end of the course. After going through two wet shaves with me, Mike challenged me to do a client on my own after we went out for lunch. I took the challenge and thankfully his trust wasn’t misplaced and the model was happy with the result,” says James.
James has found that his skin fades have improved significantly since the course and he was looking forward to doing more traditional wet shaves in the future.
*Stage Star UK & Ireland is a competition to find the next budding stage artist that launches every August. The final takes place on the HJ Stage at Salon International – and you can check out this year’s finalists here.