I’m deeply honored this week to sit down with my ultimate hairdressing hero, four times winner of the British Hairdressers Award and Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Trevor Sorbie. This one was extra special for me, as Trevor as been a true inspiration both creatively and personally in my life.
• Trevor shares the origin stories of his well-known cuts, the Wedge and the Scrunch
• hear about his private audience with the Queen. Did he cut Liz’s hair?
• Trevor discusses minimum standards at his salon
Check out more episodes at https://chrisbaran.com/podcast/
Chris Baran 0:00
We discuss some images in today’s chat and you can see them in the podcast video at Chrisbaran.com.
How great would it be to get up close and personal with the beauty industry heroes? We love and admire and to ask them how did you learn to do what you do. I’m Chris Baran, a hairstylist and educator for 40 plus years. And I’m inviting all our heroes to chat and share the secrets of their success.
You know, my coach always said to me that you have to find somebody in your life that you’re going to pattern yourself after, if you want to grow. And this week is especially meaningful to me. Because this particular person is one of the people that I pattern myself after is person has inspired me both creatively, personally and professionally, to be the best that I could be. And I’ve watched his career grow. And it’s been helpful to me all along. He has been the four time British hairdresser of the year, a first time hairdresser, hairdresser that was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth, which is, by the way, and a member of the Order of the British Empire. He was the creator of the scrunch and the wedge. He was the first and in that the wedge was the first two page spread that was ever given to a hairdresser by the British Vogue. So let’s get into this week’s Headcase, Mr. Trevor Sorbie. Trevor, I have to tell you that, first of all, I’m gonna apologize if I stutter stammer a bit, because when I’m in the eyes of greatness here, but the the reason why I’m also saying this is Do you realize watching TV this morning, and they said that today, according to Australia, to astrology is the luckiest day of 2023. And I can certainly say that, because I have you on the podcast today. And I just want to say welcome. It is just I’m going to stop gushing and just say it’s such a pleasure to have you on
Trevor Sorbie 2:10
Well, it’s fine to Chris Baran You know, it’s been many years since we’ve bumped into each other and it’s good to see you.
Chris Baran 2:19
He got a big great round of well, story. We I don’t know if you have there’s this this event that we call Top Golf here. And it’s just the lazy man’s golf, you sit around on couches. They have music playing, misters from here in Arizona, so it’s in the heat and you get up and you whack the ball and you go down to get something to eat, you have little baby and and I bought the car. So I went through the pub area, and then back out to get the car while the rest of my family was following behind me. And my son was walking about I don’t know what 20, 30 feet behind me. And there was this little girl sitting at one of the tables. And as my son walked by, she said, she turned to her dad. She said, Dad, I didn’t know Santa Claus if you need us at at any of your parties or anything like that, you know I’m there for you. But yes, we’ve got a little the red out of the beard and all of that has gone away. So But listen, I don’t care where we are in life. I just there is so many people out there that whose lives you changed and I guess that I want to go before I go into that I want to just talk about and find out so people know where your beginnings. Where did you come from? How did hair how did it start, etc.
Trevor Sorbie 3:41
Well, when I was at school, I was getting bullied and I wanted to be an artist. But I also wanted to get out of school as quick as I could. And I said to my dad, who had a little barber shop, and I said Dad, I want it I can’t take it anymore. And he said well what are you gonna do? I said, get a job in a factory or something like my mates and let’s see you come in the barber shop and see how you get on. So yeah, all right, you know, you’re gonna pay me Dad, aren’t you? Yeah, but not much. Anyway, I went in as sweeping the floor, washing hair. But within three months, I was actually cutting people’s hair. But the it was, as I say, it was barbering men’s hair. And it was all just really short back inside traditional workers hair cut, and there were factory workers that mainly came to my dad’s shop. And quite honestly after five years of working with my dad and getting bored, cutting short back insights, I said I’m going to quit. So I went for a job trying to sell razor blades for Gillette. And I didn’t get the job. I didn’t really want the job. I want the car that came with the job. I didn’t get either. So I said to my mom and dad, I’ll go back into hairdressing. But I’d like to do ladies hairdressing. So they sent me to a school in London, called the Richard Henry School of hairdressing. And it was a six month course, and it was 100 pounds, which is the were the what the rate is at the moment, but it’s probably almost $100. But that was a lot of money to my parents. And I went there did the course. And on the last day of the course, the principal of this school said, Trevor, he said I see something in us a little bit special as requested. Whoa, this is I think you should go to a good a good salon. So as to Okay, so where do you think I should go is going to be houses soon. So who asked that they’re really big. I mean, we are talking, you know, late 60s. And that’s when they were at their peak. So I went there. And that’s kind of where I started really getting involved in ladies hairdressing in a very creative way. The
Chris Baran 6:27
I was just I was reading a couple of articles just not not that I don’t know enough about you. Because not only do I have all that, but I’ve got all of the driver’s side. And I’m sure you remember this book, I think we both looked a little bit younger than at that point. But you know, the point was, is that you talked about bartering, and I and when I saw the expression I went, pardon my French was what the hell is that? And so I went on to research it a bit. But tell me a little bit about what vardering is, what that how that what was it like in Sassoon? Because I believe you said that’s where that kind of idea came from? Is that correct?
Trevor Sorbie 7:06
Yeah, that’s right. vardering is a term where, basically, you’re standing, watching, and watching and learning all at the same time. Because I really believe, and I’m actually not a good teacher. But because I do things. And I think somebody says, Why are you doing that as well? Because it’s right. I can’t explain why it’s right. But I feel it to teach. I’ll tell you one of the best teachers Ruth is one of the best teachers in the room. mackinder is a great teacher, because they segment everything, you know, you do this, you do that, and you get fat, you know, they break it right down. I learned more by watching than by being taught vardering is watching and then doing our hair cut. And then somebody checks in tell you what’s right, what’s wrong. And it’s a process of just building up building up to a technique that is where they want you to be. And then after that you take a final test. You brought us
Chris Baran 8:21
into your into your salons as well. Right? That was the criteria that you had everybody had to go there.
Trevor Sorbie 8:26
Absolutely. You know, there’s a guy in our country called Nicky Clark, he’s big with famous people and all of that. He is like 500 pounds for a haircut with him. Now, if he came to me and said, Trev I’ve hit hard times, I need a job. I can bring 10,000 pounds worth of clients in tomorrow. I said, So firstly, sorry to hear that, Nikki. But you’re going to have to go through my system. And the system is do five commercial haircuts. If I if I like them, we will train you for a month, maybe even six weeks. And at the end of that I personally will test you with 10 different disciplines. If you pass that you can bring your 10,000 pounds worth of clients. Yeah, I suppose for everyone. Yeah.
Chris Baran 9:25
Yeah. And so you know, the what I love that you’re saying here is and I think that so many salons just don’t do is they just don’t allow for you know, I’m going to use a word here that I don’t think is the correct one but a minimum salon standard. You know, I think like just to let somebody come in ad hoc and not know what they’re going to do. And when you’ve built up your like the Trevor Sorbie brand, and then somebody brings something in with either a different terminology or be just a lesser caliber. It just tears your brand downs
Trevor Sorbie 10:00
Exactly, you know, I’ve never, never gotten out of bed to make money. Right? I’ve gotten out of bed to be the best I can at what I do. Yeah, if I if I do that, I’ll automatically make money. Yeah, there’s one thing in life that why why are designers, dress designers? You know? $10,000 for a dress, what? You know, why do painters can have, you know, a million dollars for a painting? What is it is? It’s it’s quality, it’s affection in that field, whether it’s music, you know, all the great artists be at Madonna, George Michael, Frank Sinatra. They’ve stood the test of time. Why? Because their quality of what they do is at the highest level. And that’s how you make money. Yeah. In our opinion.
Chris Baran 11:04
Yeah. If you have the artistry and new and you’re willing to live up to those standards, then the Money Follows. Yeah, like, it’s great, great advice. I am showing you promised not to laugh when I tell you the story. No. No, do you know MNC? Yeah, yeah. Well, I was doing a show in in Canada. It was the national Canadian show for for Redken and Anne was there speaking and, and as often I did at that time, when we were together all the time, I cut her hair. And I’m just sitting there cutting and we had had a couple glasses of wine. So we were chatting away. And she said, What do you really want out of life? And I said, No, imagine this is I’m talking in the 80s, this would have been probably about I’m guessing 80 to 85, somewhere in there. Always had been a big fan of your work, saw all of your work, tried to copy and never could. But she said What do you want to do? And I had just opened our salon a number of years before that. I said, You know what, I feel like doing this, I really feel like I should I need to learn so I should sell my you know, just pack up everything. Take my family moved to London and see if I could work for Trevor. And, and, and she said so why don’t you do it? And I went, Okay, okay. And then I chickened out. And then never did you know, and I don’t know, probably just the fear notoriety, the position that I held you at that time and still do. And probably maybe from the simple fact of, well, that little voice that was what happens if he said you can’t work. So all of that kind of stuff ran through my head. But I that was that was a goal at one time for me.
Trevor Sorbie 12:50
Yeah. In our country, people know that it’s hard to get to work for me. Many people want to but they’re not. They get intimidated. If they’ve been a hairdresser for say, 1015 years. And they have to go through a test. It’s like, in case they fail the test. Yeah, no, it would crush them. And they don’t want to take that risk. And by but I’m not, I’m not gonna give into any of that, you know? If he if he there’s, there’s no gain without risk. Right. You know, and you have to risk certain things and have a go. I mean, I I love a challenge. I mean, I take challenges head on. I think fear is something that stops us doing a lot of things, you know, I hate flying. But the only way I get over flying and I’ve flown all my life is to put a headset on and when those engines start wearing round, and the guy takes his brakes off, and we start moving then plug in and George Michael record, and all of a sudden, fear turns into excitement because again to the music and forget, and but you know, by the time I know it, we’re we’re in in Oh, thank God, you know,
Chris Baran 14:27
it’s interesting, you know, the number of people that I talked to that do what we do traveling, going to do seminars every weekend and then are still they don’t like flying. And it’s really interesting. The how many so how many when in the in the heyday can when I say in Haiti, I just mean that there was a time back in the 80s 90s and even a still starting in the early 2000s. Where everybody there was a show every weekend that you could do and sometimes I’m sure you had to turn them away. What What was that like for you? How many what was the I’ve we’ve gone every weekend, what was that like when you were?
Trevor Sorbie 15:03
Yeah, well, I, one point redkin bought my company. And I signed a 10 year contract with them. And it was basically four months of the year in the US and the rest of the time in the UK. So I was going back and forward like a yo, yo, I’d be a bit home three weeks, there’ll be a way two weeks, and I’m back for three weeks back for a month. I mean, it was back and forward. That was tough. But I enjoyed it. I was in my heyday, then I was really probably at my peak. I had the energy, the desire was still very, very powerful. Love the American audiences. You know, I mean, I think there’s
Chris Baran 16:02
a difference. I mean, see, there’s a lot of people that are listening and watching right now that they may not know the difference between an American audience and sometimes in the rest of the world. Describe that to them well.
Trevor Sorbie 16:13
Well, if you’re good, they let you know it and bad. You know, I mean, it’s just cut and dried is that I only ever lost one audience. And that was I think it was somewhere in Florida. And the only reason I lost the audience was the room that I owe the massive room that was in the air conditioning was so high coats on. And as I’m cutting hair, my hands are shaking, because I was freezing. And that was the only time I lost an audience. So I don’t blame myself for that. Blame the hotel. I know, an American audience says it gives us a build you up. When they know you’re coming in. They know a bit of your history and what you’ve done in the past. It’s so exciting. But more scary because they think Oh, my God, I’ve got to live up to this. Yeah, I mean, they’re there. They’re sitting there like dogs with their tongues hanging out, waiting. And I’m like, oh my god, yeah.
Chris Baran 17:30
Do you suffer from imposter syndrome? I mean, I can speak Hi, my name is Chris, I suffer from imposter syndrome. Do you? Do you think impostor syndrome is just what you were describing where you step on stage and nerves and you go, you know that will will I live up to what they think that I am and so on.
Trevor Sorbie 17:48
Right? I’ll tell you what I’m about. I was in middle of America’s forget this place. And I was so scared. I had a ritual I used to be in the hotel get changed. I used to go in the bathroom. And so I look in the mirror and I talked to myself and say, right, you, you better get out there and show him what you’re about and don’t come back unless you’ve got them on their feet. Get it. And I was angry with myself. And I saw that in the face and everything. But one time, I was so scared. I got the base and in the bathroom, put my feet up, put my finger on it. I was going to break my finger so I wouldn’t go on stage. I was like but I thought hang on the pain of this pain going on stage. So backed up. But honestly my nerves and it worked the other way around as well. I was in Los Angeles in the Marriott Hotel, and I did a show and I got a standing ovation. And I and I left the stage and went straight upstairs. I said two bottles of wine send them up right away. And I drank them both. You know why? I wasn’t happy with what I did. I was worrying I was firing them for not six cylinders. I knew I know when I’m doing a good share. Exactly. You don’t have to tell me I need an audience. I know when I’m doing and I felt I could have done better and I want I just wanted to drown it out. I’m very harsh on myself. Well I like that about myself.
Chris Baran 19:48
Yeah. And that just how does that relate? How does that relate? Because I know that you know I we have so many friends that like Vivian and Ruth and I work with Ruth all the time with just with the symposium which did she she just felt like, I think out of this month, she’s already been at my house probably about 14 or more days. But I love that woman. And she tells she told me about that she said that, you know, Trevor was hard on us, but it made us who we were, you know, and I think that’s the thing that’s like a, like a steel, you know, it’s gotta it’s gotta pass some test and get some, some metal pounded into it.
Trevor Sorbie 20:26
You know, Chris, the truth is hard to listen to. But you can’t run away from it. Know, if something’s not right. It’s not right. They may not want to hear it. But it will do them good to hear it and it’ll hurt. And they will, you know, cower away and maybe have a little cry or whatever. Honesty is the best policy, you got to say it the way is, if you want to teach somebody the right stuff.
Chris Baran 21:00
Yeah. See, there’s the there’s the point is because you’re the mentor, and you’ve got to tell them what’s right, because somebody in the passing and the wings can just go Yeah, you know, that was fine. But if that’s fine from the wings, but if you’re the one that is helping to shape that life, yeah, then you have to stand in and you’ve got to tell them what’s right. That’s the responsibility that you have.
Trevor Sorbie 21:23
I always remember the best assistant I ever had, was a guy who was in the Navy, a young guy went to the Navy less school, went to Navy for three years, gave up the Navy and came to me as a hairdresser. That guy stood up right hands behind his back, watched everything I did, you will what I wanted next, he’d he’d be right there. His discipline was on point. Yeah. And that was what the Navy taught him. You know, that discipline. Ballet dancers have that same harsh, harsh discipline, and it builds you into well build you up into someone that knows what perfection is all about. Exactly. Perfection
Chris Baran 22:22
is because it is about what I heard there was the discipline. But unless you’re really watching, particularly from an assistant point of view, is the your ability to anticipate because they’re trying to not do it’s like a chess game. You’re not just sitting there watching. You’re saying what’s the next move. So you’re ready for the next move. I’ll never forget doing that. We’re doing Chris Sorby. and I were doing a gig in Korea. And I have this assistant that came. And the littlest detail like I can remember, you know how if you passed an iron to somebody, or a blowdryer, you would just have it in your hand and you’d pass that over, and you’d have to go through a couple of moves to get it right. These people would would hold it in such a way that there was only one move, you just grabbed it, it was automatically in the right. And as simple as simple as that one little thing was, I just found it a standing, then, you know, there was that much attention to detail in their training that not only just don’t you know, don’t just be there and pass it but what is the finest thing that you can do that helps to save that person time?
Trevor Sorbie 23:36
Yeah, so Well, that’s, that’s someone that’s very disciplined, that’s focused and will become a good hairdresser because he’s got the right mentality.
Chris Baran 23:51
So what now so the I don’t know if I’m just gonna jump to it. Your your photographic work? has always I mean, it’s I don’t know anybody that’s of the ilk that we’re at that doesn’t know your name isn’t inspired by you. And I’m not just idly blowing smoke up your skirt here. I just want to say that it’s you. I mean, I don’t think I have to tell you that you have a gift that so few people have in our industry of being able to do a photograph. And and I happen I don’t know if you ever remember I happened to work backstage with you one time. And that was a highlight of my career. And we won’t go into it. But the reality is, I remember you saying one thing is that I remember you were doing this look where it was straight hair. And you you made these coils with an iron. And then you put another piece of hairs through it.
Trevor Sorbie 24:50
And I remember and I
Chris Baran 24:53
I remember us I remember I said to you I said that’s so beautiful. And you said I don’t even know who said kreski might not even know my name at the time, but you said to me, it’s not the thing that you do. It’s about how clever Can you make it so that people go, why didn’t I think of that? He said, I tell people that all the time
Trevor Sorbie 25:12
exactly. That. I got that message from a very famous comedian called Charlie Chaplin. And he said, doing what I do is easy. Thinking of why do is difficult? Yeah, it’s that easy. When you sit in an audience, I always used to think, right. Yeah, I can do something that probably nobody would want to wear anyway, but and make it all whatever. But give an audience something that they think, Well, I can do that. Yeah, I could do that. That’s not that difficult. And I can because like you said, a coil bit of hair goes into that simple. Yeah, I didn’t think about it. I did. Yeah. And that’s a secret. And that’s what made my shows work. Because I never did the impossible. I always did something that was doable. Maybe couldn’t be used on every client, because not everyone can. But if you had the occasion you to be able to do that technique. It wasn’t as difficult as you thought it would be. It’s given. And I think teaching. And also, Chris, one of the things that, right. Learning is is is an experience that can be fun, or it can be miserable. Yeah, my daughter was in a school and she was learning French, and she hated French. And her grade was the lowest it could be. I had to change the school for different reasons. And she was doing French in this new school. And her grades went right up. I said, Hey, Jada, how come? You know, your grades gone up? She said her dad. Teacher makes it fun. Yeah. And when I was doing shows, part of what I think worked for me, was I, I would never tell a joke. But I would tell a funny experiences. Yeah, happened to me. Things that would make people laugh. And I always used to think that my job was to teach and inspire and entertain. Yeah, and when I say entertain, I don’t mean, you know, jumping around and doing silly things. I mean, keep them alive, keep them keep them interested in you. I, we have a, we have a program in the UK with several soap programs. And one of them was a very famous one Coronation Street. And it’s on five, five nights a week. And it’s been going 60 years, right 60 years. Now, I learned from that. And that’s a what I learned how FirePro program. And in that half hour program, there is situations with different families going on. And it goes 30 seconds on that family Barber, and then it cuts to this other moment that someone’s having a bad time or whatever, and then it cuts to another thing. And what I learned was if you change something, and keep it moving, that half hour goes like that. And for anything that can last 60 years, half hour program, there is a formula there. And that formula works. Keep the balls in the air, keep them don’t stick on one thing because people to sleep, no matter how clever you are, like watching paint dry, you know, to keep the energy up. And I used to work hard that that was part of why I think it worked for me,
Chris Baran 29:38
Trevor, I think I’ve heard you say several times that you you don’t think that you’re a great teacher, but I’m going to put a little different different light on that for you is that teachers are great storytellers. And, and you’ve always been a great storyteller. And, and it’s always if you can tell them a story because I’ve watched you and believe me, I’ve been in more of your audiences than you know. And I’ve seen you do that, where you just do something, and then you tell a story about it. And then it’s called it, you know, taking it from your world into their world and back viewers again. And you you just, you’re a master at that. So, you know, the, I think that you’re like you said, you’re hard on yourself. But that’s just really what a good teacher is, is somebody that can talk about what’s going on that you’re doing it, put it into somebody out into into your life by relating a story that I can relate to.
Trevor Sorbie 30:31
Yeah, so I think that the fact that you can be human on stage, because I think people’s anticipation of someone that’s got a big name, they think, Oh, he’s going to be whatever they think they can be
Chris Baran 30:53
small g, all that stuff. But
Trevor Sorbie 30:55
if they see somebody out there, it’s like, oh, God, that happened to me once, you know, be a human being admit you’ve got you’ve had problems admit that you messed up on something, be one of them, and they will love you for it. Because at the end of the day, if you are one of them, you know, and they’re one of me, we’re all doing the same job. And we all have the same problems, but you got to admit it, and then go
Chris Baran 31:25
along with it, you know, you you’ve changed in your salons. Um, I’m just gonna cite some of them. They’re just coming to my brain in here. And I’ve got all these bloody notes in here. And I haven’t went to one of them thing yet. The people like like, Eugene, Eugene Solomon, Angela seminario, Vivienne mackinder, Antoinette rousse, you’ve created so many of the words created influence, whatever the word is, but you’ve, you’ve taken some of these people that and you’ve got them into the, you’ve given them whatever fire that is, whatever knowledge that it is, whatever means that as to make these people, some of the greats in our industry right now. And they’re the second generation of Trevor Sorbie. You know, they’re the trickle down the children that you’ve had the hair children that you’ve, that doesn’t sound right, so I’m gonna, I want to bleep that out. But anyway, anything in here, but those are the those are the people that you’ve moved on to inspire. And then I’m going to take that a step further. There’s the hundreds of 1000s that me in that others and that other group, where are you influenced by being you on stage? And you know, and there’s all of those that pay homage to you because of that, I never had that one on one influence that you gave to people, but you inspired me and you are a part of why I am who I am today. Because I watched what you did, and I listened to your stories, and I said, Fuck it if he can do it, so can I. And I’ve never claimed that I’m gonna get to any level that you’re at. But I will say that you you have that effect on people.
Trevor Sorbie 33:16
Well, I, yeah, the peep the names that you’ve mentioned. I never that they saw me do techniques. They worked with me on stage as they knew what I did. What I taught them was a way to think I never thought yeah, they learn the technique, but the techniques change anyway. So I mean, after they leave me that doing their own thing anyway. What I taught them was a way of thinking. I try and explain myself in the best way I can, for example, I’ll get all right. I’ll give you a good example. Opposites work in black, white, that opposites anything in the middle is great. So for example, if you want to cut a line, like a V shape the opposite of that would be that shape. Right? That’s the opposite. Now, I did a it’s in a book a haircut called The Wolf Man it was a spiky hair
Chris Baran 34:39
can you bring that up Lee I’ve got a picture of it here that Lee’s gonna bring up. Okay. Yeah, so you
Trevor Sorbie 34:51
can write your this right now. how that came about was simply this. I had to be inspired and So what inspired me was punk. Now punk was like, anti establishment. It was young kids that, you know, had Mohicans, they pin through their noses, anti establishment, everything was bad taste. Now, what I liked about them was their attitude, anti establishment, right anti establishment. I like that list. Let’s turn that into hairdressing anti establishment. Well, what’s the opposite of a good haircut? A bad hair makeup? Right, let’s do a bad haircut. Now, instead of cutting hair, when hair was done, let’s make it stand out. Instead of cutting it with a scissor, let’s cut it with a razor. So you get a fine end. What’s the opposite of a bad, a good color, a bad color, a regrowth. Everyone hates a regrowth. So instead of bleaching it, oh, I just bleached the ends, put all those three things together, and you get that as a result. And another. I used the same method with texturizing using that same, put a baseline into a haircut instead of picking the hair up and layering it like you would as a scissor, just pick up lumps are here and just cut into it at random. But with feeling not just hoping you kind of knew what you were doing. And that’s how texturizing came about. Yeah. So that I taught a way of thinking. Yeah, to
Chris Baran 36:48
tell the story about the scrunch, because I don’t for anybody that’s that young and new. And they do it all the time. Yeah. But it’s something that you invented.
Trevor Sorbie 36:58
Yeah. Well, I was working for a guy called John Frieda and is one of the top hairdressers at a time. And his clientele were, let’s put it this way, ladies at lunch, right? Very rich work. I mean, I hated the clientele. They’re just not my type of flying. But I needed to work out. And this one lady, this one lady, she had long, thick, red, porous hair. And John’s method was always finger drying, or just sort of rough drying. And as I’ve got, it’s gonna take me over forever. And I said, Look, do you mind if I sort of speed this process up? Because I’ve got a couple of clients waiting. And she’s sort of reluctantly said, Yeah, okay. And I just got a handful of hair in my hand, put the heat into it. Let it cool down, and he just brushed it out. Bingo, that the volume that came out of that was incredible. And now I’ve tried that on fine hair. See, Kev, any kind of it worked every single time. And that’s how scrunch drying came about. It was well, I mean, there isn’t a woman in the world, it probably hasn’t had it done at some point.
Chris Baran 38:33
And the point is, the point is, and part of the reasons why I want to do these podcasts are that we don’t lose the history of where stuff comes from. Because I am who I am get to give credit I find there’s so much that happens in our industry, where everybody has got this I invented I invented and I want people to know where puff really came from, you know, is that so who the true people are with it that really made a change in in our lives. So thank you for that. And then there’s the there’s one more picture that I want to bring up which is iconic, which is another one that that I mean, of all the stuff that Trump did. I don’t think there’s a picture you’ve done that I haven’t admired, but this one I think is the one that really changed our change our industry. So I want you to tell me about it first and then I’ve got a I’ve got a myth that I want to confirm or or put down.
Trevor Sorbie 39:31
Okay, right. Fidel Sassoon was still healthy, wasn’t doing hair, but we he was invited to go to Paris to do a show. And it was the first time an Anglo Saxon hairdresser was asked to do a show in Paris. Now be in America there is you probably don’t know this A lot of Americans don’t know. But England and France one went to war, many hundreds of years ago, and neither side have forgotten about it. So we kind of don’t like each other. A lot of rivalry. But on that show was the best hairdresser in Paris called Alexander Alexander de Perry. He was the king of hairdressing in Paris. And the other team that were on there was the Kurita sisters. Just as famous in Paris. Now, it was Vidal, Sassoon Kurita. And Alexandra, and Fidel, got all his art directors together and said, Look, guys, we’re going to Paris for the first time. I want a collection from you guys. So go away and come up with something. So we’ll went our own way. And one day I had this modal called Mary came into sound. She’d let me do anything to her. I said, Look, I want to do a haircut on you. Sure, around the outside and long on the inside. I said, it’s gonna look nice. Don’t worry, she has go for a trip. So I cut it right around the outside. Randy right into the night really sure. Just pulled it out a little bit. As the each letter came down, just a little bit of graduation, and a blow dried it and it just looks like a helmet. And I thought the French are going to hate that. Because they like their women to look all very glamorous. And so I’ve got to try and sell which is somehow so I’ve just brushed it back on both sides. And out came this beautiful shape like a like a mushroom almost. And Christopher Brooker was in the South Molton Street sell on at the time, as it Chris come over here and have a look at his CV thinks he went love it. He said, love it. He said, we’ll get that photograph. And it was the first picture that ever got a double page spread in spoke the name. Again, just nothing story. But it’s something that no one really knows. I was having a drink a glass of wine in a wine bar with Christopher. And he had this piece of paper and he kept sort of just folding up and what have you. And we’re chatting away chatting away. He says I’ve got it. I said, Well, you said I’ve got the name. And he is he folded this paper up. It was in a V shape. And he said I’ve got it the wedge. And I thought Yeah, why not? That’s a good name. And that’s how the name came about. Just a lot of it by accident. But I
Chris Baran 43:00
think you because you just confirmed the myth because I had did oh, there was a story floating around. I can’t remember whether it was I may have heard it from one of my teachers who I also give great credit to who I am who I am today. Got Tony Beckerman was Tony Becker Well, I think told me the story about that, that the haircut well they put it as it was a mistake, but when you brushed it back is what you got. Yeah, and I so I never know whether that was 100% true or not. So now we have it from the horse’s mouth per se
Trevor Sorbie 43:39
that is true. Now, that’s but you know, it’s like anything. A lot of inventions, a lot of things that have been created in this world have been mistakes. You know, and it’s it’s something that didn’t work but has worked, but not in a way that they thought it would. But you know, but that’s just sheer luck. But I still take full credit for it
Chris Baran 44:09
as you should as you should because you know and it’s funny the times that that the it’s funny the times that that comes back, you know it’s it’s like such a classic looks that it’s been brought back in many different ways. And then sometimes I’ve been I’ve seen some of it where people add on way too much to that wedge where it just gets you know, they’ll cut the shop super short leave pieces hanging out and I always call it kitchen sink. You know it’s like they throw everything at it rather than just staying with the purity of it or maybe adding one thing more not 10 things more
Trevor Sorbie 44:51
was one of the one of my assistants he joined last couple of weeks And he said, Mr. Subic. Can I show you a haircut that I did? The other night? I said, yeah, let me see. And he showed me on his phone. And it was a girl with a heavy sort of fringe and it was just sort of straggly dark hair and it was wet. And I said, okay, yeah, right. I like that so far is wait to see it finished. And he got it made it look like an old woman because he Tom date and cold. And I said, I want to ask you something. I said, Be honest with me. Did you like it? When it was wet? Or do you like it was like, Well, I kind of liked it when it was wet. I said, Yeah. So did I. I said that you’ve made her look 50 in there. She looks really hot. I said, you you got to know when to stop. You got to if it feels good and a gas stop going. Take it any further because you can go too far. Kitchen sink in.
Chris Baran 46:08
It’s true. It is true. The Do you have an MBE? Yeah. That so I mean, first of all, I mean it is to the NBA. What is it masked? is a member of the British Empire. Isn’t that? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. And so what’s that? Like when when you get that? Because the Queen gives that to you? Correct? Yeah. So you get to meet her and tell her about the process?
Trevor Sorbie 46:39
Yeah. Well, there’s no process one day you get a letter. You open it up, and it’s got Buckingham Palace on it. And you have been you’ve been invited to be invited not the right word, but you’ve been chosen to have a four an MBE Would you accept? So obviously I said yeah. And I went along to the palace is called an investor to chew and invest to choose to invest just to write. And every year, a certain number of people get rewarded for what they’ve done in their chosen profession. And I got it for my contribution to my industry. And I always remember, I word for word. I mean, I had top hat and tails. And I was looking like English gentleman and his latest, Mr. Trevor Sorbie for his contribution to hairdressing. Sew up a walk and about walked up to me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Elizabeth, it’s just died. And she said, I understand you do some rather strange hairstyles. I said, Well, Your Majesty, I try and create some new ideas and sort of make things. Try and push the barriers forward. Yes, yes. She said, I’ve seen you on television. You’re very good at what you do. I sit down. Thank you very much. And she said, we must have a chat one day yet. Anyway, when she is anyway when she shakes your hand, you know, it’s trying to do this for the camera, shake her hand. He goes, little shove as if to say, right, bugger off. You’ve had your 30 seconds, you go. So two weeks later, I get a call from Buckingham Palace. The Queen we’d like to meet you. Right. Okay. So I went along to a couple of days later to the palace and sat in the palace long corridor. And as the guy sitting on this couch where I was sitting, so I really nervous, didn’t know what to expect. And I says, What do you do to this aces or queens body guard elbow. Okay, I thought you’ve got a gun on you. So anyway, the Queen’s waiting in line A lady in waiting came out, said Mr. Solloway. This way. So walk down this hallway. And then I go, and I’m in her private, you know, area where she lives, which doesn’t live in the palace. But that’s really her office used to live in Windsor Castle. And anyway, she wanted me to be a hairdresser, basically. And I was in there talking to her for about 45 minutes. And I was felt, I mean, the prime minister doesn’t get 45 minutes with her. He gets like 10 minutes. And anyway, long story short, I couldn’t do because my schedule and her schedule, were just going, I would have, I would have had to go into Australia, with her to America all over the world. And I was I was really busy, like shows, books and everything. I just couldn’t commit to that. So I had to, having said that I employed the Queen’s hairdresser. He works for me. Well, to this day. So yeah, I won’t forget that day.
Chris Baran 51:15
No, that’s, I mean, that’s a privilege and an honor. And, you know, and it’s to be recognized. I think that’s one of the biggest things that I think people can do is especially not only just by the people in your industry, but by the country as a whole. So that’s, that was pretty wild. Now, we were talking just before we went on the air, and we were talking about asked you a question, if the above with all of that and everything that you’ve done, but are you still in the Do you still do hair? Are you still in the salon?
Trevor Sorbie 51:51
No, not working. I go in every week, a day, two days a week. I don’t actually own the company anymore. I had to I didn’t have to, but I did sell the company, to businessman from Dubai. And it works very, very well put it that way. He’s still kept a quality of what we do. But unfortunately, I’ve got cancer and our after they removed the cancer, and they gave me chemotherapy. And I’ve got what’s called New rasa P and I’ve lost the use of a feeling in my fingers from sort of their up. I can’t feel here anymore. Come back. No, it can get worse but it won’t ever come back. My toes are the same. I can’t walk barefoot footed after shoes on. So unfortunately, that’s but doesn’t stop there. I’ve had cancer in my liver, and then they removed part of my liver, then it came back to my liver and removed some more of the liver. And it’s back again. Tomorrow, I will be having my chemotherapy, I have a nurse that comes to the house and administers the, the chemo. And because they’ve cut so much of my liver away there. They can’t cut any more away because it’s so near an integral blood vessel. And it’s too dangerous to cut any more away. So Amanda’s chemotherapy, as I said, I’ve had chemo for three months. I had three scans the other day, and the result was good. The tumor had reduced in size 50%. So the oncologist was very happy about that. Not as happy as that was but he was happy. And I even had a drink afterwards.
Chris Baran 54:09
There you go. A little drink for the little liver.
Trevor Sorbie 54:16
And we’re trying to say, yeah, so I’m going to three months more of chemo to shrink it right down. And then they want to stick a red hot needle in through my tummy into the the tumor and burn it out. And get rid of that little alien. It’s hard during me. But you know what? People say to me, you know, we’re talking like, I don’t have cancer, right? Yeah,
Chris Baran 54:49
yeah, no, I have to be honest. I’m still in a bit of shock. But yeah,
Trevor Sorbie 54:54
well, I’ll go in the salad tray if you look great. Yeah, thanks. Usually people with cancer walk around with a pretty sort of heavy load on their shoulders, you know. And I said to you earlier, I have cancer in my, in my body, but I don’t have it in my mind. I never wake up thinking, Oh, I’ve got cancer, or I’m gonna die, or I’m up and now and laugh and joke and you hear in my voice, I’ve got life in me, you know, it’s, it’s gonna take a bit more on cancer to get me I’ve got a fine spirit. And you know, I’m sure people even listening to this will think, Oh, my God, I wouldn’t have said that. He’s ill. And I’m not. I am. But I’m not
Chris Baran 55:54
saying that went around. And I don’t know who started it, and it has a bad word in it. So I won’t bleep it out. Because I you know, we’re an adult program here. But fuck cancer, you know? And that’s what I really believe that. You’ve got to take the part of it as you hear about so many and God bless I, I haven’t had it. I don’t know what it’s like, I can’t even be empathetic towards it. Because I don’t think unless you have it, you can’t. You know, however, I do. I do feel that the people that I really admire are the ones that get it but they just say fuck it, I’m, I’m gonna, this is about me and my will and my mindset.
Trevor Sorbie 56:29
But, you know, Chris, there’s another side to it. We all have a life. We’re all gonna die. We just don’t know when, right? That’s the only thing we don’t know. But we’re all gonna die. And the way I look at it is this. What if you go to a bank manager and say, I’m successful? He would say, Well, how much money have you got? Right? He judge you on on that? Well, I judge life. Being successful in life is not how much money you’ve got. It’s what you’ve done in your life. And I have lived a life where I’ve traveled the earth several times. I’ve achieved more than I ever dreamt I would get to I’ve I’ve sampled the best cuisines in life. You know, I’ve, I’ve had a wonderful life. That’s my wealth. Yeah, that’s my wealth. And I can take that upstairs to my mum and dad and say, Hey, I know there’s no currency up here. So I can’t give you any money. But I’ll tell you what I did when I was down there. I did what I did. Alright, you will be proud of me. I say that. And that’s, that is wealth. That is true wealth.
Chris Baran 58:00
Trevor Sorbie 58:03
Well, I sorry.
Chris Baran 58:06
No, go ahead. I didn’t mean no, no.
Trevor Sorbie 58:11
See, I believe, Chris, that if I walked down the street, anyone I said you want to be successful? Because yeah, yeah. So well, you can be you can be because if I haven’t said I was crap at school, I was no good with any academics. I was only good at sport and art. So that was it. lived in an apartment block that shared an outside toilet with and tin bath out on a Friday night. You know, it’s pretty squalid conditions. If I can make it, and I’m not, I’m not clever. I’m not. I’m not that smart. But I’m not that stupid either. Right. And that bit that has worked for me. I’m not stupid. If you want it, you got to put your nose to the grindstone because it ain’t gonna be handed to you. Yeah, there’s only two times you get a gift in this world. And that’s Christmas and your birthday, the rest you have to work for. And I’ve never lost that feeling. And no one’s handed me anything other than every single thing that I got. Because I wanted it I wanted it more than anyone else. And I got it. If if they said to my trip, you got three months to live with it. Okay, fine. I’ll take that.
Chris Baran 59:48
I hope that they have I hope that well, it will come and I hope it’s not stone. Trump the mean there’s one thing that I I wish I had something I’m not gonna I’ve got a couple of quick quick things I want to run through here that I do with everybody that I have on the program. Okay, but there’s one thing that you did you said in there that you that you do have that you didn’t list. And that’s respect. You know, that’s our industry just respects what you’ve done. You’ve done a lot of things for years for, for fighting through that of what you had to do to get where you’re at. But you also have the respect of our whole industry.
Trevor Sorbie 1:00:33
Well, I mean, that’s what I’m talking about. Is that that to me is wealth. Yeah, that’s worth more than money to me. Yeah. So
Chris Baran 1:00:45
you have done to that for me, my friend. I got just a couple of things. I just want to do one quick thing. This is a what I call rapid fire questions. And I’m just gonna watch James Lipton in the head or something like that on when he Inside the Actor’s Studio. But they’re fun. So just like one first thing that comes up, they don’t have to be big explanations just first thing that comes to your brain. Okay. What turns on the creative process for you?
Trevor Sorbie 1:01:20
Chris Baran 1:01:23
and what stifles it
Trevor Sorbie 1:01:35
got to be quick on this, but nothing. Oh, wow. See? Ya.
Chris Baran 1:01:44
Awesome. Have an event or a show that that you’ve probably many but what someone that come to your brain an event or a show that you did? First one that comes to your brain that you loved?
Trevor Sorbie 1:01:56
What show I loved? Yeah, the best show that I’ve done? Yeah. I would say it was the year 2000. L’Oreal’s 60th anniversary that was definitely top of my list. Yeah.
Chris Baran 1:02:15
Okay, good things in life that you dislike the most in life. Laziness. And what do you love the most
Trevor Sorbie 1:02:26
Chris Baran 1:02:29
most difficult time in your life
Trevor Sorbie 1:02:38
being trolled through a newspaper which was what would they call it? When you’re set up? I was I was set up by a woman and it put me in hospital for a month and I was I was actually what’s the word
I was sectioned I was I was gonna kill myself.
Chris Baran 1:03:19
Oh my god. That was pretty bad. I would say that was a wild one. Things you hate most about our industry
Trevor Sorbie 1:03:33
people that shouldn’t be in it.
Chris Baran 1:03:38
person that you admire the most
Trevor Sorbie 1:03:40
Chris Baran 1:03:43
person you wish you could meet
Trevor Sorbie 1:04:00
so many I think Richard Branson. Wow. You know the guy virgin.
Chris Baran 1:04:13
Something people don’t know about you?
Trevor Sorbie 1:04:30
Well, a couple of things. I’m actually very shy, shy. When I meet somebody. I can stand in front of 1000 people but when I meet somebody, first time I go silly and
Chris Baran 1:04:56
I can relate. Okay, month off Yes. Where would you go? What would you do
Trevor Sorbie 1:05:08
I would never take a month off for a start because I get bored. I’d never take more than 10 days holiday because after that all I feel as if I go to say like Dubai, in first week, you sort of see everything for the first time and not the rest of your time you you’re retracting what you’ve just done. I couldn’t be away for a month. I’d be bored.
Chris Baran 1:05:34
Love it. Anything that terrifies you?
Trevor Sorbie 1:05:44
Yeah, so being in a plane crash. Oh,
Chris Baran 1:05:48
favorite curse word?
Trevor Sorbie 1:05:52
Favorite curse word. Favorite curse word. Can you asking me that?
Chris Baran 1:06:04
Favorite it’s funny, you know, some people just won’t answer that one. Another one just comes straight out. And I love before. favorite comfort food.
Trevor Sorbie 1:06:14
Pastor, oh, and any pastor,
Chris Baran 1:06:17
any pastor, something in the industry that you haven’t done, but you want to?
Trevor Sorbie 1:06:35
I’d like to, I can’t do what I want to do. But I would love to do another show. And I can, but I’d like I had, when I would call it the final curtain where this would be. I would I would invite all the top people in our country to come and see it. And I would say this is it. This is the very last time you’ll see me do hair. I’d love to have done that. But I can’t because of the neuropathy. So that’s
Chris Baran 1:07:16
there’s open ears open still there. Do you know what to do over is? I’m not sure if it’s a Canadian expression do a one on like a do over is all if I could have just done that again. I’d have done it differently.
Trevor Sorbie 1:07:32
done what was
Chris Baran 1:07:33
the what was the thing that comes yet one do over I would say like snap your fingers at one do over what would that be?
Trevor Sorbie 1:07:46
Not married my first wife or my second?
Chris Baran 1:07:53
I love it. So listen up it earlier we were talking about the that you can’t do hair now because of the neuropathy. But you said that there is something that you’d have started doing? What is
Trevor Sorbie 1:08:07
art? Yeah, I know. Most days I actually do drawings, either pencil or ink drawings. And I’ve done I can get these
Chris Baran 1:08:24
over to you. Yeah, generally, and we’ll have them up.
Trevor Sorbie 1:08:27
Yeah. What I’ll do, I’ll show you the first one. The very first thing I drew when I picked pencil up was I don’t know if you can see it. But it’s where was that camera? It
Chris Baran 1:08:42
should be straight up in the middle of the top of the iPad. Yeah, coming up a little more over. Oh, yeah. Sorry. Been a little more. A little more. A little more to your left.
Trevor Sorbie 1:08:53
Oh, yeah. Three, three bananas that don’t even say that’s good. Because
Chris Baran 1:09:00
when was that what how long ago was three years ago? Three years ago
Trevor Sorbie 1:09:09
now I’m doing things like
Chris Baran 1:09:12
little more. Little more to the left with more than left. There. Oh my god. Oh my god over just a little more to the left. There you go. That is freaking amazing.
Trevor Sorbie 1:09:29
Just a couple of others.
Chris Baran 1:09:34
I’ll tell you they they may have taken the hair away from your hands but they didn’t take away the art from your brain.
Trevor Sorbie 1:09:42
This that said
Chris Baran 1:09:43
little more to the left again. More More. More left, left, left Left. Oh my god river.
Trevor Sorbie 1:09:52
I mean the detail in that is that took three days.
Chris Baran 1:09:57
Wow. So One day one, you know, when you get one, I’m gonna get you to draw something I’ll pay. I just love to have something to put on my wall that would be yours.
Trevor Sorbie 1:10:09
out it’s a gift.
Chris Baran 1:10:12
Trevor, it was nothing that would make me happier in my whole life.
Trevor Sorbie 1:10:15
Whoa, all I need is an address. Well, I’ll
Chris Baran 1:10:18
get that to you. And but, Trevor, I want to just one final question before we kind of wrap this whole thing up, is if you have one wish for our industry, and you could snap your fingers and it would you could solve it, fix it, whatever that would be. What’s up wish you would have for industry?
Trevor Sorbie 1:10:42
Right. Right, I’m going to be very honest, here to technology is a wonderful thing. But it can be a bad thing. And I think social media there’s people in our country that are becoming quite famous by using Instagram and different outlets on the on that sort of medium and and I think, you know, people got put filters on their pictures they retouching. There’s a dishonesty in what’s happening with trying to be famous, if you like, and I don’t like that. At all. There is no shortcut to to being one of the best. There’s no shortcut. And yeah, you can fool people. But yeah, put them on a stage and see how they get on there. They wouldn’t be so fantastic. And I think the the the the magic’s gone out of it. Well, it’s shoot us. I think the magic’s gone into it. There’s rebuild, you can distort you can and that’s cheating man. You know, it’s not real. II. That’s what I hate
Chris Baran 1:12:21
the most. Yeah. I tend to agree, Trevor. You know, it’s one of those things that a buy right now if you could just sign it and to say, now I’m done, finished. I know now that I’ve had such a great conversation with you. It’s been a highlight of my life.
Trevor Sorbie 1:12:45
Well, I’ve enjoyed talking to you. I’ve been honest with everything I’ve said. I, I just I will listen. When’s this going out? When will people people do they see? Oh,
Chris Baran 1:13:06
yeah, we can get we can get it to you so you can see it and hear it first?
Trevor Sorbie 1:13:11
No, I know that I want approval because I know what I’ve said I’ve gotten I don’t have to worry about that. But if they actually see it’s not just it’s not.
Chris Baran 1:13:24
It. Is it sound and it will be video and audio. Oh, good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, Trevor, I just want to say thank you, on behalf of all the people that, that know you and get a chance to hear your honesty. And for those people, God knows what rock you crawled out. I don’t know, Trevor Sorbie. Just to get to meet know you, has been, and I’m glad that I could be a little conduit for that for them. So thank you.
Trevor Sorbie 1:13:55
You know, Chris, one thing I love being my age. When I will I’ve been through in my life, I can pass down. It’s called wisdom. Yeah. And that is something that I never really understood what wisdom was, because I’d never felt it. But when I talk to the youth of today, I’ve got a lot of wisdom because I have whatever they’re going through. I’ve been through that wherever they go. And I’ve been through that, and so on and so on. I’ve been through it all. So I can give off. My experience, my knowledge, my understanding of the use of today. And the knowledge that I have. I’m not saying I’m clever. What I’m saying is I’ve got experience. I can help people and I tried to in hairdressing.
Chris Baran 1:14:58
Thank you, Trevor. I just slaver This is that the one thing that you have is you have the respect of our industry of the trust of it and, and on behalf of all of the industry, I just want to say thank you for the gifts that you’ve given us.
Trevor Sorbie 1:15:15
tirely My pleasure, Chris. And good luck to you, mate. Thank you. Let’s hope our paths cross.
Chris Baran 1:15:22
I hope so make that soon. Even if it can only be with a little glass of wine or something, but we’ll we’ll make that happen. We’ll be a little glass. Well, I didn’t want to I won’t be responsible but I will I will help to coordinate where you take care yeah,