Behind the scenes amid the glitz and glamor of Brisbane Fashion Week 2022 (BFW22), Ben Wright will be a far cry from the dusty, red streets of his rural Queensland hometown.
There, in the corner of a quaint little newsagent in Mount Isa, he opened the pages of a Vogue magazine for the first time and fell in love instantly.
“I think I was the only 14-year-old boy in Mount Isa who bought Vogue,” he laughed.
“I loved looking at the amazing hairstyles on these pages and dreamed of one day creating looks like this and being part of this industry.”
Since then, the 24-year-old has been on the road to success, working at an award-winning salon in Brisbane and behind the scenes at catwalk shows and shoots across the country – including Melbourne Fashion Week and Australian Fashion Week.
As he prepares for his new role as Hair Director for BFW22, Mr. Wright recalls the moment he realized this was the world for him.
“It was my nan who took me to the hairdresser,” he said.
“I always went to her school holidays and she was always one of those great dressed nannas. I went with her when she was in the salon to get a perm, cut, color, or even just a blow dry.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off what the barber was doing – I was amazed.”
“Passion was contagious”
From a young age, he cheekily started telling his mother about the clothes she bought him.
“I always loved fashion as a kid and I always cared about what I wear and all that.
“I’m pretty sure Mum stopped buying me clothes for Christmas when I was nine or ten because I just refused to wear what she bought me.”
As soon as he could, Mr. Wright went to his favorite salon – the Capricorn Hair Studio in Mount Isa – and asked for a job.
Owner Michelle Donald still remembers that day today.
“He said, ‘I want to be a hairdresser, that’s all I want to be, and this is where I want to work. I’m happy to work for free if you take me on,'” she said.
“I said, ‘You don’t have to work for free’ and that was it.
“He started work this Saturday. He was perfect and we hit it off straight away. His enthusiasm and passion were contagious.”
From the salon to behind the scenes
Whether on set or in business, Mr. Wright’s greatest motivation comes from the people he works with.
“When you’re in the salon, you get that sense of satisfaction from the small act of making someone feel and look beautiful and changing the way people feel about themselves,” he said.
“When you see people so happy when they leave the salon, that feeling stays with you.
“Backstage and on set you get this feeling of adrenaline and excitement. It’s fast-paced, you work with so many different creative people in such a pumped atmosphere.
“It’s a feeling I’ve loved since I started dancing competitively at Mount Isa and it’s stayed with me to this day and is a big part of why I love what I do.”
As his career soars into the next phase, the 24-year-old encouraged others to join the industry.
“If you’re feeling a little lost or intrigued by what the industry might be like, if you have a passion for hair, if you have a natural creative flair, if you love people and energetic environments and what’s happening in the world right now, that is an industry for you,” he said.
“Go to a local salon and ask questions, get your hands dirty, even if it’s just a day’s work experience – give it a go. It’s not just the best job, it’s the best world to be a part of.”
For his very first employer, his achievements come as no shock.
“It never surprises me to read and hear about Ben’s success,” said Ms. Donald.
“He was destined for great things and it makes me very proud to know that as a bush boy with a big dream he let nothing hold him back.”
Mr. Wright’s hair creations will be seen on the BFW22 runway from August 22-26.