A Co Down hairdresser set up a business at the age of 72 to train the next generation.
Hairdresser Patricia Strong started her career with a Saturday job at a local hair salon when she was just 13, and after leaving school she started a hairdressing apprenticeship.
During this time, she learned how to make, cut and style wigs.
She opened her first salon in her hometown when she was 18 and will celebrate 60 years in the industry in 2023.
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Patricia specializes in creating wigs and has worked with people who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy or alopecia.
On top of that, she worked in the hair and wig department on Game of Thrones and many other major productions filmed in Northern Ireland.
Her new venture, Patricia Strong Creatives, will be based at Ards Business Hub to train new screen industry teams and provide wigs to people affected by hair loss.
Patricia said: “I love working in the film industry and the reason I started my own training academy is because during the third season of Game of Thrones I realized that there is no Since there weren’t many people in Northern Ireland with the skills and knowledge of wigs that was needed to work on major productions, crew members had to be brought in from England and the Republic of Ireland.
“I started offering training because I thought we had an abundant supply of talent in Northern Ireland who wanted to get jobs in the film industry, they just needed to be honed.
“Ards Business Hub is only ten minutes from my home in Greyabbey and offers a great location and studio space.
“It’s very peaceful and calm and that means my clients with hair loss have a very private and serene environment to visit when dealing with the distress of hair loss due to chemotherapy, alopecia or age.
“The studio provides complete privacy, there is on-site parking and the services offered by Ards Business Hub are exceptional. Feedback from my clients regarding the studio has been very encouraging.”
Patricia has also worked in theater and has worked on numerous productions at the Grand Opera House with companies including the Royal Ballet, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Company and Covent Garden.
But due to her skills and expertise in wigs, hair and makeup, Patricia’s talents led her into the film industry in the Republic of Ireland, working on productions like Laws of Attraction with Pierce Brosnan. and Julieanne Moore and King Arthur with Kiera Knightly. & Ray Winston.
As the film industry began to take off in Northern Ireland, there were very few people in the industry with the skills and knowledge of wigs to work on high profile productions such as Game of Thrones.
For the next five years Patricia was busy working on Game of Thrones as well as Dracula Untold, The Lost City of Z, Mrs Wilson, Krypton, Silverpoint and many more.
Many of the people she trained now work on film and TV productions in Northern Ireland. It therefore contributed to building up a good pool of local expertise.
Courses can last from one to three days and cover areas such as: styling and dressing long hair, an introduction to wigs & hairpieces for film and television, make-up courses and cutting courses.
In addition to courses for the industry, she will present short evening courses for those dealing with hair loss on how to choose the right wig, how to care for your wig, tips and tricks on hair care. skin and makeup. Classes are intended to be pleasant, informal and participants will be offered light refreshments.
“Along their journey, if they lose their hair, many women lose confidence. This class is meant to help them build that confidence and help them feel good about themselves. Look Good Feel Good is my belief” , she added.
Nichola Lockhart, Managing Director of Ards Business Hub, said: “It’s amazing that Patricia is starting a new business at an age when most people are long retired. She is a phenomenal businesswoman and a prime example of the dedication and drive it takes to succeed in the film and television industry.
“It’s so good that she is passing on her knowledge and experience to a new generation, while her work in providing wigs to people suffering from hair loss is inspiring.”
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