Joanne Fox, from the Bishop Cuthbert area of ââHartlepool, was crowned winner of the HJ International Salon Extension Competition after a competition judged live in London.
The recognition came after Joanne was shortlisted for the final round of the contest among more than 200 other people a few weeks ago.
She then traveled to London to compete in the final and had 35 minutes to style her model’s extensions as five expert judges assessed every detail.
Joanne, 37, described her participation in the competition as a “16 hour whirlwind”.
The mother of two said, âIt was the scariest thing I have ever done.
“I think I’m still processing everything.
âI was stunned, completely shocked. I was so, so nervous, the most nervous I have ever been.
“I didn’t even expect to reach the final due to the sheer scale of the competition. The other finalists I was up against are also some of the best in the country.”
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After her victory, Joanne will be a guest judge on the jury for next year’s competition.
She said the invitation had left her overwhelmed as she had admired the people on the panel her entire career.
Joanne added, “Having them tell me in person that my extensions are exceptional, the best they’ve seen in a long time, is unreal.”
Joanne has specialized in hair extensions for 17 years after she was first trained in 2004.
She said she started her business âorganicallyâ through word of mouth and clients have come all the way from Dubai to get their hair extensions done.
Joanne said: âI have always worked in Hartlepool and the surrounding area.
âIn recent years I’ve had clients who come from Dubai, Cyprus. There was a lady who flew once from Kazakhstan to have her hair done.
âI feel really lucky because I have such amazing and loyal customers that I have had from day one and that still come to me now.
“I just feel like I’m doing something that I love to do. It just makes me happy.”