Amelia Carmela is an accomplished hair stylist, makeup artist, and wedding hair specialist based in Bristol and Swindon. With over a decade of experience in the beauty industry and numerous professional qualifications, Amelia has established a reputation for providing expert advice, innovative ideas, and the very best care for her clients’ hair. She was recently named the Best Wedding Hairstylist in the South West at The Wedding Industry Awards 2020. In this interview, Amelia shares her journey, insights, and passion for the beauty industry and It’s been an absolute pleasure being able to interview her for this guest blog as part of Stu Tucker Photography’s outreach for weddings in the southwest.

Personally working with Amelia has been an absolute joy and a true privilege. She is an incredibly talented and professional hair stylist who is dedicated to delivering the best possible results for her clients. She also works extremely well with photographer and videographers, which for me personally is a big must have for any hairstylist and make-up-artist. Whether you are looking for a stunning wedding hairstyle, a new look for a special event, or just want to treat yourself to a little bit of pampering, Amelia has the skills and expertise to make your vision a reality. She often post hints and tips via her social media feeds that inspires all her followers to embrace themselves and the new wedding trends.

I have had the opportunity to work with Amelia on several occasions and every time has been an amazing experience. She is incredibly patient and always takes the time to understand exactly what you want, ensuring that the final result is exactly what you had in mind. Her passion for the beauty industry is evident in everything she does and she is constantly seeking out new techniques and trends to stay ahead of the curve.

Amelia’s professionalism and attention to detail are truly second to none. She is an expert in her field and always strives to provide the very best care for her clients’ hair. Whether you are looking for a simple and elegant updo or a bold creative style, Amelia has the skills and expertise to make it happen.

In addition to her technical skills, Amelia is also a true professional. She is always punctual, reliable and respectful, and always puts the needs of her clients first. Amelia will work with you to create the perfect look that will make you feel confident, beautiful, and ready to take on the world.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in hair styling and makeup artistry?

I always knew I wanted to be a hairdresser from around the age of 10. That or cabin crew as I love to travel! For work experience at school, I chose to spend two weeks in a salon. I absolutely loved it. I remember asking my mum if I could quit school and just work, but she insisted I finish my GCSEs. The salon took notice, and I worked after school on a Thursday and all-day Saturday. Eventually, I chose to do an apprenticeship. I attended college once a month for written work and exams which suited me as I hated school and thrived in the salon. By 18, I was stylist with my own clients in a busy salon. Hair styling and makeup artistry came a little later in my career. 

How did you get started in the hair and beauty industry and what led you to becoming a wedding hair specialist? 

Fast forward a few years. After a brief change in career to fitness instructing and a year of backpacking, I found myself in Bristol. I took a risk and set up a little salon within a busy city centre gym alongside working in a pub in the evenings and retail at weekends to keep money coming in while I built up some clients. 

I attended a two-day make up course that probably needs another blog post to describe, but at least it didn’t deter me! I then went on to do an evening course at college for an NVQ in makeup and later attended the Bath Academy of Makeup. 

A regular client of mine got engaged and asked if I would style her hair and do makeup for the day. I was honoured and excited to be asked, but nervous is the polite way of describing how I felt! I didn’t have a car, so I used City Car Club to get to her house! When I arrived, I was welcomed in, met the family and got to work. Seeing how happy the bride was made me want to do more weddings. It’s such fulfilling work. 

 

Can you walk us through your typical process for working with a bride on her wedding day, from the initial consultation to the final touches on the big day?

The majority of my enquiries come from my website www.ameliacarmela.co.uk. There is a simple form to fill in that gets pinged into my email. I need all the important details like the wedding date, venue, where you’ll be getting ready and how many people need my services. If I’m available I require a deposit to secure your wedding date. 

Each bride receives a detailed PDF that tells them how to get their hair prepared for their trial. It includes style ideas, guidance for getting their hair healthy, advice on accessories and details for the trial. I prefer to have brides arrive for trials alone so I can have an uninterrupted consultation and get to know the bride on a personal level. We discuss details of the wedding, the dress, bridesmaids look and how they envision the day and how they would like to look. I ask for hair/make up inspiration photos ahead of the trial and discuss them in detail, what they like and dislike etc. I will then look at the brides hair, length and texture and create a look that will be most suitable. I prefer to do trials 6-8 weeks before the wedding as ideally you’ll have had your last hair cut before the wedding so it’s at the ideal length. 

On the day, I always arrive at the venue 10 minutes early to prepare myself, set up a space, prep my tools and preferred products. I provide a rough schedule, but I am not a spreadsheet person! I always ensure we are finished an hour before the bride would like to leave. I like to have a leisurely, relaxed morning allowing the bride to take in every moment. I don’t leave until all hair accessories are securely placed. I always give a bridesmaid the task of removing the veil if there is one and show her how to remove it correctly. I will also nominate a bridesmaid to look after a little refresh kit filled with some must haves like hair grips, lipstick, blotting paper etc.

How do you ensure that each bride looks and feels her absolute best on her wedding day?

I believe a bride should look and feel like themselves on their wedding day with an added bit of confidence. They should feel like the most wonderful version of themselves. Giving them time in a calming environment to check their hair and makeup and feel comfortable and confident in her own skin is so important. 

 

What sets you apart from other wedding hair and makeup artists in the Bristol, Bath, Somerset, and Wiltshire area? 

I’ve been a hairstylist for half my life now. Hair is my passion as well as my career. I believe I have a good rapport with people and I’m an expert at understanding their vision and struggles with their hair. Not only can I advise my brides about how to prepare their hair for the day, I can also create their dream hair colour and cut.

Can you share with us any particularly memorable moments or experiences from your time working as a wedding hair and makeup artist?  

Is this you after gossip!? Of course I have stories but I’ll keep it professional! One of my most memorable moments was watching a bride open a gift from her soon to be husband… it was a fairly new thing then. Inside the box was a ring and a message along the lines of ‘my mum would have loved you’. The groom’s mums had been ill and never got to meet the bride while they were dating. He took his mum’s rings, melted them down and created a ring for his bride. I cried as softly as I could when I really wanted to ugly cry! This was, and still is, one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever seen. 

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest hair and beauty trends and techniques?

Apart from following lots of amazing makeup artists and hairstylists and watching their tutorials religiously on social media, I learn best by being hands on. I’ve already attended a bridal hair course with Chris Fordham, a respected and experienced stylist in the South West, and in a few months I’ll be attending a makeup course with the incredible Christina Ouloupi. I keep up to date with the latest trends, beauty products and spend far too much money buying skincare for my own market research! 

Can you talk about the products you use in your work and why you prefer to use cruelty-free products?

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 10 years old and I’ve always preferred to use cruelty free products personally. There wasn’t must choice ‘back in the day’, but as companies have started to change and look at more sustainable ways of helping the environment products are a lot more readily available. During lockdown, I took the opportunity to invest in changing my makeup kit to use Charlotte Tilbury, Fenty, Glossier etc. In the salon I use MUK Hair Colour alongside their shampoo and conditioners. My wedding kit is jampacked with Colour Wow

How do you approach working with clients who have specific requests or concerns about their hair and makeup?

I believe it’s important to have a thorough consultation before I even touch your hair or face. That’s why I prefer to have one-to-one trials so I can get to know the bride personally. I like to know as much detail as possible to fully understand their vision then I can work out the best way to make that vision come to life. But brides need to be willing to trust me and take my advice, for example investing in a good skincare regime. Makeup is only ever as good as the skin it lies on. It doesn’t have to be super expensive, but I am passionate about skincare and it 100% makes a difference to how well your make up will sit and last. The most common hair concern is not having enough. The thought of hair extensions can be scary, but they really don’t need to be. 

What do you enjoy most about your job and what do you want your clients to take away from their experience with you? 

Part of me wants to be a little unmemorable because you were so relaxed, having fun with your bridal party I just blend in, but I also love being a part of the morning, hearing funny stories about the hen party and stories of their friendships. As I’m somewhat of a chatterbox, sometimes I can’t help but join in! Mainly I want to have achieved exactly what the bride envisioned for herself. As a perfectionist, I’d be disappointed if I hadn’t. 

Can you share with us a little about your life outside of work, what you like to do in your free time and what are some of your interests and passions?

What’s free time?! My life is a little hectic, but not chaotic. Most weeknights I’m in bed at 9pm, reading on my kindle. I’m aiming to read 12 books this year. I am a single mum to my son Frankie which any parent knows is not the easiest role. I commute an hour to work 2/3 times a week and often work 10 hour days, but I specifically don’t work Monday/Tuesdays to spend time with Frankie before he starts school in September. With a fitness background I try to train as often as I can so Frankie comes with me to the gym sometimes. I’ve been spending most free weekends doing up my house. I’ve recently had a new kitchen fitted and I’m as obsessed with it as I am with my air fryer! I adore having friends over and hosting, cooking yummy food and drinking red wine. 

I am also an avid fan of American reality TV like Real Housewives. I’d say I’m somewhat of an expert! 

I’m also a backpacker at heart having travelled, New Zealand, Thailand, The Philippines, Sri Lanka to name a few. I can’t wait to see more of the world with my little boy!

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in hair styling and makeup artistry, especially in the wedding industry?

Like Kim K says, ‘you have to get up and work’. I’m joking…kind of. Just be passionate about what you’re doing. I’m not someone that says you need to eat, live, dream about work as I believe that can cause burnout. Spend time finding your niche and master it, invest in yourself, training, products and equipment. Find your ideal clientele and don’t falter for anything else. Don’t compare yourself to others and stay focused on your goals. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what is there to expect from you and business in 2023 and beyond?

In 10 years I’ll be 45. Eeek! I hope I have a good work/life balance so I can spend quality time with my son, possibly more children and maybe even a husband. I’d love to have the opportunity for some destination weddings and much more travel in my life. 

One thing I know won’t change is the gratitude I feel when a bride chooses me to help get her ready, for trusting me and allowing me to make her feel like the most incredible version of herself, however that should look. 

Makeup – Elle Hitchens 

Author and Interviewer – www.stutuckerphotography.com