Sexy, sassy and stylish at 71 years young!
Walking into Terry Scott’s La Lucia Salon for the first time was like walking onto a movie set!
Smoke, steam and hairspray mist in the air, loud whirring of hair dryers, hurried movement of the stylists and assistants – if it wasn’t for the wonderful smell of scented hair products and the sight of gorgeous women taking selfies of their new do, I would’ve thought I was in the boiler room of the Titanic.
Same energy, different scene!
Isacc Lediga chats with the indomitable legend Terry Scott about his career, his passion for his craft, leading horses to water, and the fountain of youth.
He shares a candid journey about his career, his aspirations, his highs and lows, and his passion for his industry.
Not one to waste time, right in the back of the Salon, we quickly shuffled into his office.
The back wall decorated from floor to ceiling with a few of the accolades he’s accumulated throughout his career, including a photo of him with the Legendary Vidal Sassoon.
Nothing short of a legend himself, women all around the world know the Terry Scott brand with many having been fortunate enough to get to know him as a person.
I was one of the lucky ones who have got to sit down and have a candid conversation with him around life, love, fame & combs with Scott – I turned on my voice recorder and immediately jumped in.
(IL)Tell me about the Origin of Terry Scott the brand?
(TS) My mother is a hairdresser, as well as some of my cousins, but I’ve always wanted to be a Chef.
So I try to run my salon like a Michelin star restaurant, measuring everything to perfection, monitoring every detail, I’m a perfectionist.
Wanted to be a chef, chose to be a hairdresser and never looked back. I loved every minute of it.
I started my career at 10 years old as a child actor, did acting until I was 15, I was on stage and I’m still on stage when the doors of my salon open everyday, that’s my stage, Lights go down and the curtain rises and its Showtime, that’s hairdressing.
50 years ago I didn’t tell myself I was going to be a hairdresser, I told myself I was going to be THE hairdresser.
I love my staff, I love my clients and I love my profession and I’ve never had to work a day in my life.
(IL) I suppose you’ve always been an artist?
(TS) If you look at history, just about every hairdresser is a good cook, and there are so many hairdressers who became chefs, they gave up hair to become chefs.
It kind of goes hand in hand, that is basically the creativity and the art of hairdressing.
Same as a chef, when they open their restaurants for service its show time, the food has to be hot, things have to be sliced precisely, you work with very dangerous equipment but at the end you come out with something beautiful that people can enjoy.
(IL) What were your biggest challenges building your band and your legacy?
(TS) STAFF!! *chuckles* I have to say the most challenging aspect was staff, because as much as you try, you can take a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink.
There’s a famous quote that says “be careful with how much you tolerate because you’re teaching them how to treat you” and I have in my life tolerated quite a lot, I’ve been hurt so many times but I always bounce back and come back stronger.
They won’t ever get me down
(IL) What’s the biggest misconception about you personally?
(TS) The biggest misconception about Terry Scott is that he thinks he’s a really big deal, but they have no idea how humble I am.
I’m easily intimidated, and people don’t believe it.
I am very humble but not at all modest – by no means.
But the biggest misconception is Terry is far more expensive than you think he is, than you’d perceive him to be.
I’m not the most expensive hairdresser in town but I am the best.
My prices aren’t as exorbitant as people would assume and I’m totally not intimidating,
It’s my character, It’s my personality that’s who I am, take me as you find me.
I don’t think I am better than anyone else – walk in my shoes and you’ll understand, because this is very a passionate job it’s a passionate world, but it’s not easy.
(IL) What advice would you give a young aspiring hairdresser and entrepreneur?
(TS) You choose hairdressing? You’ve gotta live it, you’ve gotta eat it, you’ve gotta sleep it & any advice I’ve got for a budding hair dresser, if it’s in your blood, you will know!
If you want to achieve anything you will have to get out there, find a hair hero, someone you aspire to, study them!
I’ve always had a Vidal Sassoon alter Ego until I made a name for myself then that’s when I really became Terry Scott the brand. Work, work, work, there are no shortcuts.
I’m very blessed to know that in Cape Town there is a salon called Scar, and Andrew from Scar, still to this day.
Whenever he’s complimented, praised and given recognition.
He’s always kind enough to say “I started my career with Terry Scott” that really humbles me in the most incredible way.
To have someone so committed and so accomplished to be able to get up and say that’s where I started my career.
And that is my ultimate advice, follow your dream.
Aspire to be the person you want to be, because at the end of the day that’s who you’re going to be -You’re going to be a better version of yourself.
(IL) In your 50 years of experience what’s changed the most in Hairdressing?
(TS) So much has changed.
Respect, commitment, dedication.
Fashion has changed, now you’ve got to be versatile, you have to be skilled in every aspect.
You can’t just specialize in just colouring or perming, you’ve got to be an all-round hairdresser.
It’s changed so much to the point where a client comes in now, not like in my days where they would just show up every week or month for a cut or colour, now it’s gone on to where people have become so aware, they google everything and come to the salon thinking they know more about hairdressing than you do *laughs*.
I tell them this product is absolutely amazing, they’ll go “oh yes but it’s got sulphates, it’s got copper, this ingredient, that ingredient” so you’ve got to be far more social media savvy, what’s changed the most is the approach to hairdressing.
You’ve got to be able to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
(IL) Now I just have a series of Quick fire questions I’d like you to answer quickly off the top of your head.
Number 1 rule when it comes to Hair Care?
(TS) Number one rule is being properly diagnosed!
You have to have the right consultation.
Get the right consultation to get the product that is right for you.
The right shampoo and conditioner is where it starts, you then progress to treatment, whether it be moisture, hydration, protein, whatever your hair needs is where you need to go, and the only way to do to do that is with a professional touching and feeling to find where the problem lies.
(IL)One hair product you swear by?
(TS) In South Africa at the moment any Brazilian Blowout product, particularly with this climate, in Durban the humidity is insane, this treatment has changed women’s lives.
(IL) Clippers or scissors?
(TS) BOTH! hahaha
(IL) Dream Celebrity that you would like to style?
(TS) So many!
I’d love to cut David Beckham’s hair one day, he’s got the look, he’s got the quality of hair and he’s so versatile, he’s a chameleon and he has the confidence to carry it.
Also people like Debbie Harry, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez & Katy Perry.
(IL) Favourite fashion moment in pop culture?
(TS) My go to, to see what is trending is watching fashion shows whether its Paris, New York, SA fashion week that’s where I love to see innovation & creativity and secondly is I really love watching soccer because that’s where you get the latest styles in men’s hair, it’s basically a fashion show and all of that inspires me and we experiment on mannequins & try out new ideas constantly improving and evolving with the times.
(IL) Looking back, what advice would you give young 10 year old Terry Scott?
(TS) I’d tell him that it’s hard work, it requires perseverance, and it’s about taking the good with the bad.
Don’t time yourself when you’re working all day doing a show or a shoot.
Just work to do your best work & don’t rush, know that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Nothing comes easy, but if you love it, it will never feel like work!
Working like he’s still trying to prove himself to his boss, that’s how he BECAME the boss.
He has fun at every moment, this is his sanctuary, his fountain of youth. As anyone will tell you when you’re doing what you love every day, It will never feel like work! With more vigour and passion than someone half his age, you can tell that this is where he would rather be – scissors in hand, behind the chair ready to change yet another client’s life with his own two hands.
His team is nothing short of amazing, with a boss like Terry with an infectious passion for excellence and perfection , they’re following right in his footsteps.
Clients walk out of those doors with a new level of confidence and empowerment. Terry was generous enough to gift me with a complimentary haircut after our interview – I was greeted by his superstar barber Fabrice Fabela – who, to my amusement, cuts with the precision of a heart surgeon – and I left the Salon feeling brand new with a signature *Terry Scott light fade – it felt like an exotic spa treatment (and I must say to the gents is worth every cent and every minute)
When Terry isn’t on the floor personally making sure that your ‘do’ is DONE, he’s out giving back to the community – sharing with me on the day that he was on his way to a retirement home to do hair for his long time clients who have known Terry since the beginning of his career.
Being an international Platform artist for one of the largest brands in haircare WELLA. he travels to London every year and has for the past 40 years, to work on stage at Fashion Week, and does Master-Classes sharing the knowledge and experience he’s gathered over the years.
Going forward for the year 2022, he plans to do motivational talks, giving advice on how to run salons & doing more Master-Classes around the country, touring in PE, East London, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Having worked with hair for over 50 years and working around the world from New York, Las Vegas, London, Germany, Paris and Belgium, he possesses a wealth of knowledge for any young aspiring hairstylist who has their sights set on changing the world of hair.
Nothing short of Iconic, Terry Scott’s Legacy and career has made an enormous impact in the world of hair – a household name in fashion and pop culture.
His accessibility and recognition that his loyal clients are the backbone of his success coupled with his commitment to excellence are the fuel that keeps the fire burning and continues to shine his light in this little corner of the world in La Lucia.
Upper Level – La Lucia Mall
Tel : (031) 572 6911
Check them on on insta and Facebook @ terryscotthairfashion