If you haven't heard about her by now then where have you been?! Her name is Talitha Maddison and she's breaking the rules. Barbering wasn't her first calling in life but nonetheless she is making a great name for herself in the industry. Not only will she give you a mean fade, she also slays in front of a camera. We thought that she sounded pretty awesome so it was only right we found out more about her. Here's how it went...
First off introduce yourself for the readers…
Talitha ‘Tilly/Tils’ Maddison, 25... From Birmingham & Surrey. Barber, Photographer, Creative Direction.
I always start the interview with the same three questions so here we go. I know you’re a busy bee, but what does a normal day consist of?
At the moment a normal day consists of answering business emails, people wanting to shoot, models contacting me to book in shooting days, consultations with plumbers and electricians for my shop fit, planning interior design and company branding and in between that fitting in physiotherapy exercise.
Other than using your limited spare time to answer a load of questions haha, what are your top three interests?
Media Content: Photography, Video and Print. Travel and History (randomly).
And last but not least before we get to the real questions, who are your role models/inspirations?
Hmmmm….. I’m inspired by a lot of what I see. I studied Media Production and Media Studies at university. I’m a complete media geek. I watch a lot of TV and film, not so much for the story-lines but for the creative direction. I like to see how things are shot, the lighting used, the fashion and looks. I take a lot of inspiration from that. I can’t say I have any role models. Having a role model isn’t something I can relate to. I’ve always become interested in certain things because I’ve taken a liking to it and I really have my own taste. I see other peoples work and like it and take inspiration but I don’t necessarily ‘look up to them’…..Apart from Britney Spears. She should be a role model for anyone thinking they’re having a rough day.
Haha good old Britney! It seems that you’re a very visually stimulated person which fits perfectly to working with hair and being a photographer. How exactly was it that you got into modelling? Is it something you had always hoped for or did it kind of just fall in to place?
It’s weird I just started getting asked on social media to shoot some pics wearing brands’ clothing and to post them or email them back. Then it started being less that route and actually going to a shoot and having someone you’ve not met take the pictures professionally. I still wouldn’t say I model though….hahaha I just sometimes take pictures.
Hahaha ok, well you’re doing a great job at not being a model! What has been your favourite thing about having your photo taken, so far?
I actually feel really awkward having my photo taken but the people I’ve met on shoots have been quality. I’ve made some real friendships and it’s always a real laugh. Plus seeing the final product is really cool.
I get that, seeing the end product is always great. I’ve seen that you have been a part of several cool look books and a number of awesome photo-shoots and have even had your first cover, but what has been your favourite shoot to be a part of, so far?
The cover of Modern Barber was a really big thing to be a part of and the photographer was Marc Hayden who I’d been following on Instagram for a really long time (and bugging with photo questions hahaha). But I love working with the Lovesick boys, it’s cool when there’s loads of people involved.
I can imagine! One of my dreams is to one day have a cover of my own! We all know that you’re great in front of the camera but some people might not be aware that you also spend time on the other side of the lens. Do you find being in front or behind the camera more enjoyable, and why?
Ha! Ummmm…..well I AM a girl so we tend to be a little bit vain sometimes and it’s always nice to be given a decent new profile display picture haha! However I definitely feel more at ease and comfortable being behind the camera and I love getting a killer shot and people being happy with the end product.
What do you hope to accomplish being in front of the camera, and have you yet had your ‘Mumma I’ve made it’ moment?
It’s not something I’ve ever thought about. A friend asked me to be in their lookbook over a year ago now and it was just like..’helping out a mate’ kind of thing. It still feels a little bit like that to be honest. I get that sometimes girls with tattoos is a bit of a look; my right arm is completely covered and it is something that people like on camera. I’m starting to get asked by people that aren’t just ‘mates’ which is a little odd haha - to be honest I have a lot of freedom at the moment. I’m shooting for really cool brands, I’m shooting really well known models, I just became Creative Director of a magazine and I’m opening my own shop, I’m getting involved with some really cool men’s hair brands and I travel all over the world…..and I just turned 25. So I guess everything’s starting to feel like ‘Mumma I’ve made it’…I feel like that sounds like a Tupac lyric… hahaha.
Bloody hell woman, you’re keeping yourself busy aren’t you! Some would say that you are living the dream. And by some I mean me. You’ve already listed off some pretty big names but is there anyone who you hope to work with in the future?
Oh that’s a BIG question haha I could list a whole wide range of brands that would sound super random. My taste in fashion is really specific. That whole minimalistic look is my thing right now. I’d love to work with brands that have kind of followed the look route of big names like Cos or Sparkle & Fade. I’m obsessed with Cos. I’d love to shoot for a minimalistic street wear brand in the future. I haven’t shot with ANY female models yet. My model boys are great to shoot with and we produce some really great shots but it would be good to come at it from a different angle, some softer photos - I have a couple lined up this summer. I can’t lie Marc Hayden and Haris Nukem were top of my list and I’ve worked with both of them so I’m cushty!
So your photographer list is already pretty much ticked off which is awesome, and we can keep our fingers crossed that those brands reach out to you one day. Now onto the other career path you have. It’s not often that you see a young female barber, and I know you’re more than just a barber, so what was it that pulled you towards that career path?
Funny story. Sort of… I went to a music festival a few months after I graduated university and in the haze was telling people I was a barber. I’d honestly never even thought about it before and a week later I realised that was something I’d actually really like to do. So there you go….
Hahahaha! That’s brilliant. It turns out festivals are good for more than getting wasted and enjoying the music. Is working on men’s hair something you enjoy more than doing a woman’s haircut? And are there additional obstacles to overcome when working on a male head as opposed to a female?
I hate women’s hair. I hate doing it. I’m super fussy with my hair. I have like 3 different hair stylists and I know I’m super annoying with it. When I’m in their chair though I let them do their thing and don’t interfere, but I think that’s because I AM them. I know how it feels to be a hair stylist…but that is so rare and I just hate dealing with women basically lol. We’re awful.
I don’t blame you. In my younger years I was actually at college learning how to cut hair, I then started an apprenticeship under my barber and quickly realised how much harder women’s hair is. You’re now working at Toni and Guy, how have you found working for a world renowned salon like that? Do you prefer the more upscale salon or is it something you deal with because it’s a great opportunity?
I don’t actually work for Toni & Guy anymore. I left in April. I injured my arm working for them last year and was off sick for 7 months. I’ve been doing rehab for it for the last 3 or so months and I only really cut hair once a week or two times a month at the moment - It’s all I can really manage. Doing hair for shoots is a lot easier for me right now as it gets really sore and painful if I try and use it too much. I would never join a salon again, especially a big company… I had doubts going into it and I should have listenened to them. There isn’t a lot of ‘care’… there’s actually 0 care and now my arm is messed up for pretty much ever... I’ll leave it at that ha. Barbershops are much more my element, better work environments.
Damn, I should have done my research better! Sorry to hear about your arm. I’m glad you have decided to open your own shop though and at least you can learn from what you have experienced and make sure you do it right! Now, this doesn’t have to be about modelling or barbering, but over the years what is the best piece of advice you have been given, and what is the best piece you can give?
My dad actually gave me the best piece of advice I think I’ll ever get a couple years ago. I was sat on the phone to him in an airport heading out the country for the summer and he told me basically: “Life is unfair. People’s opinions don’t matter. Be responsible for yourself and answer to yourself.” That bit of advice is still advice I give to people now. Think about every decision you make; work and socially. If you’ve thought it through and you’re aware of the consequences and make a decision, stick with it. Be completely responsible for that choice. And don’t run for trains!! When you turn up 5 mins late and sweaty and stressed, 9/10 times people won’t even realise you’re late. If you’re late, you’re late. Worse things in life.
That’s a great piece of advice for anyone, anywhere and in any situation. If you don’t follow your own decisions and stand strong behind them, then you’ll just end up living someone else’s life. We’re coming to an end now but before we finish I have just two more real questions. Firstly, where do you hope to be in a years time?
Opening a second shop. Having FINALLY picked up my Range Rover Evoque and be doing exactly what I’m doing now but with a much stronger bank balance hahaha.
And more importantly, what can we hope to see in the immediate future?
My shop! That’s the biggie. Barbershop & Tattoo Studio (its more like a concept store) with some really cool collaborations that I’m super excited about.
Sounds amazing! Now to finish, we have five ‘would you rather…’ questions. So,
Would you rather win £50,000 or let your best friend win £500,000? ….ohhhhh….hahaha jhhheeezzzzeee…. Does my best friend know I let them win? No you know what I’m gonna take the 50k. My best friend is a party animal and would waste the money.
…live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future? Future. 100%. I want to live in a time when my Iphone battery lasts longer than 3 hours.
…have no taste buds or be colour blind? Rather be colour blind. That’s easy, I’m a total foodie.
…use sand paper as toilet roll or vinegar as eye drops? Sand paper. I can’t do eye drops when its saline let alone vinegar.
…have no elbows or no knees? No knees. I need movement in my arms too much.
Text Kiefer Horlock
Images Danny Mee & Marc Hayden