Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Shay Dempsey and I am one of the Global Artistic Directors for Sebastian Professional.
What brought you/inspired you to start a career in the hair industry? My cousin, Norman Jacob, is the one who inspired me. He was a hairdresser in London, and one day when cutting my family’s hair in our kitchen in Dublin, he gave me my first scissors. That is when it all started!
For those who would like to have a career like yours, could you tell us how you got where you are right now? I started training in Dublin; did it for 3 years, and then I went to London to continue and finish my training. I was at the salon during the week and assisting for free on the weekends; taking all aspects of hairdressing in this included barbering every Sunday from 7am to 2pm for over a year and also working on photo shoots. I then came back to Dublin and opened my first salon, Zoo, in Angier Street. Had it for 14 years!
Zoo is an interesting name for a hair salon. How and why did you pick it? I wanted something short that people would always remember. I thought Zoo was a great one!
You have worked with a long list of celebrities (Kirsten Dunst, Jerry Hall, Helena Christensen, Heidi Klum, Renee Zellweger, etc.). Can you tell us the secret to gaining their trust and respect? I would say that the secret to working with celebrities is to just be yourself, always remember that you are there to do your job to the best of your ability. No more, no less.
With more than 25 years of experience in the hairdressing industry, can you tell us how, in your opinion, Sebastian Professional stands apart from other professional brands? Sebastian Professional is one of those brands that is constantly evolving. We are always trying to inspire hairdressers and we are a brand that is not afraid to break the rules.
When we look at your work, it is very creative and bold; could you tell us where you find your inspiration? I am a very visual person. I pretty much find inspiration everywhere and in everything. Obviously hair is the biggest accessory to fashion so I do take a lot of inspiration from designers that I love. The list is endless as to where I get my inspiration from; it could be people I work with, sometimes the Internet, or just being aware of my surroundings when travelling the world.
Sebastian Professional is all about fearless styles and cutting-edge innovation but tell us what your definition of fearless is. My definition of fearless is to be brave and bold in everything you do!
You are from Dublin, you lived in London for a time and now you live in Los Angeles. Tell us how those cities are similar and different and how each of them inspires you in your work? You need people to make cities. This variety of characters makes each of these cities so different and full of inspirations. Obviously I’m extremely proud to be Irish; the warm and happy-go-lucky persona the Irish have is something special and has helped me travel and live in other countries with ease.