Wendy Gunn, accompanied by her hair model, receiving the prestigious 2019 L'Oreal Professional Style & Colour Trophy.
Wendy Gunn, accompanied by her hair model, receiving the prestigious 2019 L'Oreal Professional Style & Colour Trophy. Christian Fournier

Top age defier Wendy Gunn says it starts with your hair

CHAMPAGNE corks popped in Paris when Australian hair colourist Wendy Gunn was recently announced winner of the 2019 L'Oreal Professional Style & Colour Trophy with her Rising Sun look.

The pro-age industry leader has been on her feet since age 15. Now at 70 she is still putting in 60 hours a week to her Brisbane city business, Ink for Hair.

"I am living my life passionately," Ms Gunn said.

"I am also passionate about what I do and I am good at it.

"I am not about to curl up. I am not about to buy my last car or my last TV."

The road to the L'Oreal trophy win was arduous. It started with a photograph of her work being sent to judges in Australia who then determined the top 20 in each State.

Next it was "doing" the model's hair, dress and make-up in real-time for the top three in the State.

After that it was onto the Australian titles in Melbourne where Ms Gunn took out the national award in early 2018.

She created her look using strategically placed apricot and peach colours which resulted in a rose gold tone in her model's hair.

In France, she had to do it all again in real-time and then be judged against 32 other countries.

"What the competition made me do is realise that I don't have to be limited by how old I am," Ms Gunn said.

Back on the floor of her business and with a full week of bookings ahead, Ms Gunn said she has one her three daughters back by her side after 10 years out on her own.

She also has two 20-something juniors who are on her journey of exploring the latest trends and techniques. "If you want to be good at anything, you have got to be prepared to constantly learn," she said.

Doing a make-over of a client is one of Ms Gunn's greatest challenges and joys. "Someone who is a bit older and set in a time-warp; just changing how they look changes how they feel," she said.

"My philosophy is what you wear starts with your hair."

This very direct woman doesn't look at her age, she looks at the person.

Recently she turned around an old friend's attitude with some life-changing advice. The friend said she had been looking at 50-year-old's hairstyles for herself.

"I told her I was the wrong hairdresser for her because that's not how I look at my clients," Ms Gunn said. "I look at body shape, face shape and lifestyle. I don't look at the age of someone."

Ms Gunn's age certainly doesn't define her. It's just a mindset. "I am having a ball," she said.

"My grandmother said you always have to have something to look forward to," she said. So, she looks after herself with weekly massages, facials and regular visits to the podiatrist, and switching off from her dynamic lifestyle by going to good restaurants, savouring more French champagne and spending quiet time learning oil painting.

Ms Gunn suggested she write an inspirational book titled Avoid Retirement and Stay Alive.

"It's probably not what the seniors want to hear, but I'm about whatever I do in life," she added. "I have got to love what I do and I will keep doing it while I love it," she said.


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