INTERVIEW WITH LESLIE DO – INTERNATIONAL HAIR STYLIST
This time Beauty Master Asia magazine is proud to introduce to our readers a Vietnamese with a famous presence in the international hair industry – Hairstylist Leslie Do.
Leslie Do was born in 1968 in Vietnam, but he moved to Norway with his family at the age of 12.
Leslie Do graduated from High School for Technology of Norway. He has participated in student hair competitions in Norway and won the First Prize in the hair skills contest for 10 years in a row – a remarkable and special achievement. He was also nominated as the best hairstylist for many years in Norway.
Leslie Do went to London (UK) to study and work. He then returned to Norway to start a salon and studied for a doctorate for four years.
He has had many invitations to be in charge of hairstyling and makeup in Vietnam for many contestants and models in numerous events: Vietnam Next Top Model 2011, Vietnam Fashion Week 2011, Game Show Hair Idol 2015, Miss Universe 2015, British Festival 2018…
He has played important roles as a Trainer for the National Skill Competition in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020, received the Certificate of Merit from the Ministry of Labor – Veteran and Social Affairs for Professionals with Excellent Achievement.
He was also honored by the Vocational Education Association for the development of Vietnam’s hair industry. In 2018, he represented Vietnam at the Int’l Pivot Point Exams in Indonesia. After that, he was also invited to be a judge at the ASEAN Skills Competition in Bangkok (Thailand) 2018, and in Singapore 2020.
Having been trained in the hair industry, living and working in Europe for such a long time, what had Leslie achieved up until now?
During my time studying and working in Norway, I experienced a lot of things, not only in the hair industry but also learned a lot of knowledge about life, I got to interact with many people. come from lots places and in a variety of hair contests. Working and interacting with friends from many countries, I have the opportunity to improve my self-worth and have the opportunity to travel around the world. I am proud to have traveled to many places in Asia, Europe, Oceania, America, Antarctica, Africa.
Travels to these places are fascinating to said the least. The professionalism and initial success steps have helped me confidently try my hand at business with a chain of 16 hair salons.
The time that I struggled the most was the time I returned to Vietnam. This is the time when I focus on bringing the knowledge I have learned from abroad to Vietnam to build a college pathway that few people in the hair industry believe I can do. But in just 2 years, I did it, my training center was granted an intermediate vocational code by the regional government. You ask how can I do it? Because of my determination, I want to develop a standard for hair profession in Vietnam with my world standard knowledge. For me this is a challenge, I have been doing very well, I am very satisfied with these steps of mine.
When did Leslie return to Vietnam? And what was Leslie’s feelings and perspective in the early days when approaching and working with the hair industry in Vietnam?
Actually, I returned to Vietnam to work and organize seminars and shows since 2009, but because my business in Norway is also growing, it was not until 2016 that I decided to return to Vietnam and go on a nationwide tour to visit. Find out what the hair industry is missing and what is available. I traveled around the country for 2 years doing workshops for Obsidan and sharing my experiences with over 60,000 hairstylists. Through the exchange, I understood what the hair industry really needed. And in 2018, I decided to stay in Vietnam to develop the hair industry for the next generations in a methodical and professional manner.
What was the first job Leslie discovered and experienced in Vietnam? Business or training?
It’s really hard to do business in Vietnam, but I still want to give it a try. Although my business in Europe is very successful, it is not possible to apply those models in Vietnam, each market has its own taste and desires… You see the hair salon chains in Korea, Japan, Thailand or China entering Vietnam are still not as successful as they would like. That apply to me as well. The reason is very simple, Vietnamese workers learn to cut hair from different teachers, each teacher teaches a style in the form of a traditional profession without a common basis. Every teacher has their own beauty and they often teach their profession in a way that ensures that students will be able to work after 3 to 6 months and become a proficient to do business with. Therefore, before completing the vocational training, the students already have that thought, they often think that they simply need to study for 3 to 6 months and they will have a job and open a business. Because such simple way of thinking, very few people enter the profession successfully.
Unlike me, in order to have a stable and a good grasp on the art, I had to study for 12 years to really enter the profession. I have to study for so long because taking the time to work, to gain experience, that’s the important thing.
In Vietnam, when students learn a little bit of knowledge, no one likes to work for other people. So they open their own shops and nothing is achieved, the technology is just basic, not everyone has the money to invest, so how can there be customers, and without customers? How can one improve their profession and be successful? Just that one small point is enough for you to understand why Vietnam’s hair industry has not developed yet. In professional business, any profession is the same, the issue of vocational skills is still a very important factor, my opinion is to focus 80% on training and 20% on business.
Up to this point, I am very happy because in just a short time in Vietnam, I have also created seed values, although not many, but enough for me to have the energy to strive.
It is known that the hair fashion industry in Vietnam is quite progressive because of fashion trends and is always updated with new things in the world, Vietnamese people are also fashionistas and always update along the world’s standard? Did Leslie see it that way?
Right, because Vietnamese people really like new things and are very quick to update new trends of the world. But if you just like and copy new things elsewhere, it will not bring real knowledge because the hair industry is a design industry that needs ideas and each design must be suitable for each look. Modeling is easy, but handling requests accordingly are two completely different things. If you want to be one of the top hairdressers in the world, people who work in this profession must make more efforts because this profession if it wants to be good, it must be willing to gain the knowledge and add the experience in the real world, not just looking at it. Understand it and do it in the right way.
Through training, how does Leslie assess the new things in hair training in Vietnam? And what are the expectations for the industry?
In the past, in general, customers of the Vietnamese hair industry did not ask hairdressers or hairstylist to bring out their personality, but to only made follow a certain image, a certain style, following a certain trend. In general, customers do not require higher skills and do not require workers or technicians to have talents or prestigious certificates.
But recently, this field has also made strides, customers have begun to demand higher requirements from the design, cutting and experimental techniques, and customers have also had desired for higher quality products. Therefore, the training segment of the hair industry is also required to be update and improve.
Currently, Vietnam has granted an intermediate industry code for the field of training of the hair industry. This is also a great step forward.
In this world, having a degree to work is very important. For example, if you go to a doctor, you must choose a doctor with a license and of course the government will only allow the practice when the doctor has a license. The hair industry of Vietnam in the future will be like foreign countries, must have a vocational certificate to practice.
What are the important elements in the hair industry that Leslie often advises to a student?
They should learn to gain knowledge and spend enough time to choose for themselves a right path so as not to waste time and money in vain.
As a Vietnamese hairstylist of international stature, Leslie must have experienced many positions and experience in great working environments, which workplaces and working positions give Leslie the most memories?
To me, every school, big or small, is great. And whether working with the biggest designer in the world or helping design students graduate, or creating to next masterpiece for a beauty pageant queen, or cutting the hair for the everyday worker, it’s all the same for me. Because with any job, I am always being creative. When do any job, you must have the knowledge to create for them the most special works, that is called the art you can experience. Each client is a challenge for me to improve myself.
Oh so many, I don’t count them anymore. (Laugh). In competitions, I won a lot and also lost so many times that I can’t count. But every win or lose is a great experience.
Leslie used to do makeup and hair for many international stars, organize many big shows, which much be really practical experiences to impart on to future professional students?
To do that, there are two things that must be done. One is to go to school a lot to experiment with that knowledge many time on the customers. Second, take the exam a lot. Because with every exam you have to practice a lot every day
Those two things accumulate a lot of knowledge and experience for you to perfect your ideas and creativity. This is not taught according to a pattern or formula because everyone has a different view of art.
This time Leslie spends a lot of time working in Vietnam, Leslie must really want to have time to devote to the hair and beauty industry?
Actually, at this time, I aim to get a certificate of hairdressing college in Vietnam. This is the goal and I think will soon be achieved. I also hope to help those who love the profession have a different perspective and better grasp the basics to design works that are recognized by the world. Don’t just go and copy other forever. I also wish 63 provinces and cities of this country to develop together. I think orienting the true value of the hair industry in Vietnam is not difficult, as long as we want to and do it.
It is known that Leslie spends time working mainly at his Hair Academy, can Leslie introduce this academy?
I have my own Leslie Academy and also want to connect with Vietnamese stylists towards a common goal because I can also connect with the world very well because I have worked with partners around the world for more than 30 years. year.
The hard part is to connected Vietnam together, but I still hope we can. If there is hope and effort, there will be opportunities.
Thank you Leslie. Wish Leslie always healthy, happy and successful!