How an award-winning Blackley hairstylist is a role model in her community

A Blackley hairstylist has won an outstanding beauty award – and is becoming a role model in her community.

Callum Walker, 21, who started his own hair brand Swarvella, has been named a ‘Rising Star’ at the prestigious UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022. He came first in the category after his fiancé entered him in the competition last year. He waits for his trophy and awards certificate to arrive in the mail.

Callum told MEN: “The awards were broadcast live on TV and I had a big viewing party and played it on multiple screens. I was feeling anxious about it all day, so when my name was first announced, I couldn’t believe it!

READ MORE: Meet the 20-year-old Blackley boy behind the most flamboyant hairstyles at Traveler Weddings

“I was buzzing. Everyone started screaming and my friends started shaking me. Someone pushed the TV! I was like, ‘Oh my God!’

“The awards have changed my life. It’s absolutely amazing. Recognition means everything, it’s my life. To finally get this recognition, it’s like a plaque to put in front of all the people who said to me ‘you can’t do it’.

Blackley’s Callum Walker has won a major hairstyling award

“I’m now part of a great community where I can help other hairdressers and stylists who have questions and want to be up there with all the other contest finalists.”

Describing the Blackley community’s reaction to her awards, Callum said: “My family and friends have been so supportive. My grandmother was quite moved. I didn’t expect this reaction at all.

A photo of a cute curly look on a female client
A nice curly look on a client

“It’s not just my family who are thrilled. The clients are behind me and this wouldn’t be possible without their support.

“Many of my clients were watching the awards with me and they tagged me in posts and shared the news. Neighbors knocked on my door congratulating me and they sent me gifts. It’s overwhelming.”

A photo of Callum and his grandmother
Callum and his grandmother

Hair enthusiast Callum is cementing his place as one of Manchester’s hottest hairdressers.

In October, he shared with the MEN his talent for creating bright and daring looks for travelers’ weddings and the Parklife festival. Since then, he has amassed thousands of followers on Instagram and also landed opportunities on television.

A photo of Callum Walker working on a client's hair
Callum Walker working on a client’s hair

Callum continued: “Over the past few months I have has been rated ‘5 stars’ by Google and ‘top 3 in Manchester’ for hairdressing businesses. General interest has increased so much. This year I booked 32 different weddings.

A photo of a bold Swarvella braid for Parklife
A bold Swarvella braid for Parklife

I’ve gone a little crazy with weddings, it’s gone completely crazy! In November I did a wedding in Cheshire out of interest in an Absolutely Ascot cast member on ITV. I recently approached Vivienne Cooper about this program and she asked me to do a marriage for a number of girls.

A photo of a cute up-do look created by Callum
A cute up-do look created by Callum

“I did about 13 girls that day. It was my first experience with customers of a television production. It was absolutely exceptional. It wasn’t just a business opportunity, I have now made a friend for life.

“I was also shortlisted for a TV show for E4, who are from the creators of The Great British Bake Off. I It would be a dream to continue to have more opportunities on television, because I would like to project my story and use it to help people in the future.”

A photo of Vivienne Cooper from ITV's Absolutely Ascot, who invited Callum to do his hair
Vivienne Cooper of ITV’s Absolutely Ascot, who invited Callum to do his hair

Now, Callum is using her influence for good beyond the online beauty world. He was invited to be a guest speaker at his old high school, to speak to students about his journey to hairdressing success.

A photo of a voluminous hairstyle created by Callum
Callum is regularly asked to create voluminous styles for weddings and social events

Callum previously opened up about his struggles as a teenager – he was expelled from school, which was a worrying time for him and his family. But he learned to channel his frustration into a great passion for hairdressing.

A photo of a cute Callum bun
A nice bun from Callum

“The student guidance units that helped me when I was taken out of education – they all reached out to me,” Callum said. “They invited me to talk to teenagers who are in the same situation as me. It’s phenomenal. I can’t understand.

A photo of a fairy tale look, created by Callum
A fairy tale look, created by Callum

“This school really, really helped me – they even helped me with a mental health diagnosis. People said ‘we knew you would do something about it!’ It made me very, very emotional. It’s nice to see that they all remember me and that I’m always in their thoughts.”

In the future, Callum hopes to expand its brand and launch its own products.

Photo by Callum Walker
Callum was named a ‘Rising Star’ at the UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022

He added, “In fact, a lot of people showed interest in me by setting up a training academy. This is a fairly common thing that comes up over and over again. I would like to continue pushing my business as much as possible. A lot of people encourage me to do things like that. It will happen when it happens.”

Follow Callum’s Swarvella brand on Facebook and Instagram and watch her beauty tutorials on YouTube.

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Rebecca R. Santistevan