Winning Step Up and Shine…

Hey everyone, my name is Amanda Linehan and I’m excited to take a moment to share with you my career changing moment that happened to me. Winning Step Up and Shine in 2019!


Amanda Linehan

Amanda Linehan


Why did it take me so long?

I’m a hairdresser in the Kent area and have been hairdressing for just over 17 years now. Until very recently, I had worked in the same salon since I was still at school before leaving to follow one of my ambitions to open up my very own salon, Linehan and Co.

Why did it take me so long to follow this ambition? Was it money? Was it finding the right location? Or perhaps I changed my mind along the way? No, it was because I had no confidence in myself and didn’t believe I was good enough to do it. It remained just a dream I had and we all have dreams that we know will never come true. Don’t we?


hairdresser fellowship

Amanda continually learning


Something amazing happened!

I’ve always been a really shy person and all through school, I was always happy to be the follower and blend in the background, and not much changed 16 years down the line. Then something amazing happened!

I was pretty new to Instagram at this point and I had just joined Sophia Hilton’s Not Another Social group to help me understand it all. I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post pop up on my feed about the Christopher Manns Step Up and Shine competition with The Fellowship for British Hairdressing and the NHBF.

The winner received £2,500 to spend on whatever education they wanted. WOW! I nearly scrolled past it but a picture caught my eye so I clicked onto it. I have never entered competitions before, mainly because I just felt they were for the ” bigger and better ” hairdressers. You had to upload a 60 second video onto Instagram of yourself explaining why you deserve to win and what you will do with the money. With 15 minutes to go, I thought, sod it, what’s the worst that can happen, so I snuck off into the staff room and quickly uploaded my video. Watching it back, I died of embarrassment at just how shy and awkward I looked and laughed it off as an “oh well, that will give them a laugh ” moment.

To my complete surprise, I got a call back to say I had been selected to the next round and they were coming out to my salon to interview me. WHAT, NO WAY! I was so shocked and nervous as hell. After the interview, I got through to the final two and was invited to the Fellowships Presidents night. I was so excited. Already I had gone from thinking, “no not me”, to, “hmm, maybe I can win this”.


Career in hairdressing

Amanda preparing models hair

“And the winner is…

The evening was, for me, something like no other event I have ever attended. Full of some of the big named hairdressers I have always followed and looked up to.

“and the winner is, Amanda Linehan”…..
I just froze in my seat, how the hell have I won this competition against hundreds of others! me? the nobody hairdresser?


Step Up and Shine

Amanda on the night of winning Step Up and Shine


My year ahead begun with meeting Debbie Gee in her salon, Billi Currie, in London. She helped get me in contact with some of the top leading names in hairdressing and I had a whole year ahead of education booked

My first course was with Edward Hemmings at the GHD studios in Soho for his presentation skills. This was pretty scary but gave me so much confidence and kickstarted my year off perfectly. I also did a one to one cutting course with Andrew Heasman at the Rush academy, colour training with Georgia Bell at her salon in Rotherham, session styling course with Luke Benson and colour courses at the Loreal real academy in Hammersmith, London.


Georgia Bell

Georgia Bell and Amanda Linehan


Given me the confidence

I got to connect and network with so many other hairdressers and it really took me right out of my comfort zone but I feel this is just what I needed and exactly why anyone can enter this competition. Its open for hairdressers that perhaps wouldn’t normally get the opportunity or for someone who needs reminding just how great our industry really is.

At the end of the year I was invited to attend The Fellowship stage at Salon International to be interviewed about my Step Up and Shine journey. It was great to share with others my journey and I am so grateful to the opportunities and people that I have met along the way. It has given me the confidence I have long been searching for and the belief in myself that I am a good hairdresser.


Fellowship Live Lounge

Amanda on stage at Salon International


The Step Up and Shine is over now but my journey is defiantly not.

I urge anyone who thinks that they are not good enough to put that behind you and give it a shot. It has changed my career and changed my life, it can yours too.

Thank you for reading, I hope I’ve inspired you to take that plunge.


Special thanks to today’s guest blogger Amanda Linehan

Follow Amanda on Instagram @amanda.linehanandco


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