It wasn’t quite the celebrations we know and love, but it would take a lot more than a global pandemic to stop the LGBTQ+ community and all supporters from celebrating, especially on the 50-year anniversary of PRIDE. Celebrity hairdresser Louis Byrne collaborated with the Unity Academy for his empowerment movement ‘I Can I Am I Will’ (ICIAIW) to make a statement full of richness, colour and diversity for PRIDE 2020 by highlighting the positive impact of hairdressing on people’s lives.
Skills, wellness and creativity
For a generation facing rising mental health issues and pressures from social media, self-empowerment and positivity is more important than ever. Not to mention the ever-present homophobic rhetoric that exists. Under I Can I Am I Will, Louis Byrne seeks to use his social presence as a platform to promote powerful stories of self-acceptance, while connecting creativity to wellness. By visiting the school, Louis sought to connect and bond with students through honest chatting, gaining an insight into their personalities and individual journeys. Of course, keeping to the backdrop of hair and beauty. ICIAIW promotes the benefits of sharing your experiences with others, conveying how from negativity and pain, positivity can flourish. The project encourages people to look inwards; oftentimes when you look within, you can rediscover your purpose in life.
It is this powerful message that Louis wanted to share with students – young adults at the very start of their professional life, many of whom have experienced social isolation or exclusion. Louis urges hairdressers to turn client appointments into positivity sessions! ”To be skilled and to be well equals creativity; this is my message” he says. Conversation and exchange on wellness issues is a way to support your clients and build confidence and trust. A win win proposition we feel!
Following the talk, one student has chosen to follow the same course as Louis at college when they graduate from Unity. In addition to this, the ICIAIW movement has featured 5 members of the LGBTQ+ Community and their incredible stories online, along-side a gallery of stunning images. These members include Trans Activist – Lara Brash, Award-winning Filmmaker and Photographer – Jess Kohl, Artist – Sanitago Joa Quin, Subculture and nightlife Royalty – Princess Julia and Dancer – Andre Wilson. To see them and find more about the campaign, head to https://icaniamandiwill.com/
The Unity Academy is a forward-thinking institution who as part of their mission as educators commits to sharing important, life-affirming messages with their learners. They give them the tools to go out into the world as confident, proud and high-achieving young adults, particularly through their commitment to diversity and equality. Bravo! Keep the good work, educators!
“It was such an honour to be able to share ICIAIW with the Unity Academy’ says Louis. ‘I believe in an honest and open dialogue and these students had a real emotional maturity; this made sharing my story feel impactful and beneficial. It was important to share my journey of self-discovery, and how hairdressing has not only been the constant in my life but had also provided an inclusive and safe environment for me to discover who I am. Hairdressing has always been my stabiliser, it is how I express who I am and what I am about and to share this with the students and the staff was a proud moment. The ICIAIW movement is about expression and growth; a chance to grow as a person and to expand and share whilst bringing people together.”
We had a great and very imformative chat with Louis via Facebook Live, where he talked us through his life- changing experiences and his ICIAIW initiative; watch it HERE.
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