How an award-winning Blackley hairdresser is a role model in his community

A hairdresser from Blackley has won a top beauty award – and is becoming a role model in his community.

Callum Walker, 21, who has built his own hairdressing brand, Swarvella, has been named ‘Rising Star’ at the prestigious UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022. He placed first in the category after his fiancé entered him into the competition last year. He is waiting for his trophy and certificate from the awards to arrive in the post.

Callum told the M.E.N.: “The awards were streamed live on TV and I organised a big viewing party and had it playing on multiple screens. I had been feeling anxious about it all day, so when my name was announced in first place, I couldn’t believe it!

READ MORE: Meet the Blackley lad, 20, behind Traveller weddings’ most flamboyant hairdos

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

“The awards have changed my life. It feels absolutely amazing. The recognition means everything, it’s my life. To finally get that recognition, it’s like a plaque to put up to all the people who told me ‘you can’t do it’.

A photo of Callum Walker
Callum Walker from Blackley has won a top hairdressing award

“I am now a part of a large community where I can help other hairdressers and stylists who have questions and want to be up there with all the other finalists in the competition.”

Describing the reaction to his awards news from the Blackley community, Callum said: “My family and friends have been so supportive. My nana was quite emotional. I didn’t expect that reaction at all.

A photo of a lovely curly look on a client
A lovely curly look on a client

“It wasn’t just my family who are over the moon. Clients have been behind me and it wouldn’t be possible without them supporting me.

“A lot of my clients were watching the awards with me and they’ve been tagging me in posts and sharing the news. Neighbours have been knocking on my door to say congratulations and I’ve been sent gifts. It’s overwhelming.”

A photo of Callum and his nana
Callum and his nana

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

In October, he shared with the M.E.N. about his talent for creating bright and bold looks for Traveller weddings and the Parklife festival. Since then, he has amassed thousands of Instagram followers and has also attracted opportunities in TV.

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

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

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

I have gone a bit crazy with weddings, it’s gone absolutely wild! In November, I did a wedding in Cheshire out of the interest of a cast member from Absolutely Ascot on ITV. I have recently grown close with Vivienne Cooper from that programme and she asked me to do a wedding for a number of girls.

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

“I did about 13 girls that day. It was my first experience with clients from a TV production. It was absolutely outstanding. 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, which is from the makers of The Great British Bake Off. I t would be a dream to continue having more opportunities in TV, because I would love 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 her hair
Vivienne Cooper from ITV’s Absolutely Ascot, who invited Callum to do her hair

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

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

Callum previously opened up about his struggles a a teenager- he was kicked out of school, which was a worrying time for himself and his family. But he learned to channel his frustration into a great passion for hairdressing.

A photo of a lovely updo by Callum
A lovely updo by Callum

“The pupil referral units that helped me when I was removed from education- they have all reached out to me,” Callum said. “They’ve invited me to speak to the teenagers who are in the same situation I once was in. It’s phenomenal. I can’t get my head around it.

A photo of a fairytale look, created by Callum
A fairytale look, created by Callum

“This school really, really helped me- they even helped me with a diagnosis for mental health. People have said ‘we knew you’d do something!’ It made me very, very emotional. It’s nice to see that they all remember me and that I am still in their thoughts.”

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

Photo of Callum Walker
Callum has been named ‘Rising Star’ at the UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022

He added: “I have actually had a lot of people projecting their interest in me starting up a training academy. It’s quite a frequent thing that keeps being brought up. I would love to keep pushing my business as much as I can. A lot of people are encouraging me to do things like this. It will happen when it happens.”

Follow Callum’s brand Swarvella on Facebook and Instagram and view his beauty tutorials on YouTube.

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