“Where do you see yourself in five years?” Cape-town hairstylist, Marchay Linderoth was asked by her then employer. ‘To be honest, I won’t be working for you’. At the age of 21, Linderoth knew that she didn’t want to be confined to the salon forever and by her 25th birthday, she had resigned to pursue set-life. While she still does in-salon work at her space at the Red Rum Culture Club, she is spending even more time amplifying her artistic vision as a freelancer. Although Linderoth has only been freelancing for two years, her colourful and edgy style has already garnered her collaborations with brands such as Adidas and FILA, to mention a few. From film and video sets to editorial spreads, this South-African stylist is redefining the hairstyling game in her own authentic way. We find out a little more about this fast-rising, Cape Town creative:
You’re in your mid-twenties and already have eight years of hairstyling under your clippers. How were you so sure it was the career for you?
I have always loved playing with hair. I used to cut people’s hair in high school, give them bangs or bobs. And even as a child I would play with my mum’s hair, giving her wacky styles. I guess the interest has just always been there. But I never really thought of it as a career. I’m going to be brutally honest. When I was in high school I was lazy and when I was in the 12th grade needed something easy I could do after graduating [She adds laughing]. Beauty was the first thing that came to mind and I just followed my gut. I guess I made the right decision.
Professionally trained or self-taught?
I studied hairstyling at College of Cape Town for three years. I did hair before that, but that was obviously me pursuing areas interest on my own, teaching myself. I graduated when I was 20 years old and I’ve been working professionally since then. Although I’m self-taught when it comes to makeup. I do makeup on the side as my add-on because it’s easier to get a job booked when you can do both. I think that not knowing can be a hairstylist’s biggest handicap in the industry.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
In terms of colour, Guy Tang. Then there’s Sophia Hilton who owns a salon in the UK called ‘Not Another Salon’. Everything about her look, her employees and the hair that she does is amazing. She’s a real inspiration for what she does, and I’ve learnt a lot of my technique from following her career.
It’s very rewarding that my art is being displayed on a physical being. Even more so when someone can spot my work without being told its mine.
Colour is part of your signature, why is it so important to you?
It’s a source of expression for me and the clients. It’s like when an artist sits in from of a blank canvas to create something new. I feel the same. It’s very rewarding that my art is being displayed on a physical being. Even more so when someone can spot my work without being told its mine.
You’ve only been freelancing for two years, yet you’re landing big campaigns. How are you doing it?
I won’t lie to you, I don’t even know! I’m horrible at the social media thing when it comes to promoting my work and such. I need to step my game up. But I’ve made good relationships with producers in the industry. I’ve managed to build strong networks and I’ve worked extremely hard to get my name out there without making it seem like I need the job. I also think that people pick up on things, seen my work or word of mouth, which has helped me as well. I believe it’s because the industry is so close that when you need someone, you will always get a recommendation and I just so happen to be the person that is endorsed. Which, if you think about it, is quite endearing because it’s my work being valued.
How important is it for you to be a part of unconventional shoots such as the spread for King Kong Magazine?
The King Kong shoots was one of my favourites! Although I do some jobs for exposure while some are for cash, sometimes I do work because I love the project and I stand for what it’s about. I do believe that there are messages behind certain campaigns or shoots that drive me more than the pay check. As a person, I feel like I’m not a cookie cutter, type of girl. I’m a little ‘cuckoo in the head’ but if I can let that show in my work, it makes me happier.
That’s a hard one because I’ve already worked with so many amazing people. For example, producer Allison Swank when I’m in Joburg and when I’m in Cape Town, Gabrielle Kannemeyer. These are just some of the very strong women in the industry that I enjoy working with. I have set my sights on working with Vogue, it’s one of the goals at the top of my list. But in terms of a brand or a company, give me anything, I’ll take it up. I’m not afraid of challenges, I’m here for that.
Speaking about challenges, what downsides have you encountered especially when free-lancing.
It’s always been the neglect that has been my biggest struggle. In an industry where there are 15 people or more on set, who is at the bottom of the food chain? It’s not the model, producer or the photographer. It’s hair and makeup. People tend to forget that your project doesn’t look as beautiful as it does without a truly strong hair and makeup team. When it comes to pay, it’s almost like you’re an afterthought in the production budget.
Why do you think that hair stylist and MUAs are regarded in that light?
If I had the answer it would also give me peace of mind. But I think it’s because hair and makeup are viewed as add-ons. Like it’s an extra cost or expense, it’s not seen as part of the process. Not all projects are like this, don’t get me wrong. But it happens a lot behind the scenes.
What is your latest obsession?
Laying down edges. I could lay your edges down in 10 different ways. When I’m on set, I’m always insisting on two or three different hairstyles even though they’re trying to stick to one. For the last three months I have also been dying a lot of short, natural hair. My biggest reward is when someone tells me that they feel so much more comfortable and beautiful that they haven’t worn a beanie in months.
What colours are trending for the second half of 2018 and which need to stop?
People who are more experimental with their colour are still doing a lot of pinks and purples, but on a natural scale, shades of red is definitely coming in. The grey hair trend needs to be put to rest. Instead of going grey, look into opal.
What’s lined up for you?
There’s a personal project I’m working with Gabrielle Kannemeyer that’s personal and low key. It’s something that I’m looking forward to because people forget that coloured heritage is story on its own. The project is basically a reflection of how we grew up, so it’s nostalgic, funny and beautiful. its everything in one. Other than that, you’ll just have to wait and see.