Boss Babe: Liz Tieu

We’re heading over the ditch for our profile on this Boss Babe! Liz Tieu is a Hairdresser and Makeup Artist, based in Sydney, who studied at the academy in 2005. Since leaving the academy and relocating to Australia, Liz has been involved with a whole host of exciting projects, including internationally known TV shows and hairdressing campaigns.

My journey with hairdressing started when I came from Vietnam to study business in Auckland, New Zealand.  Across the road from where I was studying, there was a hairdressing school –  I was always asked to be a hair model.  This opportunity launched my love for hairdressing.  I went from doing a Business Diploma, to becoming a hairdresser.

Hairdressing only became a serious career choice when I enrolled at Servilles Academy, and then progressed to work at the Servilles salons in Chancery and Mission Bay. By now my mother finally approved of my new career choice and no longer told all in Vietnam I was still finishing my business degree (mind you, having a Diploma in Business has helped tremendously with my freelance career!). 

Eurovision Australia Decides 2018 team (Liz: far right)

The teachers at Servilles Academy were amazing.  I still keep in contact with some to this day. Ally Larner, Kyla Rose, Barb Ryan, Susie Solly and Natalie Edeson (to name a few) had such a positive impact on my career.  It is important to have people care about your progress and encourage you to be out of your comfort zone, especially in our industry. Being an international student in NZ with not a big social circle was enough to put you behind with practical assessments but I was determined not to let this happen to me.  I asked strangers on the street and attended different classes to ask people to be models. Eventually, people would seek me out asking if I had any assessments so they could model for me!

I graduated from the academy with Merit.  I was Highly Recommended for the Loreal Colour Trophy and was runner up for Talent Spotting in my first year.  I had some of the best hairdressing moments at Servilles and in New Zealand.  I spent 10 years living and working in NZ, then moved (with my family) to Sydney, Australia.  I was seeking new opportunities and loved what Sydney had to offer –  I still do to this day.

After a good run with Stevie English Hair and Valonz Salon, I decided to quit working full time as a hairdresser in a salon. My freelance career took off in hairdressing, and now makeup, which was totally self-taught! As a freelancer in hair and makeup I have worked on X Factor, The Voice, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and Australia’s Got Talent.  I was Head of Department for Eurovision: Australia Decides 2018-2019, Show Me the Movie and have worked across major TV networks in Australia. 

Australia’s Got Talent

I have been involved with numerous Schwarzkopf commercials and artistic campaigns.  For De Loenzo and Matrix, I directed makeup for their hair shows at Hair Expo. I’ve done hair and makeup for events and award shows; Logies, Arias and AACTA (Actor Awards).  I have looked after international acts such as Khalid, Little Mix, Fifth Harmony and The Script.  Nationally, I continue to look after Dami Im and Sophie Monk.  My work has also been published online and in print in various magazines; Black Magazine, Factice Magazine, Women’s Weekly, Stellar, Instyle and FenHong Se.

Liz with Little Mix!
Jamie Steven and Liz

I love the fast pace and exciting jobs in the world of media and television and thrive on being busy. I work well under pressure but I also love my time in the salon and working intimately with my beautiful clients.  They have found me through my social platform (@byliztieu) and are mostly working mums and locals in my area.  

In the not too distant future, I see myself owning my own studio.  A small creative hub where my clients can relax (or work) and enjoy my hospitality. They will receive a personalised service and experience.  It’s not about owning a big salon with my name on it these days, although it was when I first started out!

My advice for aspiring hairdressers is to be humble, be eager and work hard. There are no shortcuts.  If you want to succeed, and for the dream to become a reality, don’t compare your path to others.  Everyone has their own path to follow.  You will feel much more content and will be rewarded financially if you are doing what you love your way.  I still wake up every day and ask myself if I could choose a different career, what would it be?  The answer is always the same – a Hairdresser and Makeup Artist!

Salons have changed so much over the past 10 years but given the current situation, the future of our industry will change even more! I just know, we will always be here, making people feel good.  If anything, I see this as an opportunity to differ yourself from the rest. If you give the best service and quality of work, you will come out of this situation even better than before!  There is room for everyone – whether you like to do unicorn colours only, cut only or be a blonde specialist, the choice is yours!