A Middlesbrough hair stylist has won a national styling competition, beating off thousands of other salons.

Kelly Rowney, who own Tate Hair in Middlesbrough, saw off tough competition from across the country at the L’Oreal Colour Trophy grand finals in London coming first place in the afro award category.

She had to impress the judges through three rounds of the competition, a photo round, and the live semi-finals and final where she had to cut, colour and style a model’s hair live on stage to take home the gong.

Kelly said: “It just felt like the right point in my career to enter. It was my first time entering and to win is amazing.

“It was lockdown that made me do it. It made me think that I have always put everything into the business and working. I thought it was time for me to do my own thing and enter the competition and do something I enjoy.

“You have to cut and colour on stage in front of the judges while they ask how you created the look and why you think it is current.

“It was quite daunting, but I knew it was good and the model looked great, she was lovely.

“To win was unbelievable, I was in shock but I just felt really proud of myself.”

Kelly was the only Northern salon in her category and saw off three hairdressers from London and one from Tunbridge Wells.

She even overcame last week’s train strikes which forced her to fly to London for the event at the Battersea Evolution Centre, after her train was cancelled.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Kelly from Tate Hair with her model Jay. Picture: KELLY ROWNEYKelly from Tate Hair with her model Jay. Picture: KELLY ROWNEY

Kelly added: “My train got cancelled two days before the competition because of the strikes so we had to book flights and fly into Heathrow instead. It wasn’t the stress I needed.”

Now an award-winning stylist, Kelly gets to travel to Paris with L’Oreal next month for a shoot for Hairdressers Journal, an industry magazine which gets delivered to salons across the country.