Health and beauty: image is key

Image guru Shelly Gilbert
Image guru Shelly Gilbert

Let’s face it, we live in a visually oriented world. Just as Mr Andy Warhol predicted, back in the 20th century, in today’s world we are all more likely to see our image displayed on a big public screen; our “15 minutes of fame”.

That image will be recorded forever; so you don’t want to blow it.

Image is everything. It may be “what’s inside” that counts, but no one will ever know what’s inside if the “package” isn’t appealing. That’s life and that is why stars advertise. Good advertising keeps the “package” appealing. The real question is, how appealing are you?

Today, our image is on display for all to see. Cameras are everywhere. You may have hidden in the past, but if you’re a “wall flower” today, it shows!

The UK public, mostly unaware, are videoed an average of 300 times in one day. It happens in shops, banks, offices, and restaurants and intersections.

“Citizen Journalists” with phone cameras make you even more likely to pop up on YouTube, Facebook or the BBC. Everybody’s a potential “star” in a bigger, sharper and clearer way.

Image is big, image is everything and image costs money; just ask someone like David Beckham how important the right image is, even in sport.

What remains a mystery is who makes it happen? Who creates the images and icons we all recognise and love on our big flat screens?

In the past, studios played their cards close and protected their beauty secrets, but now Shelly Gilbert, image guru to the world’s stars, (top advertising agency Shelly Gilbert Productions, SGP Ltd) discloses how she helped develop some of her clients’ cutting edge images; who she relies on, her treasured “Showbiz” secret.

“At the age of ten my glamorous mother introduced me to what would become a lifelong part of my ‘essential’ wardrobe. A Loucas Giorgio cut. I still have the picture of the gorgeous Elfin Look, cut to perfection.

“I was transformed and hooked even at such a tender age.

“A regular appointment led me to becoming a ‘Saturday girl’ at the age of 15, but alas I realised that my creativity did not extend to crafting with scissors.

“Instead in the mid 70s I headed for the typing pool at Granada Television. By this time Loucas was well established in Manchester as one of the top hair designers.

“As I climbed the Granada ladder, as floating secretary, PA and trainee producer, extra monies could be earned each weekend by appearing on live phone-in programmes. Loucas took this opportunity to crown me with some very glamorous styles and amazing make-up. His work ensured that the camera captured many close ups of me out of all the girls working on the phones, which swelled my bank balance.

“My final swansong was working on ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ with Laurence Olivier and Natalie Wood.

“In the early 1980s I moved into advertising, a very image conscious industry, as a TV producer. I loved my long (natural) curly locks styled, highlighted/low lighted and kept in tip top condition every week by Loucas at his ‘Team for Hair’ Salon in Manchester.

“Thirteen years at J. Walter Thompson saw me promoted from junior producer to Head of TV. I travelled extensively and collected many creative awards for craft and sound design etc. I worked alongside many ‘iconic’ celebrities, Anthony Hopkins, Joanna Lumley, Hale and Pace, Smith and Jones, David Jason, Robert Powell to name a few.

“In the late ‘80s I married for the second time and of course Loucas made me look amazing with an extremely short dark cut that sat beautifully under my Philip Somerville hat (hat maker to Princess Diana).

“In the early ‘90s I decided to set up my own film production company, a risky move especially at the start of a recession. One of my first projects was working with Eric Cantona on a Swedish football lottery campaign and for some reason this led to working on a raft of football commercials one of which was the launch of a David Beckham football computer game. The business continued to grow and this gave me the opportunity to employ the services of Loucas as hair and make-up artist on the majority of my film shoots.

“Loucas styled Denise Welch, Martin Kemp, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Ramos and countless other actors and actresses. Of course I had to make sure he had time to fit me in before the camera turned over!”

With all the resources this TV mogul had at hand - literally crews of people - her stylist of choice is right here in Todmorden, right under our noses.

Todmorden; in the limelight of quality again, being sought by advertising’s cutting edge sophisticates. Surprised? Not really. Once again the “North” trumps it with attention to detail. Our own stylist to the stars, always the last to know.

“Having just passed my late 50s (well nearer 60!) I keep fit by training three times a week, plus once with a personal trainer and eating a very healthy vegetarian diet. Fortnightly manicures and six weekly facials are also part of the regime,” she said.

“But visiting Stone in Todmorden and being greeted weekly by my very dear friend Loucas is the highlight of my week. We are led to believe that beyond our 40s we should keep our hair short to make us look younger. Don’t believe that nonsense for a moment ladies and gents.

“Each face is as different as each personality is unique. Loucas styles your hair to suit your face, personality and style.

“I have watched many a customer leave Loucas’s chair transformed from ‘ordinary’ to a ‘glamorous’ ten years younger without the need of surgery.”

I can’t wait for Shelly’s new venture, whether TV or film, especially now that I have a bit of “inside” information about where the real talent is hidden.