Heat's Stylist Ellen Kerry didn't go down the traditional route to get her jammy job tarting up dozens of celebs (that's her, above, second right, with two colleagues and, believe it or not, Alan Carr!).
"After leaving school, I did a two year performing arts course which helped my confidence levels," she told us. "I loved the costume design element of the course so much that I then did a two year design and clothing manufacture course where I learned how to make pockets and draw naked people. I fell into waitressing during this time, found that I was surprisingly good at it and ended up in management and training. After a few years I had a mad moment where I decided I could totally be a lawyer and started a Law and Criminology degree. After spending most of my lectures doodling fashion illustrations I realised wearing a grey suit and arguing in a courtroom probably wasn't what I wanted to do forever so I hopped on a Fashion and PR degree in London, got an internship at Heat in my second year, was offered a job halfway through the internship and accepted!"
Obviously, Ellen's fashion training was hugely relevant to the job she's doing now, but she also thinks that her years working in restaurants taught her invaluable skills. We asked her to explain how being able to take the heat got her an actual job at heat (kitchen-related joke - clever, huh?)...
1. She built up stamina
"You’ll rarely see a stylist tottering around in six inch heels, flashing a gorgeous manicure. We need Supergas like we need oxygen and polished nails get chipped the moment I step in a studio. It’s not unheard of to spend four hours running around Oxford Street prepping a shoot and another six hours on the shoot dressing, steaming, styling and adjusting. Me and my feet were well prepared for this life thanks to the 10 years I spent working in restaurants where a 12-hour shift with just an hour off was the norm."
2. She learned to deal with rudeness
"As a restaurant manager I’d often have to deal with a snarly customer. Whether their meal had arrived late or they’d found a suspicious hair, their fury was directed at me. I learnt very quickly to be calm, patient and listen before finding a solution. This experience has been invaluable when dealing with the few difficult celebrities I’ve had contact with. I know it’s not personal; I’m just the person they’re venting at. And now I have a bag of magical solutions to appease them. Spanx, anyone?"
3. She's not afraid of the grot factor
"If you’re afraid of getting your mitts dirty, you’re going to get nowhere in this industry. I once had to tuck a female celeb’s pubic hairs back into her leotard on a shoot. Cleaning up vomit and other very disgusting things in restaurants gave me good steading for this."
4. She's got a multi-tasking brain
"Remembering lots of different orders was hugely important when waitressing otherwise the pooh would hit the fan. I’ve found that details of a shoot can change so much, it’s vital you remember the important things. I was taught to expect the unexpected in restaurants. As a stylist at Heat every week is very different. I might be dressing Alan Carr as a heavily tanned bodybuilding Jodie Marsh or interpreting the latest trends on a model."
5. She's always one step ahead
"We were taught to CAYG (clean as you go, acronym fans!) in the restaurants and I’ve tried to keep that motto with me at Heat. Whenever there’s a quiet minute I sort out lookbooks, clean the beauty cupboard, archive issues and make sure my expenses and returns are all up to date. Basically, my old boss Brian was right – there is always something to do!"