Lenard Johnston, originally from Te Kopuru, never let his small town beginnings get in the way of big dreams and has won Hairdresser of the Year and New Zealand’s Mens stylist of the year at the 2018 Industry Awards.
Lenard has been a finalist every year since 2012, and the industry awards celebrate the best in business and training in the barbering, beauty and hairdressing industries.
“Follow your dreams, look for any opportunities you can and go for it. Just because you live in a rural area doesn’t mean that you can’t have the same opportunities as those in the city, but you really need to have a passion for it, because it’s hard work, long hours — it’s not as glamorous as people think,” he says.
Lenard was born and raised in Te Kopuru, and he and his siblings attended Te Kopuru Primary School.
At 18 he moved to Auckland to pursue his hairdressing dream and once he finished his apprenticeship, moved to London and then New York. He now lives in Auckland.
He says he was interested in hairstyling from a very young age and used to love watching his mother do her hair.
“She always used to set her hair in plastic rollers, put a hairnet on and go to bed. It just fascinated me.
Also, my sister used to cut my hair, and I hated it because I never got what I asked for.” Industry judges commented his men’s collection was:
“The whole package, great hair and amazing fashion,” whilst it was his “great mix of hairdressing skills shown in the collection,” that won him the overall hairdresser of the