Meet the UK's Coolest Creatives
Nothing is quite so impressive as women doing what they love most and making a hugely successful career out of it. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the U.K.'s diverse and ever-evolving creative industries.
London in particular is a destination long renowned as the spot where fashions, trends and movements are created and defined — rather than slavishly copied — so there is no shortage of talent in the pool of creative women pushing the boundaries of fearless individuality.
From baking to bleaching, here are five of the U.K.'s coolest creatives (and yes, all of their jobs are totally envy-inducing)...
1. Sharmadean Reid
If you're into fashion, beauty and having the most fabulous nails on the planet, there's no doubt Sharmadean Reid has been a household name to you since she first launched her hipper-than-hip nail salon, WAH Nails, in Dalston back in 2009. You may remember that year as the turning point when nails and nail art (in all stripes, colors, prints, and bedazzlements) became the latest obsession of women everywhere.
Not satisfied with taking over the U.K., Reid is working on turning WAH Nails global (a pop-up salon in Paris is coming soon), and has launched a range of polishes and products, available at Boots.
She's also all about empowering the next generation, and recently told Vogue that she's "starting a big summer school festival to teach girls career skills and business entrepreneurship." No wonder her mantra is "Sleep is for billionaires" — she's still got way too much to accomplish to stop now.
Credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for ba&sh
2. Alex Brownsell
Known as the "follicle oracle," Alex Brownsell is the woman behind every impulse you've had to model your hair after a mermaid, My Little Pony doll or dip-dyed rock chick. As the co-founder of East London's coolest hair color joint, Bleach London, along with pal and fellow hair guru Sam Teasdale, Brownsell has experimented with everything from hair stencils to checkerboard hair, rainbow roots to multicolored pastel locks.
For those who can't get to one of the Bleach salons, Brownsell has also launched a range of DIY hair colors for home use.
Credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
3. The Meringue Girls, Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman
For everyone who's ever dreamed of turning baking into a career and ditching that 9 to 5, Hoffler and O'Gorman, who met as chefs in the kitchen of the Hackney Picture House cinema before joining forces as The Meringue Girls, are proof positive that dreams can come true. Especially technicolored ones.
Known for their kaleidoscopic baked-goods creations — rainbow-hued, caramel-flavored "unicorn poo" meringues, meringue kisses in a bevy of colours and flavours like passionfruit, coconut, pistachio and rose and watermelon, marshmallow ropes and fairy floss cakes — Hoffler and O'Gorman aren't only injecting a punk vibe into their baked goods, they're using natural ingredients like edible flowers, dates and agave to do it.
The duo, beloved by the fashion world, also work as food and prop stylists. Their second cookbook, "Meringue Girls: Everything Sweet," was released last summer and features colorful recipes for jams and nut butters, fruit roll-ups, edible flower lollies, sesame seed eclairs, Eton Mess cakes and much, much more. Tasty.
Credit: The Meringue Girls: Everything Sweet, published by Penguin/Random House
4. Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap, owners of Drink, Shop & Do
If you love vintage sweets and want to learn how to make glow-in-the-dark jewelry for your next club night, enjoy your afternoon tea with a side of crafts and love to kick off your night of dancing with a round of musical bingo, then all-day café, bar, shop and club Drink, Shop & Do, in London's King's Cross, might as well be your spiritual home.
The owners of this quirky and creative spot, Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap, have been best friends since secondary school and left their day jobs to start the business as a pop-up in 2009 before launching the real deal in 2010. It's a place for your creative juices to really flow, and for you to have a laugh in the process as you enjoy Tom Hiddleston color-in sessions, build Lego robots, craft your own "Game of Thrones" family arms or learn to tie-dye.
Credit: Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap
5. Marawa Wamp
Australian-born Marawa Wamp, aka Marawa the Amazing, is truly amazing: she holds the world record for hooping with the most hula hoops at once - 200! - and performs all over the globe, along with her record-breaking hula-hooping troupe, Marawa's Majorettes.
The circus-trained hooper also teaches hooping classes and workshops, bringing energy, fun and laughter — not to mention an ab workout — to businesses and events. If you're keen to improve your own hooping skills, you can find hula hoops and more on sale at her pop-up London shop, The Hoopermarket.
Have we mentioned she holds five world records and owns three pairs of roller skates with heels? #girlcrush
Credit: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company
Credit: Marawa Wamp by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company