Fourteen years ago I got a phone call from Tony Rizzo asking me to become Global President of Alternative Hair. I’ve known Tony all through my career. We both come from Southern Italian families, both started our careers with our brothers, both had salons in London’s Mayfair and have both been involved in hairdressing education. We originally met when we were in our early 20s doing hair shows together, and over the years our paths have crossed many times.
Thirty-seven years ago, Tony and Maggie Rizzo lost their first-born son, Valentino, to Leukaemia and the following year, during Salon International, Tony organised the first Alternative Hair Show as a fund-raising activity. My team and I had done the show for Tony a few times, but I’d never been closely involved in the running of the show or the charity aspect until I was asked to be the President. This was a whole new experience that has given me an insight into the power of giving.
I have to say, I am totally in awe of Tony. The energy, effort and dedication he has is relentless. What he achieves, he does with virtually no support and on the tightest budgets. Until I got involved with Alternative Hair, I never realised the time he spent organising the show each year, meeting potential sponsors, communicating with teams and just running the charity. (And let’s not forget he also heads up the Sanrizz hairdressing group!)
Over the years Tony has raised over £12.5 million for the charitable trust, Fighting Leukaemia. The charity works closely with London’s world famous Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, including support and funding research projects, but also continually supports projects in other parts of the world. Tony maintains he won’t stop raising money until the time when every child suffering from blood cancer can be cured. I believe him!
Since becoming President of Alternative Hair I’ve been on stage with Tony at every Alternative Hair Show and the TIGI Creative Team has been part of the presentation. One thing I did a few years ago, was launch the Alternative Hair Visionary Award. This is a global photographic award to identify new talent. In three categories – cut and colour, avant-garde, and men’s – around 24 finalists are invited to appear in their own section of the evening. This Award has grown hugely in popularity and this year has seen local country finals in Ireland and Taiwan.
So how can you help? Well I’d love you all to buy a ticket to this year’s Alternative Hair Show, Parody, which is on the evening of Sunday 6th October and will be held at the ICC Auditorium, Excel, London, UK. I can promise it’s a spectacular evening of inspiration, artistry and entertainment. But if you can’t attend, you can also donate to Fighting Leukaemia and help this year’s fund-raising. See more from the show on TIGI Fuse.
To find out more, donate and book tickets at www.alternativehair.org