Dear 16-Year-Old Me: Celebrity Hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons

"You will learn to accept and love yourself and all of the things that make you different"

Each week, we chat to some of our favourite well-known people about what they’d say to their teenage self. They get open and honest about what their teens were like and share the advice they’d give for the future.

This week’s letter is from Andrew Fitzsimons. The hairstylist started out working in his field in Dublin, moving to Paris at the age of 18 to pursue his dreams. He has since worked his way to the top, becoming one of Hollywood’s top celebrity stylists. 

With celeb clients such as Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, Bella Hadid, and Lucy Hale, it’s no wonder Andrew released a haircare line with retail giant Penneys, bringing his magic touch to normal people like you and I. 

In his letter, Andrew talks about the difficult experience he had coming of age as a gay teenager in a Catholic school, his road to feeling free, and the gas advice he would share with his younger self. 

 

Dear Andrew,

As a teen you were working, working, working! You left school and started doing hair full time at 13, so most of your teens will be spent in the salon, but you wouldn’t want it any other way. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andrew Fitzsimons (@andrewfitzsimons)

To be honest, your teens aren’t going to be the best time of your life. Ireland was socially still very homophobic so you were pretty much always uncomfortable and hiding yourself for fear of ridicule or violence. You will find solace in the salon: being around women at the salon, they’ll keep you safe and make you feel accepted for the most part.

The hardest part about being a teen was probably secondary school. It was a really painful experience. The other kids made each day as difficult as they could for you because you are gay. These years were spent training yourself to not speak and keep your head down, but it doesn’t last forever! 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andrew Fitzsimons (@andrewfitzsimons)

School for you was difficult. Attending a Catholic school, you were taught that religion was co-signing the other kid’s homophobic attitudes towards you, so it really felt like both the kids in the school and the school itself was against you.

What has changed? You will leave Ireland, move to New York at 21, be around other people who had been through similar childhoods in their home town or country. You will learn to accept and love yourself and all of the things that make you different. The parts of yourself that you hid growing up actually turned out to be the parts of you that have made you successful and loved by the people in your life. 

What has not changed? You still love Madonna, only now you work with her! 😉

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andrew Fitzsimons (@andrewfitzsimons)

My biggest piece of advice to my teen self would be don’t think this moment will be forever. You will be in a safe space soon where ALL of you is accepted and valued. And…PLEASE don’t shave your eyebrows thinner with mom’s razor when you’re 14, they’ll never grow back the same,

Andrew!

READ MORE:

♥ Dear 16-Year-Old Me: Presenter Blathnaid Treacy

♥ Dear 16-Year-Old Me: Louise O’Reilly – Model And Body Positivity Activist


More