Kirby’s intimate High Tea with Hair Goddess Renya Xydis!


How lucky am I to have had such an up close and personal hang out with the woman who leads the hair industry Renya Xydis!? When I was told about the afternoon High Tea to be held in a penthouse suite at The Olsen in South Yarra with the Hair Goddess, I got myself on board as fast as possible!

I was lucky enough in 2011 to work on a Sass & Bide show at London Fashion Week with Renya directing the hair for the day. I had just arrived in the big bad city, was lacking confidence & inspiration. I didn’t get a chance to get close too Renya on the day, but just being in the same room as her turned my career around in London Town. I was only meant to stay for 12 months, but after absorbing some of her amazing energy on that day in the Royal London Opera House, my career in the London took me on an exciting 3 year journey!

But anyway, back to the High Tea Goss! On Tuesday, I arrived at The Olsen 1pm, was handed a delicious glass of champagne, given a big kiss & cuddle from Renya (star struck much?!), had a quick photo and then got to mingle with the other 20 or so guest before getting down to business. Cloud Nine Creative Director Lauren McCowan was the host for the day, which was  great because she & Renya have such a relaxed, organic, fun, friendship, so their banter was super chilled & free flowing which helped everyone to relaxed quite quickly.

The High Tea went for 2 hours (the food and bubbles were delicious by the way!), there was a run sheet to give the discussion some direction but you wouldn’t have noticed. The conversation was relaxed, free, funny, insightful & inspiring. We were all able to jump in & ask questions at any point and Renya answered them with warmth and sincerity. You would expect someone who works with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Jackman (just to name a few) to have a bit of an ego or arrogance about them… but not Renya! I was so pleasantly surprised with her realness about her business, her family, her team, her international editorial work & her involvement at international Fashion Weeks. She gave so much of her time & energy to each guest individually and made us all feel so welcomed. I was really impressed to hear how close she is to so many other successful Hairstylists and the relationship she has managed to maintain with them over her career. Our industry can be plagued with ego & competitive nature a lot of the time, so to see someone who is leading our industry have such beautiful friendships with so many hairdressers all over the world is incredible… she is leading by a great example!


A conversation I was lucky to have with her 1 on 1 at the end of the High Tea really gave me a boost of confidence in so many aspects of my career. I love that she has the ability to make people feel like they can take over the world and achieve their dreams without disrespecting anyone on the way there.

If any hairdressers (or anyone wanting to be inspired for that matter!) haven’t had the chance to get up close & personal with this amazing woman & the opportunity comes up, TAKE IT! It was one of the most beneficial events I have attended in my career… Thanks Haircare Australia for Hosting & giving me such a sweet Goodie bag full of treats to take home!

Love, Kirby X




This week, I wanted to introduce everyone to one of the biggest shining stars in the hair industry, Melvin Royce Lane. Many of the hair lovers out there will already be familiar with MRL and his work (..and his sass!) but he’s incredibly humble and the last person to ever bignote any success that he reaches (for which there’s a lot of!!) so I wanted to step in and shine a light on what makes this creative fashionista (and fellow Capricorn!!) tick.

Firstly, a little background story on Melvin..

So, Kirby and I have been working alongside Melvin on the floor at Edwards & Co for around the past 2 years. He’s my Go-To guy when I want to brainstorm a look for an upcoming shoot, or if there’s a technique I want to achieve that I want to get my head around…and we’ve both been known to gush over different types of textures or finishing techniques that one and other have been working on.. he just gets it!!
On the floor he’s technical and precise with his work but it always has a beautiful softness about it, and he’s really well known for his incredible pastels, silvery greys and icy cool blondes. He’s also probably the busiest guy I know, currently juggling his clients in Melbourne with flying to Sydney bi-weekly to be the co-director of hair on this seasons Australia’s Next Top Model!! Phew!! So without further ado, may I present:

The one and only, Melvin Royce Lane 👏🏻

Melvin! Thanks for taking the time out of your ridic schedule to answer my questions for The Loop! I’ll start with an easy intro-

Describe yourself in 5 words:


Can you tell us what drew you to the industry? Did you always think you’d end up doing hair, and what would you be doing if you WERENT?

-To be perfectly honest hairdressing was never in the cards. I’ve always wanted to work in fashion but as a teen i landed a job as front of house for a local salon back home in NZ i used to be repulse in the idea of touching someone elses hair. (to a point that i would gag!) I ended up in fashion school and at the same time on the weekends would work in the salon answering calls and booking appointments. Then one day i was asked to be a dresser at NZ fashion week and i was in my element getting the models ready backstage in their outfits and ready to go on the runway. Then on my last day i accidentally walked into hair and makeup and i saw this whole NEW WORLD. I was in complete awe the hype, the rush and magic that happens in transforming one model into a character. I was hooked! I said to myself THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO! so i left fashion school and went full-time into Hairdressing at the salon i was working for, but i wanted more i was hungry to learn everything! So i moved my sassy ass to Melbourne and trained with some of Australia’s top hairdressers to really perfect my craft. To this day I’m still learning and perfecting every single thing that i do. If i wasn’t a hairdresser i would probably be working in fashion, partying every night! But now I’m a hairdresser and party on most days hahaha.

I get asked this a lot and I find the answer fluctuates, but what’s your favourite thing to do to hair? Styling/color/cutting?

-I was trained to be a cutter/stylist and it was something i have build my career on, colour is something i learnt later on. I used to get jealous in seeing stylist who would cut and colour their client. So i set my self a goal and that was to colour. once i understood it, I wanted more it was like a drug or a new toy i wanted to keep playing with colour. Then i understood that a beautiful colour is never achieved unless it had been cut beautifully. So i don’t have a favourite I physically have to eat and breathe both or else i get bored.

You’ve had an amazing career so far, what stands out as being your career highlight?

-Oh gosh if I had to pick one it would be the FAME team!! (Yassss KWEEENS) mainly because it showed me a whole different world of hairdressing. I learnt from the worlds top hairdressers in London, Paris, Veitnam and Australia. That has lead me to work with incredible product companies and now as Education Ambasador for ELEVEN Australia. The FAME Team was an incredible platform to sass up my career path.

You were recently on the F.A.M.E team (for non industry peeps, this is a huuuuge deal which means he got worldwide travel, mentoring and recognition for being one of the Ones To Watch)…what’s some of the best things you learnt from being a part of the team?

-That old saying “There is no I in Team!” Let me tell you it’s for reals! Working together you can’t just think about your end result when working on a look, you have to work together to create the looks but still be able to show your identity as an artist in front of thousands of people who constantly are watching you and mentors who expect a certain level of craft. But the biggest thing I learnt from working within a team is communication. Take the time to listen to your team members and to understand them you’ll then see that your end results become phenomenal when you are all in the same page.

And from that, Who have become your biggest mentors in the industry?

-I’ve been very lucky to have been mentored by incredible world renown hairdressers. But there’s is one woman who has thought me more than hairdressing. Leesa Smith (The hair industry’s go to for anything creative mentorship) who was my mentor during my time on the FAME Team. She showed me to really believe in myself and to never be afraid of who you are as a person. Show the world who you truly are show them how sassy you can be and the biggest things she taught me is that I don’t need someone else’s approval, you are your own person and your responsible for your life.

Its obvious that you love your work, and style in general.. where do you look for your inspiration?

-It sounds cliché but everything inspires me. Sitting at a cafe and watching people walk past or my morning commute to work. Watching my team mates at Edwards and Co, we all produce such stunning work and that really inspires me I’m constantly watching everyone i get a kick out of how a woman carries herself, the way she holds her purse or the way she puts on a coat it sounds creepy but when i see a woman with so much confidence i immediately think about how i can change her hair to suit her. Instagram and Pinterest are my go to if i need references but i try and limit that as i think you end up fixated on a look that you find and you end up emulating it. Collaborating is another way i get inspired i love working with other creatives wether it be another hairdresser, or makeup artist, photographer, stylist, interior designer, architect and even a furniture designer which my partner is he continues to inspire me everyday (he’s very good with he’s hands) and our house has a collection of mid-century design books and furniture they’re great as references cause it makes me think outside my hair bubble.

Whether it be on set for an editorial or in salon, what do you think about when you’re creating a look?

-When I’m creating a look the first thing i think about is how the heck am i going to make this sassy face even sassier! Its all about the shape, the texture and silhouette when it comes to my editorial work. but in the salon the most important thing is suitability you can create a stunning colour or a carve a stunning haircut but if it doesn’t enhance their face shape, skin tone or eye colour then forget about it!

You seem pretty unstoppable at the moment, I wanna know what are your goals for the near future? (*cue Alicia Keys Empire State of Mind* .. New York is calling if you ask me!!!) what’s next for MRL??

-Whats next for me? A bloody holiday! hahaha for reals i’d love to do more travelling overseas continue educating as i feel you learn more when inspiring others, shoot more editorials the main thing for me is to keep pushing forward *cough* NEW YORK, PARIS, LONDON, MILAN* *cough*
I’m sure everyone has been trying hard to get the goss (and I know you’ve signed contract to stay tight-lipped) but what can you tell us about ANTM? ie, what’s it like to be a part of such a hit tv show!!

What’s a normal day on set like?
A normal day sometimes starts at 4am (coffee stat) Hair, makeup and the fashion stylist have a quick chat about the looks then its GO GO GO! The hair team has 45 mins to do all the girls which actually means 10 mins, I’m very lucky to have an incredible team that ELEVEN Australia and Joey Scandizzo has hand picked. They work so hard which makes my life easier, which means everyone is happy, and its even better when you have two hair directors so myself and Rachel Vitullo cause it means i can let my hair down for a bit and she can handle the fort while i have some coffee. Then theres the waiting and LOTS OF IT! while the girls are being filmed we wait until we are called to do touch ups then the day wraps either at 6pm or sometimes late at night.

what’s the hardest thing about it?
The hardest thing is TIME you have to work quick. The hair looks are sent to myself, Joey Scandizzo (Co-creative Director of Eleven Australia) and Amy Forrest (Eleven Australia Brand Manager) the night before so while I’m in my hotel room I’m thinking of ways to create these looks in the least possible time then on the day the looks might change so you have to think quick.

what’s the most fun?
The most fun is the amount of creative talent you get to work with, its such an inspiring atmosphere you are constantly surrounded by some of the industries most creative beautiful people.

Aaaaand a fun one, whose hair would you most love to do?

– The one person i would love to do is Christina Aguilera hahahah she’s my ultimate primary school crush. I LOVE HER! Bring back Dirrrrty X-TINA

What’s your catchphrase?

Which 6 peeps would you invite to a dinner party at your place? Can be dead or alive!

-Alexander Mcqueen, Bowie, JLo, Erykah Badu, Salvador Dali and Tilda Swinton

Aaaaaaand last but not least, What would you spend your last $10 on? (Lemme guess, fried chicken )

-hahaha i would probably spend it on alcohol…yeah a Gin and Tonic please.