Work Hard

Sunday sit-down with… Sammyjo Pearson

We caught up with Newcastle’s famous hairdresser about her journey creating her super hair salon, Longlox, and what we can expect on Series 3 of her hit TV show, BBC Three’s Angels of the North.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 29.10.2021

She’s Newcastle’s most famous hairdresser, the owner of a super salon and is a regular on our TV screens with her BBC Three programme, Angels of the North. But what’s life really like for Sammyjo Pearson?

Angels of the North steps inside Longlox – Sammyjo’s gloriously Instagramble Gateshead salon – where we follow the action and banter of Sammyjo, her ‘mamager’ Bev and their gang of cherub stylists on the salon floor, as well as out of hours. Think big hair, big personalities and lots of drama, but not without the usual Geordie humour sprinkled in there along the way.

Series 3 is expected to be bigger and better than ever and, as it launches tonight, we thought what better time to catch up with Sammyjo to recap on her journey so far…

It’s no surprise that Sammyjo’s love for hair grew from styling her dollies’ locks as a young girl – hence why her salon is filled with hundreds of Barbies. After always looking with awe at her mam’s hair extensions, Sammyjo jumped at the chance to sign up for her first extension course aged 15, and has never looked back.

But her positive and successful lifestyle broadcast on the programme hasn’t always been like this. When Sammyjo opened Longlox five years ago, she took on most of the roles – including manager, receptionist and hair extensionist, and was working seven days a week. Soon, she became overwhelmed and hit breaking point.

‘I was in awe of my salon that much that I didn’t want to be away from the place,’ Sammyjo tells us. ‘I was working non-stop, it just got too much. I had a mental breakdown and my mam just completely took over. I didn’t step foot in the salon after that for about eight months.’

‘I tried everything, I was going to give up, but my mam said: you haven’t worked for 15 years for nothing! I’m pleased she said that, because I wouldn’t be here today. That period made me a stronger person. I want to break the stigma around mental health by sharing my story; it feels like a weight has been lifted and I would love to help someone else if I can.’

Now working alongside her ‘mamager’ Bev and her team of young, funny and talented hair experts, Sammyjo returned to Longlox with a fighting spirit. In 2019, she was approached by Twenty Six 03 production company and her world changed forever.

‘I didn’t know what to expect,’ Sammyjo says. ‘I didn’t think it would be such a success. It feels surreal when people recognise me in a bar. I love being in my empire, seeing the girls and my mam every day. It doesn’t feel like work. I go in, see my friends and go home. My mam’s Newcastle’s version of Kris Jenner! We’re like best friends, we never argue – we’re joined at the hip.’

With Series 3 starting tonight, we continue to follow Sammyjo and her Longlox girls – but this time, we get the chance to meet the stylists’ friends and boyfriends, who are part of other successful businesses in the region.

‘In series 3, expect new faces, new staff members, a lot more drama and plenty laughs,’ Sammyjo teases. ‘It’s going to be bigger and better because I’m welcoming more of my world. So, there’s Shane Guttridge – who owns Pure Ink 3 and who I’ve known since being a kid – you’ll go behind the scenes in his Newcastle tattoo and piercing studio. Then, our hair extensionist Kallie’s boyfriend Ewan, hopes to turn pro in boxing and goes to Bilton Hall ABC Boxing Club in Jarrow, so we see a bit of his journey too.’

Angels of the North: Series 3 premieres on BBC iPlayer as an eight-part boxset on 31st October. Watch the full series here.

 Need a haircut ahead of the Christmas party season? Book your appointment by visiting Longlox’s website.

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