Hannah Stephenson catches up with celebrity hairdresser Steven Smith, to find out what really goes on behind the scenes in the world of showbiz hairdressing.

He's cut, styled and blow-dried the hair of celebrities from London to Hollywood, from Katie Price, Tamara Beckwith and Denise Welch, to John Travolta.

As an insider to the world of celebrity, Steven Smith has seen the best (and worst) of showbiz people; the drug-fuelled parties, the tantrums and the triumphs, as he rose to fame as a makeover artist during the late Nineties.

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He worked on the Lorraine Kelly show, transforming GMTV viewers into their favourite stars, even making over Lorraine herself, transforming her into movie legend Elizabeth Taylor.

But his speciality was blondes.

"I used to be known as the 'blonde transformer' and it became a joke that if you stood next to me, you'd turn blonde," he says, laughing. "I was particularly good at transforming people into blondes and doing big, glamorous hair."

Many of his showbiz anecdotes are featured in his book, It Shouldn't Happen To A Hairdresser, and actress Denise Welch, who has been a pal for more than 30 years, writes the foreword.

He's reluctant to reveal the worst celebrity he's ever styled, though.

"It very often depends on the mood they're in. I did Britt Ekland and she was just appalling. She clicked her fingers at me and asked me to tie her shoe. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I just said, 'Certainly, your majesty' and everybody in the room burst out laughing, but she didn't quite understand why it was so funny."

He also recalls his encounters with a young Katie Price, then known as Jordan, who had a foul mouth and forthright attitude, and often battled with him over her hairstyles.

"One day I did this look for her which looked like RuPaul's love child - it was so big - and she loved it. She liked big hair, not a girl-next-door, softer look."

"Katie's wonderful, amazing. She managed to take straw and spin it into gold," he continues. "She took exhibitionism and very little talent and it made her a huge star. Working with her was interesting, because you never knew who you were getting.

"There were two different personalities - one minute she would be adorable and the next minute Jordan would kick in, the exhibitionist would come out and she'd want attention."

He recalls styling Denise Van Outen's hair on numerous occasions during her early career, when she was on The Big Breakfast, only to be blanked by her at an after-show party when he went to congratulate her on her first night as Roxie Hart in Chicago in London's West End.

Another time, he recalls being asked to do the hair of some of the stars of Baywatch, including The Hoff.

"David Hasselhoff was incredibly two-faced. One minute he was calling himself a vegetarian and the next he was calling for a full English breakfast. Those people are not difficult, but they are interesting."

After working in numerous London salons, Steven spent eight years in Los Angeles, working in up-market locations including Rodeo Drive, going to celebrity parties where he'd mix with the likes of Madonna and Kelly Le Brock, and living a glamorous life.

"I blow-dried [Barbra] Streisand's hair and John Travolta's hair. I hung out with a lot of them. It was an interesting time."

He says the attitude to hairdressing in Beverly Hills was completely different to that of the UK.

"We were very technical in the UK. We were interested in the graduated bob and how the hair was going to condition. Over there, if you said to a high-profile client, 'It's going to be a graduated bob with some soft highlights', they'd go, 'What?' They just wanted to show you a picture of Flamingo Road or Dynasty, and that was what they wanted.

"There's a saying, 'It's a comb, not a wand!' They might pull a picture out of Demi Moore in Ghost and say, 'I want it cut short like that', but it was at the time that Roseanne Barr had the same haircut, and they never pulled out a picture of her."

Hairdressing has become a science now, he reflects.

"You see these girls on TOWIE and other reality shows, and the girls' hair is a coiffured masterpiece. They've got hair extensions that have been bleached within an inch of their life stuck in their head. It takes hours to put them in. Then they've got colour. The maintenance on them is unbelievable. It's become a completely different craft.

"You see The Real Housewives Of Cheshire and they've got these amazing hairdos, but all the bits and pieces take a lot of work."

Steven, who is now a part-time hairdresser, still writes on beauty and showbiz, and follows hair trends.

"A lot are going in for graduated bobs, which have made a huge comeback. Extensions are terribly popular. Women want to look as glamorous as possible."

And there is one woman whose hair he would love to cut - Theresa May.

"I'd give her hair a good razor cut, make it look a bit more approachable. If you put some lowlights in and created a softer, sexier look, more people would warm to her."

  • It Shouldn't Happen To A Hairdresser by Steven Smith is published in paperback by The Book Guild on August 28, priced £8.99.