Who is Steven Smith?
Steven Smith was born in Coatbridge in Scotland. He was brought up in Whitley Bay, before briefly moving to London, followed by the seaside town of Brighton. It was in Brighton that he was first discovered his hairdressing skills. Steven later spent eight years living in the US and working in Beverly Hills. On his return to London in the late 90s, he started work in fashionable Knightsbridge, where he rose to fame.
Among his celebrity clientele, he has styled model Katie Price, actress Denise Welch, David Hasselhoff, and the cast of Baywatch. Steven had his own column in The Sun newspaper advising hair and beauty. He was a regular on the Lorraine Kelly show, transforming GMTV viewers into their favourite stars.
He completed a makeover for Lorraine herself, transforming her into movie legend Elizabeth Taylor. Steven has been a freelance writer and PR for the last ten years, combining showbiz interviews and travel with his eye for styling. His work has been published all over the world. He now lives in London.
How has Steven you got involved with Anna Kennedy Online?
You do not need to have a family member living with autism to be affected by the stories and experiences of people with autism. To get involved in such a worthwhile campaign, you just need empathy and drive to make a difference. I was honoured to judge ‘Wear It for Autism’, an event where we gave people fashion makeovers as a reward for outstanding achievement. Having judged many competitions in my time, you would think this would be an easy task. In reality, however, I was in tears after reading just two of the stories. What was highlighted in particular was the bullying of those who came under the umbrella of autism spectrum condition; it was horrifying. Of course, I wanted to help.
In honesty, I do not have any biological family members with autism, but I now have a big family in Anna Kennedy Online. It has been five years since I became a patron and spearheading sponsorship and celebrity backing has been part of my role. I look forward to working with and helping the various acts at Autism Got Talent each year. Many of the people in this outstanding community have become firm friends. I was chatting to OJ, one of last year’s acts, on their birthday. OJ is gender-neutral and bravely came out to their family at 14. They are among so many of the friends that have affected my life.
How do you relax?
Finding time to relax is so important, else you risk burnout. I am well aware of how hard it is for families caring for those living with autism, but if you do not stop and take ten minutes for yourself, you won’t be able to keep going. Mindfulness can help; it involves acceptance. I pay attention to my thoughts and feelings without judging them – without believing, for instance, that there’s a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to think or feel in a given moment. Yoga and going to the gym are two of my favourite escapes.
‘I’m a Celebrity’ is on TV – do you watch it?
It is amazing how what we see as escapism can, in fact, educate and do more for causes that we can imagine. Anne Hegerty, the amazing brain from The Chase, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2005. Being on the show last year gave her a platform to explain her life and educate so many on the subject of Asperger.
We have many LGBTQ performers in Autism Got Talent who are on the spectrum, so this year I am hoping that Caitlyn Jenner will promote trans education. Diversity on these shows breaks down barriers and alleviates any fears when you come face to face with what is seen as different to the public.