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Olympic Weightlifter Emily Campbell Talks Beauty Standards, Bashment And Box Braids In Brand-New Team GB Series

Olympic weightlifter Emily Campbell

As a stylist, Farrall – who has worked with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and Rihanna – is no stranger to providing a listening ear alongside a cut or blow-dry, but it’s not often that sports fans get to hear from their heroes in such an intimate environment.

A Cut Above provides a glimpse inside the minds of nine Team GB athletes in a rare moment of downtime amid preparations for this summer’s Olympic Games, with Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Emily Campbell the first to take to the chair.

Emily, who made history in 2021 by becoming the first-ever British woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal, chats to Lisa about why hair matters to her, the music that gets her pumped before lifting, and what was going on back home in Nottingham when she was winning her medal in Tokyo.

Known on the international circuit for her bold hairstyles, Emily is big on hair.

“If you look good, you perform good. That’s my motto, it always has been. I always think the crazier and wackier the better. No pressure for Paris!

“I love my hair and I feel like my hair is so important to me. For my hair to be slayed is number one, especially on comp day. I just love it. Hair’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

It’s a beautiful way to express yourself. I know when I get ready in the morning on a big comp day, and I’ve done my hair and my make-up, I’m ready to take on the world.”

“Everyone associates the fact that with being larger, that all of a sudden, you’re ugly. That’s definitely not what I am at all. I try to express that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”

Once her hair’s done, Emily’s next priority before competing is getting the music right.

“In my room I’m a bit more like R&B, jazz, rap, because I want to stay as chilled as possible,” she says. “Then when I’m competing that’s when it goes up.

That’s when the afrobeats and soca and bashment come on. That’s when I need to be like, full send.”

Emily also chatted to Lisa about how her family mean everything to her, and how celebrated back home in Nottingham when she was winning her historic silver medal at the last Olympic Games.

 “For Tokyo they had a party at home, and then the party got a little bit wild after I won my medal. Apparently, they ran out of food, so they had to do a restock, get the BBQ out… my dad was seasoning chicken half-drunk off his rum. It sounds like the littest party and I wasn’t even there.”

Emily walked out of the A Cut Above salon with bright red box braids and a personal plea to Team GB.

“Find the budget for Lisa to come to Paris please, it’s essential. I promise I’ll win.”

Episode one of A Cut Above goes live on Team GB’s YouTube channel on Thursday 18 January at 3 pm.

Subsequent episodes will be released fortnightly, and feature track cyclist and double Olympic champion Katie Archibald; 18-year-old world champion archer Penny Healey; two-time junior world champion high jumper Morgan Lake; Olympic champion equestrian Laura Collett; rugby sevens powerhouses Kaleem Barreto and Emma Uren; Olympic and two-time world champion swimmer Matt Richards; and taekwondo’s Bradly Sinden, who added Olympic silver to his trophy cabinet at Tokyo 2020.

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