TAFE Queensland graduate, Teyanah Popik has won a Gold Medal at the WorldSkills Australia competition, East Coast, and been awarded a substantial scholarship that will see her accelerate her hairdressing career in Canada this year.

Teyanah obtained her qualification in hairdressing at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus and said she was first inspired by her mum – a hairdresser of 28 years – to pursue the trade.

“I grew up around hairdressing. I taught myself upstyles from watching YouTube tutorials and remember practicing on headblocks all the time,” she said.

The support of TAFE Queensland teacher Sharan Berry, whom she credits for being a driving force in her competition success and professional development, is also something she's grateful for.

“It’s been amazing to have Sharan by my side this whole time,” said Teyanah.

“Sharan is such a dedicated teacher and puts an incredible amount of work into training her students. She’s always believed in me and supported me, and is the one who encouraged me to aim high and enter the competition in the first place.”

Ms Berry, who has been a hairdressing teacher with TAFE Queensland for 20 years, is extremely proud of Teyanah and said that her wins are well deserved.

“Tey is highly committed to her craft. She really loves what she does and works very hard, and it shows in her achievements. I’m incredibly happy for her,” Ms Berry said.

Teyanah has now been working in hairdressing for six years and is currently a stylist at award-winning and internationally-renowned Brisbane hair salon, Tognini’s.

Her boss, Benni Tognini, has also been a great mentor and inspiration.

“I’ve been very lucky to receive further training under Benni,” she said.

“My passion lies in editorial and styling, working backstage on shoots, and Benni’s training and avant garde work continues to drive my skills and creativity further.”

“Now I want to branch out and go into makeup too, so I have both skills to offer.”

Before landing in Canada, Teyanah will attend a ceremony at Parliament House in Brisbane next month where she will be officially awarded the WorldSkills Scholarship. She’ll then fly to Perth in August to compete in the WorldSkills Australia national competition.

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