'Kourtney's my friend', says Dublin hairdresser to the stars
Hairdresser Andrew Fitzsimons has told how quitting school at 14 catapulted him to working with some of most famous women in the world.
The 29-year-old, from Ballinteer, south Dublin, has styled supermodels Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner and is now the go-to guy for the female members of the Kardashian clan.
Fresh from Costa Rica, where he joined the family on their much-publicised trip to tend to Kourtney's tresses, Andrew told the Herald it was by sheer coincidence that he began working with the Kardashians after being asked to do Kendall Jenner's hair.
He is now a close confidant of the entire family.
"Kourtney is a great friend. I see her almost every day. Kim is amazing too," he said.
Before he was mingling with the Hollywood elite, Andrew was honing his craft at home in Dublin and fighting expectations for him to stay in school and play rugby.
"When I was younger, Dublin was not the place for a young, sensitive, gay boy," he said.
"I know it's changed a lot now, and Ireland was one of the first countries to pass the gay marriage vote, and I'm very proud of that."
When he was 13, Andrew's mother got him a summer job in a salon, which went on to be the foundation of his career.
"After working in the salon for the summer, in September of second year I went back to school and I realised it was the wrong place for me," he said.
"I wanted to be out working and give myself the education I wasn't getting.
"I was happy to leave and be good at something.
"Two weeks later, at 14 years old, I made the executive decision to leave school, much to my mum's dismay.
"She made me make an agreement to take my job seriously, be responsible, work full-time and get to the top of my field.
"It's been 16 years since then and I haven't taken one sick day, and I'm still trying to reach the top of my field."
After leaving school, Andrew spent a couple of years as an apprentice and soon became popular with celebrities on home soil, including Grainne Seoige and Miriam O'Callaghan.
Despite having built up his experience as a stylist and attracting a steady clientele in Ireland, Andrew felt Dublin "wasn't the place" for him and dabbled in Paris before eventually taking the leap to the Big Apple.
"When I moved to New York, I had to start all over again. I had to start hustling. I had no money," he said.
That dedication paid off when he landed a job working with English singer Adele.
"We got on so well we p***ed our pants laughing together. It was great to talk to someone from the UK," said Andrew.