'I saved client from abusive marriage', says TV hairdresser
Dublin hairdresser Stephanie Maher has become something of an agony aunt to her clients.
The Tallaght woman stars on RTE2's new series Salon Confidential, which follows the relationships hairdressers build with their customers.
Stephanie admitted she has heard "some mad stuff" over her years in the business, including one woman who credits her with helping her get out of an abusive relationship.
"Sometimes it's stuff you don't want to hear, because you wouldn't be equipped to deal with it. But I try my best," said Stephanie.
"I had a client a few years ago, she was in a relationship with a seriously abusive partner and she started telling me about it.
"I said, 'without getting involved here, I think you're in a really bad domestic relationship'."
Stephanie grew close to the woman over time and was soon giving her help to get herself away from her abusive partner.
"Over the course of time, while I was doing her colour, we got really close," she said.
"I was giving her numbers of places she could call and she actually left him. After that, she'd come in after and tell all my other clients, 'she helped me leave my husband'."
She sometimes feels like a counsellor and is always careful about the advice she gives to clients who are going through a tough time.
"When someone is sitting there relaxed, they tell you everything," she said.
"You're not just a hairdresser, you're a counsellor.
"People talk about everything, from a cheating husband, to a friend who is after their partner, to troubles with kids.
"You have to be quite diplomatic in what you say. You don't want to give terrible advice.
"Life is very tough, especially the times we're living in now. Everyone has problems.
"I try to tell people that you're not on your own. Everyone feels the same.
"I have two kids I'm bringing up myself as a single mother. I identify with them, listen to the clients, and give them good hair at the same time."
Stephanie, who works in the Red Velvet salon in Crumlin, knew she would be totally herself when she signed up to do the show.
Mum to Devon (9) and Eddie (6), she revealed she has been open about her relationships and being a single mum on the series.
"I knew that if I was going in to do the show, I was going to be real. I'm very honest, very black and white," Stephanie said.
"I talk about my dating experience, about being a mother, the things that have happened to me over the years.
"I want to show people that you're not on your own," she added.
Salon Confidential airs over four episodes on RTE2 and will follow Stephanie and five other hairdressers and their clients.
It premieres tonight at 10pm.