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Caleb Alex's rise to the top has been a swift one. The 29-year-old Servilles hairdresser was named the L'Oreal Colour Trophy Supreme Hairdresser of the Year 2008 at a lavish awards ceremony in Auckland on Saturday night. When we spoke to him the morning after, the news was still sinking in. "I woke up this morning and it felt like any other day really. The realisation hasn't really hit me yet!"

As well the impressive title of New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year 2008, Alex won an all expenses paid trip to the value of $10,000, which includes a VIP visit to Paris and London, with tickets to the UK L'Oreal Professionnel Colour Trophy Awards 2009. His cute winning blonde crop - think a warmer, more accessible version of Agyness Deyn's cut - wowed the three international judges with its attention to detail and colour.

"It's short and textured ... it's versatile, classic yet playful. I think it's wearable with a little bit of a quirky edge," says Alex, who has been hairdressing with Servilles for eight years. Five of those have been at the Servilles Newmarket salon where he now works, with a fantastic team he describes as "one big happy family." Massive cheers from the team when Alex was announced Supreme Award winner were proof of that.

Peter Urlich and Petra Bagust hosted the Colour Trophy awards at the Aotea Centre in Auckland, which featured everything from a risque ringmaster, Candy Lane dancers, a live hair show featuring the three international judges, and numerous costume changes from Bagust. Servilles Newmarket had a successful night, with Gabriella Andersson winning the Au Debut Award that acknowledges first time entrants.

Servilles seems to be a breeding ground for talent, with many of the industry's top cutters and colourists originally training at the Servilles Academy. Alex credits his time there for giving him a strong foundation. "It's a complete package really... the training is fantastic, and they support you the whole way through."

His time as a hairdresser's guinea pig also helped shape his successful career.

"An old girlfriend of mine started hairdressing after we finished school and she would use me as a guinea pig - colour my hair and cut it off. I thought it looked like fun, and thought 'I could do that', and here we are - I'm still hairdressing and she's not!"

AND THE WINNERS ARE ...
Supreme Awards, NZ hairdresser of the Year: Caleb Alex, Servilles Newmarket
Runner up: Sasha Lenski, Bettjeman's
The Au Debut Award: Gabriella Andersson, Servilles Newmarket
The Young Colourist Award: Maree Thompson, Venom,
The Couleur Pour Hommes Award: Aimee Packer, Servilles Albany
The Salon of the Year Award: Bettjeman's Auckland
People's Choice Award: Ashlee Coombes, Ainsley's Hair Design
Photographer's Award: Jason Davies, Hairworld
Hairdressing Magazine Award: Ashlee Coombes, Ainsley's Hair Design
Fashion Magazine Award: Rachel Pope, Me