Pride Month Q&A: Meet Mykey!

To celebrate Pride Month this June, we're raising awareness and our voices in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. We had a wonderful chat with Melbourne Hair Salon owner and Manic Panic ambassador Mykey, to learn about his journey and how he has created such a successful Melbourne brand and business.

Get the Tim Tams ready as Mykey spills the tea on his rainbow world and what Pride Month means to him.

Q1. What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, to have visibility. It’s for us to have our moment in the year to be heard, to celebrate the freedoms we once didn’t have and to stand united against homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, intersexphobia and any kind of queer phobias around how we identify or who we are. For me pride has never meant more after experiencing homophobia, which makes me remember how the stonewall riots were a thing, and a stand against the law to legalise cross-dressing, to legalise homosexuality, and take a stand against people controlling how we live.

Q2. How will you be celebrating Pride this year?

I will be colorful every day of the month. We are also hosting some drag shows on Phillip Island at a local restaurant, which is super exciting!

Q3. Can you share with us a bit about your journey and starting your very successful business?

I started Unicorn Manes after coming home from my first 6 week trip to America. I did a “Rainbow Road Trip” with Manic Panic hair colour, fundraising for the Make a Wish foundation where I turned peoples hair into foods and landmarks of America. When I got home manic panic asked me to be an ambassador so I quit my job at the time to start Unicorn Manes. The day I quit my job I got a call from My Little Pony to work at their movie premiere and make 400 “manes” for kids to wear at the movie premiere. From there on, I rented a chair for 4 years and in the last year I’ve started Unicorn Manes salon. As the demand has grown more for unicorn hair, rainbow hair has become more and more popular. It’s been amazing to be able to create a fun and colorful space for people to come and enjoy getting their hair done and turned into a unicorn mane! I work long days and long hours and share a lot of my work on @unicorn_manes_bymykey social media. I love sharing part of my creations online too!

Q4. What are some challenges within the LGBTQIA+ community that you’ve faced throughout your journey?

I’ve been discriminated against a lot in my life. I get trolled and a lot of backlash on how colorful I am 24/7. I remember one day, I was walking back to my car after a day of work with my basket of towels, colourful, queer and happy after a fulfilling day and a truck driver turned to another truck driver and said “have you got a gun?” They both laughed, and this kind of causal and disgraceful homophobia is not okay! I stopped and said they were both disgusting for saying such a thing .

Most recently I had a neighbor with 4 other friends come and threaten to kill me in my backyard and try to beat me up because he heard I was painting my house rainbow. It was a challenge that I faced, especially 3 weeks after moving into my new home that I just bought, but the beautiful community came together and helped me paint my house rainbow and we really took a stand against homophobia.

There are challenges behind the joy but you’ve really got to stay strong and stay true to who you really are in this life, don’t back down to anyone. Stand in your pride!

Q5. What are some challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community that people may be surprised to hear about?

School bullying still existing today In 2022! Or even just having to explain ourselves to people. Most of the time people are supportive of my image being a walking rainbow but when people have to make sense of you, or understand the “why” it gets annoying. Someone once asked me what happened to my head, at a gym reception desk. Another time at a chemist, the worker asked if I had lost a bet, because of my hair. Things like this are super shady and uncalled for. 99% of the time people are supportive these days.

Q6. What has been the highlight of your career to date?

I love working at RuPaul's Dragcon. I love making wigs for Drag Queens! I guess because the LGBTQIA+ community is close to my heart and I’m passionate about being involved as much I can! Also the rainbow road trip I mentioned earlier was one of the most creatively challenging things I’ve done in my career, so to complete two of those trips and raise $37,000 for the Make A Wish foundation was really fulfilling. To go on The Today Show styling hair into a pineapple and a lobster was a good accomplishment too. It was amazing to share my creativity for charity.

Q7. What does it mean to be an ally to the community in 2022?

To support, stand by, love and appreciate the LGBTQIA+ community and be a good friend or family member to people in that community. Attend events that we put on, come to parades and prides, just let the LGBTQIA+ people in your life know you’re there for them.

Q8. What’s your favourite design from our Pride & Joy range?

I am obsessed with Elissa the Rainbow Cat! So cute!

Q9. What has been the single most helpful resource you’ve had as business owner within the LGBTQIA+ community?

Instagram and being inspired by the internet, as well as being able to share all of my hairstyles online. I believe that the internet is the reason that my work has been seen by people, shared, and appreciated. I have everyone to thank for appreciating the art that I do everyday, it means the world to me that people appreciate/see it and I’m forever grateful.

Q10. What are your hopes and dreams for Unicorn Manes by Mykey now that you’ve opened your salon?

I want to provide a space where everyone feels happy and comfortable. They walk out feeling as though they’ve had a good experience or they’re more them selves with the hair that they’ve come out with…. I couldn’t ask for more than that. One day, I might turn Unicorn Manes into a mobile salon and travel around Australia, bringing rainbow hair to everyone around the country where unicorn hair isn’t as accessible! That’s a dream I have for the salon but for now I love being in Melbourne and I am happy with the work crew and people that rent chairs in the space and we are all on a positive vibe and frequency! I love my job and I have opened my dream salon so I would die tomorrow happy… thanks for tuning in!

A huge thank you to Mykey for sitting down with us to talk about all things Pride and Rainbow. It's so inspiring to hear about his journey in business and in life. Please show Mykey some love and follow him on Instagram here.

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