Gina Akers 2003

Course studied:
Business and Management

An established beauty and lifestyle journalist, a salon business owner and works in PR, publicity and event management projects.

Gina Akers

What made you choose Brookes as a place to study?

Brookes was my first choice of University because it provided the flexibility I needed. I was able to do a ‘top up year’ from a HND Business course in order to achieve my degree. I commuted to Oxford to attend my lectures and found the arrangements of study fitted in perfectly with my lifestyle and other commitments. Brookes also has a wonderful inclusive and community atmosphere, I felt comfortable and at ease the first time I visited and just knew it was the University for me.

What did you think of the courses you studied at Brookes?

I really enjoyed studying for my Business and Management degree at Brookes. There were mandatory modules but also a good range of optional modules allowing me to focus on areas that were of most interest to me and that would be most useful for my career path. Learning knowledge of financial planning, business planning and how to monitor finances was extremely helpful for my future work as I launched my own start-up business the following year after completing my degree.

What were the best bits of studying at Brookes?

I loved the Wheatley campus in its rural setting; in fact all of Oxford is in a rural setting! It’s a big city with everything you would expect from a big city but surrounded with the best of English countryside. I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from all over world that were also studying at Brookes.

After graduating from Brookes what were the next steps in your career?

I was already writing for professional trade and industry magazines for the hair and beauty industries. I had been featuring on radio as a beauty and fashion expert for some time and then not long after graduating, I found myself in a Channel 4 TV show ‘The Salon’. I’m sure my credentials from studying at Oxford Brookes must have helped secure my role in the show.

From this I went on to become an established beauty and lifestyle journalist, a salon business owner and work in PR, publicity and event management projects. I have also worked in radio production, as well as presenting on TV.

Recently I have become an Ambassador and Consumer Champion for The Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA), who are the government approved standards setting body for the hair, beauty, nails and spa industries. HABIA creates the standards that form the basis of all qualifications in these industries.

My TV presenting experiences include live shows on shopping TV, live TV features as a beauty and image expert on ITV’s This Morning, also reporting on celebrity image and fashion for SKY News. I've also become experienced in radio including expert features on BBC radio and LBC radio. I have been an expert consultant to Discovery Health's Fakeover series (which was my own TV show idea they commissioned), BBC Radio One Newsbeat, Sky One, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

I have also been the Resident Beauty and Image Expert for several radio stations and currently co-present and produce a live drive time radio show. I was the first person ever to be awarded CPD accreditation from The Hair & Beauty Industry Authority for Beauty Therapy and also the first person to receive the same award for Hairdressing. I studied to become a qualified Further and Adult Education Lecturer and an NVQ Assessor and I'm now thought of as one of the UK's most qualified beauty and image experts.

What so far have been the most challenging moments?

Starting a beauty salon business by myself from scratch was certainly the most challenging thing I have ever experienced in my life.