Newport-born hairstylist wins Emmy for Downton Abbey

Key Hairstylist Adam Phillips from Newport works on the set of Downton Abbey (9437997)

Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Downton Abbey (9438005)

Adam Phillips from Newport with his Emmy Award for his "Outstanding Hairstyling" (9438021)

Dame Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess of Grantham, Downton Abbey (9438015)

(L-R) Magi Vaughn and Adam Phillips from Newport with their Emmy Awards for work on Downton Abbey (9438024)

First published in News
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South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A NEWPORT-born hair stylist has taken home an Emmy award for his work on the hit ITV series Downton Abbey.

Adam James Phillips, a former Hartridge High School pupil and Crosskeys performing arts student, won the "outstanding hairstyling" accolade at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, working under chief hair designer Magi Vaughn on series four of the show.

The Creative Emmy's, which were held on Saturday night, are dedicated to technical and behind-the-scenes TV craft.

Speaking to the Argus from Hollywood, the 32-year-old said he and Ms Vaughn were so shocked when their names were read out that at first they didn't stand up to collect their award.

"We were up against teams from Mad Men, Broadwalk Empire, The Originals and Game of Thrones, so four American heavy weights," said Mr Phillips, who trained at London's ArtsEd school and the acclaimed Ray Martson Wig Studio before working in the West End on the likes of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Kiss Me Kate.

"You don't genuinely expect to win, especially some of the other awards had been read out and Downton hadn't won, although I strongly believe the costumes should have won because (that series) was Downton at its most beautiful."

As key hairdresser and wig stylist, Mr Phillips looked after Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham; Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith; and Phyllis Logan who plays Mrs Hughes.

After recovering from the shock of winning and an hour of posing for photographs and media interviews, Mr Phillips dashed outside to phone his partner and his mum Pauline, of Corporation Road, Newport, at around 2am UK time.

"She screamed down the phone," laughed Mr Phillips. "It made me cry. It was an amazing feeling to win and I've had hundreds of messages, it's been incredible. It's really humbling too."

One of three siblings, Mr Phillips took part in amateur dramatics at Christchurch and trained as a dancer and singer, but it was the creative side of the industry which drew his imagination.

A self-confessed Downton fan, Mr Phillips was recommended for the job by his West End supervisor Campbell Young and was quickly accepted onto Ms Vaughn's team.

"It's an amazing production to be part of, but it's a tough gig," explained Mr Phillips who would often work 11 days per fortnight over the eight months of shooting.

"It took a few weeks to recover. All the actors are lovely to work with, there's no real egos, and the crew are fantastic.

"Maggie was lovely, a little bit like her character, there's no denying it, but she's really good fun and probably the most true professional I've ever met," he said. "She's a proper old school professional, one of this country's greatest actresses, and has a fabulous sense of humour. She was a pleasure to work with."

Mr Phillips also recently looked after Kevin Spacey's hair on a production of "Clarence Darrow" at the Old Vic which saw the American Beauty actor go blonde.

"He's a really nice guy," said Mr Phillips. "A very nice gentleman and a true professional."

Next year the hairstylist's work can be seen in the film "Girls Night Out", a fictional account of the night Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret celebrated VE Day by going out in public.

Proud mum Pauline Phillips told the Argus her son had always been creative.

"We are really proud of him, I'm elated," she said.

The Creative Emmy's are due to be streamed online on Monday.

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