NICOLE Pearce has an undeniable passion for hairstyling and this has just helped her to walk away the winner in a prestigious national hairstyling competition.Pearce, a student at Images 1 Hair Academy, took top honours in the recent Soft n Free’s Young Hair Xperts competition, where she was crowned the winner in the Young Xperts category and earned a cash prize of R30 000.Images 1 Hair Academy currently provides training for 50 students on a three-year course. “Although the training only started in March, we felt that Nicole was ready to enter the competition. It is amazing how this opportunity changed the life of this young unemployed single mom,” said Anny Britz, owner of Images 1.“At the competition in Johannesburg she had the chance of a lifetime to take part in a production with the likes of celebrities such as Somizi Mhlongo, Amanda Black, Kwesta as well as some of South Africa’s top hairstylists.”Finalists were given the theme “Urban Revolutionary” and had to create a hairstyle within three hours that would best portray the theme. “I was very fortunate to take my fellow student Chanté Krisjans with me to be my model. She supported me so much and helped me with giving my idea life.” Nicole (23) has been styling women in her Hillside neighbourhood’s hair for many years. “I’ve always had a passion for hairstyling. I have styled hair while I was in high school, after school, and even up and until the end of my pregnancy.”The young mother of Caylum-Cole (2) says she is elated about winning the competition and hopes to start her own salon when she finishes her course at the academy. “I entered and won the competition for my son. I want him to be proud of me,” she said.Pearce is very grateful to all her supporters.“I would like to thank my lecturers for believing in me, my model Chanté and my parents for their unwavering support,” she said.