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Sam McKnight's Happy Hitlist: Sri Lankan sunsets, Pilates Sundays, and post-Fashion Week chips

The hair stylist to the late Princess of Wales shares his Happy Hitlist  


Happy Hitlist
Sam in front of flowers© Getty
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
March 14, 2024
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Even those who lead the glitziest professional lives can enjoy the little things. As is the fact for hair extraordinaire Sam McKnight whose almost 50-year-long career has seen him styling some of the best locks in the business, from Bella and Gigi Hadid, through to the late Princess Diana herself. 

Having created the iconic Olympics 2012 closing ceremony look on Kate Moss, and Lady Gaga's 2011 Thierry Mugler runway look, the Scottish hairstylist is the definition of success. 

Sam McKnight holding MBE medal© Getty
Sauel McKnight was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) last March

Not only has Sam paved the way in terms of his artistry, but through the hair product empire he has built, offering sprays, balms, and masks that have become staples in professional kits and personal collections alike.

Sam with the late Princess of Wales in 1990© Sam McKnight
Sam even worked with the late Princess of Wales

But away from the hair chair, the stylist who has worked with the iconic roster of 90s supermodels laps up the little things. As part of HELLO! Happiness, we asked the hair guru what makes him happiest, and his answers are refreshingly relatable. 

My Happy Place

"Pottering around in my garden. Fiddling with the climbing roses and clematis, deadheading, sowing the veg seeds in spring, and watching the seeds grow into beets, and squash and leeks to eat. There is nothing quite like eating your own fruit and veg you have grown. There is always something to do, and even so, it's not fast-paced. It's where I can slow down."

Sam with MUA Mary Greenwell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington© Sam McKnight
Sam and MUA Mary Greenwell have worked with the 90s supermodels

RELATED: Strictly's Dianne Buswell on why making yourself happy is never selfish 

My Happiest Memory

"Happiness is not a constant state of mind, it’s little moments. The view from a hill in the British countryside, the sunset in Sri Lanka, watching toucans in Costa Rica, or just a cup of tea and a Kit Kat in the caff along the road. I know how to take pleasure in the little things. A long walk with my dog in the countryside or a quick run around at Chiswick House is one of best ways to while away the day."

Sam McKnight with Emilia Clarke© Getty
Sam McKnight was seen backstage stage during The Fashion Awards 2019 with Emilia Clarke

My Happiest Song

"It's 'Good Times' by Chic. Listen to the lyrics, it's all about living in the moment. And dance. It's a song that will always get those around dancing or singing along."

Sam smiling with Lady Gaga © Sam McKnight
Sam worked with Lady Gaga on a Thierry Mugler project

MORE HAPPINESS: Exclusive: Sam Thompson's new era: Radio, real friends and riding high 

My Happiest Scent

"I always wear the original Dior Eau Sauvage, which reminds me of my misspent youth, my teenage years going to all the discos in Ayrshire. And there are a lot! I've dabbled with other fragrances but this one I always come back to, year on year."

Sam with the late Vivienne Westwood© Sam McKnight
Sam worked with the late Vivienne Westwood, a fashion icon

My Happiest Meal

"Chips! Even on their own, they are wonderful, aren't they? I find it hard to walk past a chip shop. And we have been known to get a sneaky portion at the end of Fashion Week in Paris, at the Eurostar on our way back to London."

Sam spraying model's hair backstage© Sam McKnight
Sam in action backstage

My Happy Person

"My puppy Stanley, who is just a bundle of joy. I have wanted a dog for a long time, and he's been such a wonderful addition to my life. We could spend hours throwing a ball back and forth and it's such a simple pleasure."

Sam's dog in hallway© Instagram
Sam's gorgeous pup keeps him busy

My Happiest Day

"Sundays, up early for Pilates. Then a long walk in the country with Stanley and a couple of friends. Oh and tea and cake in a lovely local church afterward. There are so many now."

Sam with Kate Moss in gold© Sam McKnight
Sam created Kate's hair look for the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony performance

READ: Dr. Rangan Chatterjee on protecting his weekends, reframing happiness and feeling more content than ever 

My Happiest Holiday

"I've been going to Ibiza for many years. Every summer I head there with friends, to our regular spot which now feels like a home away from home. There will be beaches and restaurants we love and we visit time and time again. And every evening when the sun is going down, I’m there by a pool or on the beach with a good book."

young Sam hugging linda evangelista © Sam McKnight
Sam worked with the 90s supermodels at the peak of their career

My Secret To Happiness is

"Don't try too hard. Try to be in the moment, there are those that will catch you unawares. Enjoy what you have. It's easy to find the negatives throughout your day, take small pleasures where you can. You're probably happy but just don’t know it."

Sam with the Hadid sisters and Kendall Jenner© Sam McKnight
Sam has styled the hair of the Hadid sisters

DISCOVER: Exclusive: Rachel Stevens' happiest moments: Songs, snacks and speaking her truth