He's in the business where looks are as important as talent and actor James Nesbitt is more than happy to attribute some of his success to his hair transplants.
The 53-year-old has been vocal about how he underwent several procedures on his scalp in recent years to battle signs of baldness. And while many of his on-screen colleagues discreetly go under the knife to enhance their appearance, Nesbitt told Independent.ie that one of the best things he ever did was help “break the stigma” for men like him.
“Some men it doesn’t bother, but there are men that it does and it’s a difficult stage to go through. I’m married to my own vanity and I just didn't fancy going bald.
“I made the decision to talk about it because there are an awful lot of actors who don’t talk about it, which I thought was just absurd. I just thought, ‘Look, if I’m going to be bald one day and then have hair the next, people will know it doesn’t just come from eating carrots’.
“It was great, and I think the fact that I did talk about it helped with the taboo and by being open it has taken away the stigma attached it.
“I don’t think [hair transplant] harmed my career – and I don’t want to give the impression that you can’t work by being bald. I just felt this was an option and I’m lucky I did.”
Nesbitt’s smash hit crime drama Lucky Man is enjoying a third season on Sky 1 and the Antrim man recently finished filming another series of TV hit Cold Feet.
The Ballymena-born star this week joins fellow A-listers Saoirse Ronan and Ronan Keating to launch World Barber Day, taking place on Sunday, September 16, in aid of UNICEF.
The initiative is the brainchild of Conor and Hugh McAllister, co-owners of the well-known UK and Ireland barber chain, The Grafton Barber.
“When Conor was setting up Grafton Barber he did assistant hair work on films, so we met on Bloody Sunday and just became firm friends,” Nesbitt said. "He was always a larger than life character but interested in giving something back.”
The BAFTA nominee, whose high-ranking credits also include The Hobbit and Cold Feet, will be heading along to his local barbershop in Peckham, South-East London to get behind the cause.
“Barbershops are very much part of the community. The idea that there’s a common language spoken in different counties in barbershops, we felt we could do something on a global stage to help.”
Nesbitt is currently enjoying a well-earned break from the cameras, his first extended holiday in 30 years.
“I’m doing a musical next March called This is My Family and then I’ll probably be filming for the rest of the year, so I’m going to spend as much time with my daughters and at my house in Portrush,” he said.
Although his glittering career sees him travel the world over, Nesbitt is as keen as ever to do more “at home”.
“Northern Ireland has been so good to me and I’m so incredibly proud to come from there. There’s more to be written about the past, present and possibly future of Northern Ireland, and I really want to be part of that because it’s important to me that my art reflects where I come from.
“Also, it’s always a bit of craic working at home.”
To make a donation please go to www.worldbarberday.com, or visit a participating barbershop.