About Karla

About Karla

The freedom to be you

Karla Middleton has always believed that the freedom to do what you want, when you want is of utmost importance.
And now with her newest salon, Karla is offering Whitsunday women & men the freedom to be exactly who they want to be.

Figurehead Hair Salon is a bright and airy new salon right on Airlie’s main beach, close to all the resorts and villas, offering a relaxed environment with great views of the ocean and gentle sea breezes.

It’s no surprise Karla has chosen a nautical theme and location for her salon, with her passion in life – second only to hairdressing – being sailing.

Creativity and the best stylists

Karla grew up in Country NSW and started hairdressing at just 14, having had a passion for ‘styling hair’ since she was young. And growing up in a creative family of cooks cake decorators media personalities & PR consultants, dressmakers and interior designers ensured Karla’s sense of style and flair was deep-rooted from a early age.

Her ambitious nature saw her arrive in Sydney aged 17, working for the best salons in the city’s trendiest inner suburbs. “I wanted to work with the best stylists – and I did,” she says now with the benefit of 30 years as a top stylist behind her.

By 26, Karla had bought her first salon – on Daydream Island in the beautiful Whitsundays. She sold that business after 4 years and sailed the world for 10 years.She returned to Airlie Beach and now call’s the Whitsundays home.

Passion for sailing

Karla has another passion in addition to hairdressing and that’s sailing, having first fallen in love with the high seas on a Tall Ship when she was 21. Her love affair with the figureheads that adorn the bow of a vessel also started there.
So after running her very successful hair salon on Daydream Island for four years, Karla decided it was time to sell up and sail charter and race around the world.

Rich and famous

It was during these years of racing & working on super yachts for the world’s rich and famous, that Karla perfected her styling and cutting techniques on some of the world’s richest and most beautiful women & men.
“It was an amazing time” she says. “Some of these women were wearing literally millions of dollars worth of jewellery and there I was doing their hair! But it gave me a chance to really push myself professionally in terms of my skills and expertise.”

Paradise re-found

After 10 years sailing around the world, Karla came back to Airlie Beach and set up the perfectly named Figure Head Hair Salon which was the name she also had on Daydream Island.. With now more than 30 + year’s national and international experience she now has the freedom and training to deliver the cut and colour wedding bridal hair upetyles  extensions and services her client’s really want!

She also expresses herself in the design of her salon, which is a light and airy space looking straight out to the sea, stuffed with trinkets gleaned from her adventures around the world. And then of course there’s her figurehead, looming large in the middle of the salon.


The inspiration for the salon’s name and the star of the salon’s logo, the Figurehead stands proud and erect, protectively watching over proceedings. “I’ve always had a passion for figureheads,” says Karla. Her Figurehead was bought at an antique treasure shop in the British Virgin islands and is named Caddie. To me they encapsulate the essence of freedom-standing out there on the bow of the boat, pushing the bow into the water, with the wind in your hair-the freedom to go anywhere you want to. Life’s too sort to to not do everything you want to do!

The Vision for the salon is to have a beautiful relaxed environment where client’s enjoy coming back time and time again to the happy team and the professional service they receive.