Blanche Macdonald Centre News from Blanche Macdonald Centre Big Love and Big Moments - Blanche Macdonald at IMATS Vancouver 2014! Top Makeup School at IMATS Vancouver 2014


Where else can you be in a coffee lineup with a swamp monster, brush elbows with a unicorn, or get bloodied up by your industry idol? We’re still reeling with awe, excitement, shock and pride after a whirlwind weekend at the IMATS Vancouver 2014! 

Hosted yearly in each of six premiere cities, the International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) is the world’s largest get-together for Makeup fanatics to swap quips, tips and, of course, load up on kit must-haves! This is one of our favourite events of the year, where we set our LOVE for what we do to shimmering amongst a gathering of our friends: tip-top Makeup industry Legends, Award-Winning Artists, TV & Film set heavy-hitters and YouTube Beauty superstars.

Top Makeup School at IMATS Vancouver 2014


It is also when we take to the bleachers to cheer on our own Blanche Macdonald Makeup talent in the Battle of the Brushes Character/Prosthetics and Beauty/Fantasy student competitions. At the culmination of two heated rounds of artistic tour de force, we were ecstatic to watch as Blanche Macdonald Global Makeup graduate Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick fluttered forward to grasp at the glassed trophy, taking a stunning third place win in the Beauty/Fantasy competition for her Picasso-inspired face of whorls. 

“I’ve always been inspired by Picasso’s bold lines and colours, and how he does beauty in new ways by using different perspectives and distortion. I was inspired by that to create my own style. This was how I interpreted the theme of ‘Art Through the Ages.’ 

Top Makeup School at IMATS Vancouver 2014


“I was definitely surprised,” she beams. “I was really happy that my work paid off, and to make people proud. The support I got was huge in this. As much as the competition was fun, what meant the most to me was the training that I got from Blanche Macdonald, and how they shared all of the team’s work to get us excited and ready for the day. Just even being encouraged to be true to my own style was great.”

Back at the CurliQue Beauty booth, celebration was a constant throughout all days, all hours of the event. We had the spectacular, spit-fire Siân Richards, TV & Film maven of such shape-shifting works as Halle Berry’s Cloud Atlas transformation and IMATS keynote speaker, spitting out fabulous British wit in what was the CQ premiere of her London Brush Company collection. Present also were the lovely Jessie of Love for Lashes, and JoAnn Fowler, founder of Sappho Organic Cosmetics and Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate. It was great catching up with our industry friends! Emmy Award-Winning Makeup Artist Kevin James Bennett, and AJ Crimson, CEO of BLACKBOARDGROUP Management popped in for hugs and hellos, as well as Blanche Macdonald graduate Heather Nightingale, who bustled over from her slot overseeing the Make Up For Ever booth. 

Top Makeup School at IMATS Vancouver 2014


We had a blast with our Big Love Ball installation, where we invited makeup fanatics (and monsters alike) to show their BIG LOVE for IMATS, capturing the moments and collecting them together under one hashtag-ed umbrella of excitement, #MyBigLove. We even had New York- based Pro Makeup Artist Ayami Nishimura come by before her keynote presentation for a quick snap and CQ booth shop!


Top Makeup School at IMATS Vancouver 2014


We hope all of you that joined us at IMATS Vancouver 2014 had a wonderful time, and for those of you who didn’t make it, we hope to see you next year!

Congratulations are due to all of our Blanche Macdonald Battle of the Brushes finalists, who displayed great skill and stunning creativity: Pauline King and Marina Hume in the 'Character/Prosthetics' Competition, and Jenny Tseng, Mimi Choi, and Kelseyanna in the 'Beauty/Fantasty'. We are so proud of all of you, and cannot wait to see awaits you in competitions to come.

Top Makeup School at IMATS Vancouver 2014

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:00:00 PST
BE THY SELFIE! Makeup Graduate Lyle Reimer Talks Keeping Yourself Inspired, and Inspiring the World Over Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

For Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate Lyle Reimer, the infamous concept of the ‘selfie’ means so much more than a simple point and shoot portrait. Utterly enchanting, zany and full of wit, Lyle’s Instagram account @Lylexox features no duck faces, and no instances in which he ‘woke up like this’; it is rather a gallery of extravagant handcrafted beauty installations, visual sprees of the creative self. These works of app art have garnered him a following that boasts tens of thousands of avid fans, including iconic fashion Hair Stylist Eugene Souleiman,, The Huffington Post, and not a few other big-league industry names.

“Vogue liked one of the Instagram images, and as of last night Edward Enninful, Fashion and Style Director at W Magazine, is liking pictures which I am super stoked about. There are people who I really look up to in the industry who are on board, which I think is very cool,” beams Lyle.

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

He also happens to be one of only seventeen people that Cher follows. Yes, THE Cher. Yet Lyle insists that it’s the ability to inspire and connect with people that drives him, and reading through the comments sections of his posts is enough to make your heart well with warmth. It’s hard to top the vivid spirit of the @Lylexox creations, yet the artist himself is one of the most lovely and engaging people you are likely to meet, and he carries over this shimmering passion for interaction to his day job as trainer with the Artistry & Development team of MAC Cosmetics.

“Recently, we started a thing called ‘Play Shop.’ At this time, it was the first ‘Play Shop’ for MAC within Canada and they asked if I would do an Instagram look for a room of attendees. After the makeup was done, I went behind the scenes, did my wig and put on all of my accessories, and came out. It was one of the pinnacle moments of my MAC career for sure because the artists were crying, and it was like a receiving line at a wedding. They came up to me to hold my hand and they were beside themselves saying ‘When we have a hard time getting up and getting ready in the morning we just think of you and what you do and get inspired.’ I wanted to break down and cry, it was so sweet and so touching.

“You know at that moment, that what you’re doing has an impact on people beyond the makeup. I feel so often that makeup becomes very materialistic and very lah-di-dah, but when you have the ability to impact people and inspire their lives personally – that is what I can take home with me.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

Having worked his way up from a summer contract to part-time, and finally to his coveted position running core training for BC overseeing three locations (including the Pro Robson store where his journey began), Lyle has now been with MAC for nearly 15 years, and he couldn’t be happier.  

“Honestly, I always wanted to be in that role. It was just a matter of timing. I love the aspect of teaching and of being a source of inspiration but I knew that I needed to get enough work under my belt to have a larger body of knowledge to share with a team. As much as you want to apply for those jobs right at the get-go, you can’t. It was one of those situations where I had to work and really hone things, and then move on from there.”

Though he grew up in the small Saskatchewan town of Wymark (population under 200, no typo on the zeroes), the seeds of Lyle’s passion for makeup were planted early on with visits from his fabulous Aunt, a jet-setting Makeup Artist who would teach him how to do latex ageing with “Rogers maple syrup and kleenex”. He can recall also putting on elaborate lunchtime stage productions for his mother and an audience of stuffed animals, complete with fantasy makeup and full costume changes.

“Talk about things that are intrinsically you - no one told me to be like that. It was like that’s just Lyle and that’s how it is. My mom, thankfully, was so nurturing in that regard. She saw that and decided that she was going to embrace it, and let me run with it. I always knew that. I never felt like I had to not do my own thing.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

When it came time to sculpt this deep-seated passion, Lyle wasn’t about to go halfway with his education. He returned from a year’s jaunt teaching visual arts in Cuba, ready for big leaps and looking for advice on where to turn.

“When I was talking to a friend of mine she said ‘My dad works in the film industry, and the one school that has the most amazing reputation in terms of the industry standard is Blanche Macdonald.’ So I thought, ‘OK, then that’s where I’m going to go.’ There was no question about it; I wanted to go to the best school.

“As soon as I walked into that space, I know it sounds super cheesy, but it felt like coming home. It felt like this is where I belonged. My relationship with Blanche was started on such a positive note right from the beginning that I have nothing but positive things to say.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

The immediate connection he felt within the halls of Blanche Macdonald carried through to the classrooms, where his ambition in knowledge was met with a wealth of industry experience to indulge in.

“My favourite memory isn’t necessarily a moment, but the teachers there. I told them that I wanted them to be hard on me, to be critical, to really critique and not just be like ‘oh that’s pretty, that’s good and leave it at that.’ If it needs to be corrected, or if it needs to be whatever I want that feedback. They always came through.”

This head-first approach to learning saw Lyle excelling in every class, but he quickly learned that being great at something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right fit.

“I thought that I was going to go into film. I wanted to do crazy prosthetic masks and Star Trek-like things. I was really drawn to this because, in my mind it was so much more about the artistry and creating things that were beyond the human face. I did a short film while I was at Blanche Macdonald, and another after I graduated; it was a great experience, but at the end of that it was like ‘and that’s a wrap for me’. It takes a very special kind of person to work in the film industry because you always hear of how difficult it is with a personal life. My partner and I, we’ve been together for fifteen years and I would not want to sacrifice that, so I was taken down a different path.

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

Cue the collective hurrah of Lyle’s fan base at this change of the winds. Yet his original intrigue at pushing the boundaries of makeup artistry past the confines of a face chart ultimately led him to the phenomenal pastime that has won the world over.

“At MAC we had what we called a Five Day Makeup Challenge, and it was an initiative to get people to break out of their makeup habits and try out different looks for five days. So being a trainer, I needed to set an example and be a role model. I thought ‘well if I’m going to do it, then I’m going to DO it. I’m just going to go all out.’ I did four of the five days, and I went into the store and they said, ‘Lyle you can’t stop now – you need to make it into a FIFTY five day challenge. We LOVE it, so don’t stop.’ So I just kept going. Now I have a whole studio that’s designated just for @Lylexox. It’s this thing that I can’t stop now. I love it.”

Needless to say, he’s not the only one.

“As much as I can, I respond and send comments. I take the ability to have that connection with people all around the world very seriously. Relationships to me are vital; I think we all need to feel that sense of community. As an artist you understand this connection. I now have these people who are doing paintings and portraits and sketches of me, of my face and I’m like ‘What? You live over in the Middle East and you’re drawing my face?’ I mean, how can you not be impacted by that?”

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

It was after Lyle’s work had been featured on Instagram’s official profile, seen by over fifty million followers worldwide, that @Lylexox kicked in to vogue status. The dominos just kept popping into place from there.  

“There’s a stylist in New York, Rachel Gilman, who started telling her people about my creations. That’s when the first article came out with, and then the The most recent one was in the Huffington Post.

“It is so lovely and touching to have these total strangers support me and support what I’m doing that I just want to keep pushing what I’m doing to the rest of the world. I’m so honoured that they actually care about all of the crazy that’s going on in my head. I’ve no words.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

With now over a hundred jaw-droppingly inventive, and absurdly unique creations up on his Instagram page, questions regarding just how long  the ‘crazy’ will keep on are not wholly out of place.

“People ask me if I’m afraid that I’m going to run out of ideas. NO! You’re not going to run out of ideas because there’s this constant flow that takes place, and if you’re always open to that there’s always going to be stuff that just comes to you.

“When we talk about inspiration, the key for me is that you should never censor what comes into your mind. You need to always be open to whatever comes in and just run with it, because as soon as you start censoring, ‘is this appropriate, or are people going to like it or not like it’, it really starts to take you off track. If you repress that, then you don’t have that really true vision. You have to be fully committed to what comes into your head at that moment. Things aren’t planned out. I might have a general image of this or that, but if it’s taking you in a direction in that look, you need to go with that and trust that intuition… that instinct, really. It’s like a muscle; the more you do it, the more you will feel it easing out.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer @LYLEXOX

As Lyle’s intuition would have it, the odder and more unconventional the material to use in his spectacular makeovers, the better. Just off the top of his head (literally) there have been cabbage leaves, ketchup packets, biohazard bags and spray nozzles.

“If it’s garbage, awesome, because then it can be completely taken apart, repainted and reglued into something, and given new life.

“Now the girls at work, if they’re unpackaging makeup and it comes in an interesting box, they’re like ‘oh save it for Lyle - he’ll turn it into a headpiece,’” he laughs.  

It’s an odd thing, he muses, to meet with such a compelling pursuit, such an exalting necessity after having successfully worked in the industry for over a decade. Yet Lyle insists that it’s in clearing the way, rather than self-manufacturing that brings about these powerful discoveries of passion.

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer

“It takes a long time, maybe a lifetime to get to what is the essence of you, but you have to be willing to strip away everything else and just focus on that essence. For so long my life was based on opinions and on what other people thought of me,” continues Lyle. “Growing up gay in a small town was very, very hard. It was insanely challenging to rise above that and feel that you had worth when everyone else was was telling you that you weren’t worth anything. You constantly have this sense of doubt as an artist, but that’s only from all of those years of insecure garbage talk. When you get rid of that, clean that out of your life, and just focus on who you are as an artist and tap into that, everything else becomes easy.”

For the next generation looking to push past their set of personal obstacles and pursue their own strange and wonderful inner Makeup Artist, Lyle has advice you’d be wise to heed.

“Savour every minute of education. Utilize the teachers’ wisdom to the nth degree. If this is really what you want to do, be very demanding of the need for feedback and corrective criticism. Be constantly open to it because really the only way to grow is to be open to hearing people’s critique and feedback, especially if it’s coming from someone in the arena of Blanche. You have such seasoned professionals teaching you, so soak up every drop and savour every minute because when it’s done, you’re into the world. Be really clear within yourself: this is my mission, this is what I’m going to do. And just soak it all up. Soak up every second of it.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Lyle Reimer

With a retrospective book in the works and a loving, well-loved position in the MAC Cosmetics family, Lyle is proof that passion can take you to your perfect nine-to-five, and beyond your wildest expectations.

“You know when you hear interviews and people say ‘oh I’m successful because I’m only doing what I love’? I always felt that that was cheesy and cliche to say, until I actually stepped back and looked at what I am doing now with @Lylexox. I could do just that all day long, and I would be ecstatic. It’s so weird to be tapping into it at such a later point in life, but I have now, and I’m going to run with it, and I’m not going to stop.”

All photos provided by Lyle Reimer via @Lylexox on Instagram.

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Lyle's Top 5 Favourite Selfie Makeup Products

Thu, 14 Aug 2014 00:00:00 PST
Fashion Design Graduate Jenny Hedberg Teaches Techniques and Tips at Blanche Macdonald Top Fashion Design School Graduate and Instructor Jenny Hedberg

Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Instructor Jenny Hedberg understands what it’s like to be a student at Canada’s #1 Fashion School. Ten years ago she was sitting in those classes herself, learning techniques and insights from the teachers who are now her colleagues.

“I love it here,” she smiles. “I really like to see the moment when students understand a concept. They each have their own vision for their collection. It's very inspiring! You get to see unique perspectives, and help students build their skills to reach their goals. It’s also a challenge for me because one person might be doing bridal gowns, and someone else doing leather or swimwear. That keeps me on my toes!”

The change from student to teacher is only one transformation for Jenny. She’s forged a remarkable career for herself as a Designer; transferring her skills between activewear, custom bridal gowns, and her own label, Hawks Ave, before returning to the School that launched her fashion adventure. She’s also created a home for herself in Vancouver, a long way from her start in Prince George, BC. 

“At 15 I started making clothes for myself and friends,” she explains, “and I started my first company at 19. I rented a little storefront and would make custom clothing. I ended up doing a lot of alterations and repair work. That was amazing and really great experience, because I had to teach myself how things are put together.”

Top Fashion School Graduate turned Instructor Jenny Hedberg

There’s only so far a young designer can go in Prince George. Which is why Jenny started thinking about a trip south and some formal fashion training. 

“I wanted to move to a bigger city. A friend brought back some info from Blanche Macdonald. I called and eventually reached the point when I could make the move. I wanted to learn how to pattern draft properly. I wanted to expand my skills and keep moving forward. I wanted to grow, in terms of ideas and inspiration, by moving out of my comfort zone. So I moved here with my husband, and his entire band.”

Jenny was used to teaching herself, with help from a handful of mentors, in Prince George. Her arrival at Fashion School provided an adrenaline shot of technical know how and creative inspiration.

Top Fashion Design School Graduate and Instructor Jenny Hedberg

“It was amazing!” she enthuses. “The people I had teaching me are still here. Peggy Morrison’s knowledge of designers and eras, where fashion has been and where it’s going, is just amazing. To hear her tell a story is one of the best things ever. I had Brenda Swinglehurst for garment construction and pattern drafting. Most of the technical skills I still use every day are things I learned from her. She’s so talented. Lisa Gellert’s skill in illustrating and design direction is really inspiring. She pushed me to explore new areas that maybe I hadn’t dabbled in or thought about. She always had something new to share with us. It opened up my design. I’d only wanted to do denim or leather up to that point, and now my eyes were opened to all these designers I didn’t know about. It was really interesting and pushed me to explore a lot more. 

“I pushed myself for my grad collection, which was really architectural and couture. Not like anything I’d done before. I wanted to do the opposite of what I was used to and push myself. One dress I made had 80 hours of beadwork! I learned so much from Brenda encouraging me to try new things. I felt so proud when I saw my garments walking down the runway.”

Top Fashion School Graduate turned Instructor Jenny Hedberg

Jenny graduated with flying colours and went directly to a job as Technical Production and Development Coordinator for yoga and active-wear company Lotuswear.

“A friend from school, Hrissa Soumpassis, cold-called a bunch of companies and got three job offers. She called me and said that as I was really into knitwear, one job might be perfect for me.

“I wanted to learn how a factory worked, because I was still making clothes one at a time. We worked with one overseas factory, and several local factories with Lotuswear, so I learned all about sourcing and fitting. I’d learned about it at Fashion School, but this was really being thrown into it.”

Top Fashion Design School Graduate and Instructor Jenny Hedberg

Of course, there was always time for more design work.

“At the same time I was working one day a week making custom bridal gowns with a designer called Wilfred Dy – who’s now doing the same thing in Dubai. A photographer, Garry Kettleson, came up to me after the Blanche Macdonald grad show, told me he loved my work and that he wanted to work with me. He thought I would be a good fit for his friend who was looking for an assistant. That was Wilfred. It was hand beadwork and hand draping. Everything other than pattern drafting was my responsibility. That detailed, hand-sewn work was the opposite of what I was doing with Lotuswear. It was a great contrast. Getting both jobs through Blanche Macdonald was another confirmation that I’d make the right choice to come to Fashion School.”

Top Fashion School Graduate turned Instructor Jenny Hedberg

After three years of yogawear and bridal gowns, a new job at Papillon Eastern opened up a new world of possibilities. Literally. 

Papillon was all overseas production, so I was able to travel all over Asia and was able to see all these different cultures and fabric sources. Their collection was over 300 pieces a season, so I was doing a lot of designing. It was really interesting, as I went from a technical design and production role back to creative design.”

Life became even more interesting when Jamal Abdourahman asked Jenny to put a collection together for Vancouver Fashion Week.

The catch? She had three weeks to get it ready for the runway.  

“It was crazy!” she laughs. “They were all screen printed knits, apart from one denim piece, all inspired by rock and roll and a particular chevron pattern. Somehow I did it.”

Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design graduate turned Instructor Jenny Hedberg

That was the debut collection from Jenny’s own label, Hawks Ave. The next step was getting it into stores.

“I’d wanted to do my own line for a while. I needed an outlet for my creativity. I got nine stores on board that first year, basically through persistence. Because of my experience I knew about buyers, when the seasons were and how buyers wanted to see a collection. The clothes had to be in stores, so I took out a small loan and convinced a few factories I knew to do a small run. I knew that once you place your first delivery on time and as promised, stores will order you the next year too.”

Top Fashion Design School Graduate and Instructor Jenny Hedberg

Even though Hawks Ave was up and flying, Jenny was still prepared to welcome opportunity when it came knocking. She had started instructing the Technical Production class at Blanche Macdonald while she was filling that exact role at Papillion. Recognising her gift for teaching, Blanche Macdonald asked if Jenny was interested in expanding her role. Now she teaches Pattern Making, Garment Construction and Fashion Elements. Inspiration comes as standard.

“It’s humbling! To work with people that taught you something is a privilege. I’m really enjoying myself. It’s amazing watching students develop, sometimes from not having any experience, to a really strong runway collection. This year’s Fashion Design Grad Show was amazing. The group worked together so well. They pushed each other to some great work.

“It’s really rewarding for me to see them succeed. It’s definitely a challenging program, but to see students process it, love it and want to move forward in this industry is my absolute favourite thing.”

Photos provided by Jenny Hedberg.
Photography by Nicole Gurney. Model: Willow Riley.

Thu, 07 Aug 2014 00:00:00 PST
One to Watch: Winnipeg's Double Threat Paige Roy, Pro Nail and Makeup Talent Top Nail and Makeup School Graduate Paige Roy

For clients of twice-graduate Paige Roy, imagination is truly at their fingertips. Since launching off from both Blanche Macdonald’s Global Makeup and Nail Parlour programs, Paige has been busy brushing out incredible creatives which have seen nails metamorphosed into monarch butterflies, dragon’s treasure, beetle shells and lightning storms (to name a few).

With a social media following that is on the up and up, a position as Nail Technician and Makeup Artist in one of Winnipeg’s hottest salons, Cutting Loose Hair Design, and exciting makeup adventures on the horizon, the young lady from the small town of Victoria Beach, Manitoba is already changing Winnipeg’s perception of what’s possible.

“I really like when I’m taking off my clients’ nail work, and they say ‘Oh! It doesn’t hurt! My nails still look good!’“ she laughs.  “I say ‘Yeah! It’s because I do it properly!’ It’s nice when people realize that I’m doing things the right way and taking my time to do it well. I’ve got a lot of girls who are used to going to other shops who want to be out in 20 minutes. Once they sit down I tell that they’ll be here for a while!”

Top Nail and Makeup School Graduate Paige Roy

Paige is now the go-to girl for nail art and event makeup in Winnipeg, but it took her traveling across the country to Canada’s Top Makeup and Nail School to get there. Piqued by the artistry she encountered during her stint modeling, Paige made the leap to the other side of the brush and began her search for the best place to make most of her time away from home, leading her to take on a pair of courses at the Blanche Macdonald Centre.

“I saw that there was a Global Makeup program and I knew I wanted to do that. The Nail Parlour course looked amazing as well, and when I found out that Makeup was only three days a week, I knew that I could fit it in!  

“I thought it would be more scary because it’s such a big city, but I was close to school and it was super easy to get everywhere. There was a speaker from MAC Cosmetics a couple of days before I started, and my Admissions Director Jill Wyness suggested that I come to see that. The transition was so nice, and everyone was really helpful.”

Top Nail and Makeup School Graduate Paige Roy

The Blanche Macdonald Makeup Career office was a regular haunt for Paige, and Career Director Heather Sosa recalls her as being a true ‘go-getter’ from the get-go. Though she was thousands of kilometres away from her home, Paige knew that her Métis community was behind her all the way. This support provided inspiration to fill her already brimming double-bill schedule with volunteer and charity work.

“I wanted to do as much as I could while I was there to get the experience in,” she continues. “It’s true that you get out of your time at Blanche Macdonald what you put into it and you can’t just go out expecting to get famous. You have to volunteer, do free photoshoots.”

Though it is impossible for her to pick just one favourite moment from two courses full of memories, it was during the Nail Art finals in school that Paige found her passion set to shining.

 Top Nail and Makeup School Graduate Paige Roy

“It was exciting, and I was inspired by how much you could do with it. I thought, I’ve got to try something crazy and see what I can do with all this stuff.

“I try to figure out and think of things that other people haven’t done yet. I’m always trying to create new things and new techniques.”

This spark for experimentation and play has now become an emblem for Paige’s sensational designs, which have led her to establishing a community of followers on Instagram that grows each day.

“It’s fun! I’m really addicted to Instagram and meeting people on there. It helps me get clients. It definitely is a learning experience; I’ve come to realize that you have to put up high quality photos, and that people don’t like to see pictures of feet,” she laughs. “So don’t post up pedicures!”

Top Nail and Makeup School Graduate Paige Roy

With a supportive home in the Cutting Loose salon and a steady stream of fans eagerly awaiting each new nail art masterpiece, Paige is far from complacent in the success she has so far found. She is already striving to reach the next level.

“One of my goals this year is to do more makeup. I’ve been doing a lot of photoshoots for hairstylists entering competitions, and I’ve been doing more weddings and grads. This year I’m definitely focusing on that. I want to do more fashion too, and I’ve planned some photoshoots to enter Salon Magazine’s Contessa Awards and the Mirror Awards.”

There are no doubts that Paige will excel in these new ventures; her passion and constant drive for new challenges over which her creative mind can soar will keep her star rising.

Top Nail and Makeup School Graduate Paige Roy

“You can go wherever you want with this. You can do it in a salon, you can do freelance, you can do retail, do photoshoots. You can go anywhere and do a bit of everything. You make your own schedule when you get out there, and just do different things every day!”

Follow Paige Roy on Instagram @princess_paige1

Paige Roy's Top 5 Favourite Makeup and Nail Products


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Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:00:00 PST
Doing it 'The Blanche Way' in Mexico City - Esthetics Graduate Cecilia Valdes Brings the Moor Experience Home! Top Esthetics School Graduate Cecilia Valdes

For Cecilia Valdes, born and raised in the bustle of Mexico City, an opportunity presented is never untaken, especially when it involves a business plan and a venue through which to share the healing powers of natural products.

“For me, it is the key element. The market in Mexico is only starting to be more aware [of the benefits of natural ingredients]. We are a little bit behind on that, but I feel that it is important. A line that gives you great results and is natural? Well, I think that’s the best combination.”

This winning combination comes in the form of Moor Skincare which, thanks to Cecilia’s phenomenal entrepreneurial spirit and head full of fresh know-how from Canada’s Top Spa Therapy School, is now an established favourite in her home city, sold in her lovely Moor Spa + Nails locales.

“After graduating from Blanche we came back to Mexico City, in November, and by February we had opened the spa. So everything was very fast!”

Top Esthetics School Graduate Cecilia Valdes

And it’s been shooting up from there. In only three short years since Cecilia and her husband opened the doors to the first ever Moor Spa, they have laid the foundations of a botanical skincare empire with three buzzing locations, including one nestled in the prestigious walls of Saks Fifth Avenue. This growth may seem incredible, until you meet with her fiery sparkle and you realize that Cecilia is a woman for whom words of ‘okay’ or ‘good enough’ simply do not exist.

“You do the right things, you have the right personality and the right location… but I think the most important thing is the service you offer. As an esthetician we have to give our clients the best - not just a facial, the BEST facial they have ever had. We have to give them our whole selves, and I think that is the key element to being successful.”

For Cecilia, the best could only be found in the Esthetics and Spa Therapy program at Blanche Macdonald. Having studied Business Administration in Mexico, the foundations for her dreams were set, and it was time to hone in on the industry in which she would set the passion for her goals to shining.

“My dream was always to have my own business. I looked into just about everything: Subway franchises, laundromats, drugstores, but then I thought, why not a spa? Why chase a smaller dream? The original idea was to have a small hotel; my husband was to handle more of the restaurant, the rooms and all of that. We got married, we moved to Canada, he took a Hotel Management course, and I came to Blanche as I wanted to have my own spa at the hotel- that was the goal!

Top Esthetics School Graduate Cecilia Valdes

“It really was a great experience [at Blanche Macdonald]. It was funny, because I was the oldest but I learned so much from the younger girls as it’s a different culture here. I was very far from home and was learning to take the skytrain in the rain and in the snow. It was very different living in Canada but it gave me more confidence in myself. I liked the other girls, and I liked learning from them. I have so many good memories.”

Undoubtedly the memory that shines brightest was the day that she met the Owner and President of Moor Spa, a regular and well-loved guest at the Blanche podium.  

“One day I remember, Michael Beresford came to Blanche, and as he was showing us the product. I fell in love with it. I liked that it used 100% natural ingredients. That day when I went home and told my husband that we should bring the line back to Mexico, he said, ‘well why don’t we open a spa?’ We started on the business plan right then.”

Michael, on his part, remembers her too; it’s hard to forget the daring and determined spirit that took the Moor line to a country that up until then, knew nothing of it’s fabulous healing properties.

“We had to push a little bit... a lot, to be honest. Moor is a great line but it wasn’t well known in Mexico. We had to work hard, but it was worth it. Once people tried the line, they made the switch in their beauty care and stayed with us.

Top Esthetics School Graduate Cecilia Valdes

“One thing that I’ve felt to be very useful is to be positive and optimistic. The minute I thought ‘we’re about to open a spa’, I was super afraid, I had to start from zero. ‘How will I find a supplier? How many files do I need?’ Then I thought, ‘I have to be brave, I have to start from somewhere - from myself’. And that’s what I did.”

The Moor’s botanicals were not the only goodies that Cecilia packed in her suitcase home; her knowledge gained at her time at Blanche was to propel spa practice in Mexico to new heights.

“Nowadays we use the same skin care analysis and we perform the facials in the same way as I learned at Blanche in all the Moor Spa + Nails locations, and I teach my team as I was taught to always give home care advice to our guests.

“Now, at Moor Salon, we do it the Blanche way!”, she laughs.

Though she is usually kept busy keeping clients smiling, networking and chatting up the media (“we have been lucky to appear in Glamour and on MTV. It’s been really great for the business!”) Cecilia rests easy knowing that this savvy has taken root and is now flourishing in her spas.

“I’m happy that I learned everything; I have the right knowledge and was able to hire the right people, and I’m able to know if they’re doing it the right way.

“Now I sit back and there’s no need to worry, and I know that if I’m not there, the spa will run perfectly as my team is perfect, I can take a vacation and everything goes well”, she says, which has certainly come in handy in the last two months, having given birth to her first little one, a beautiful baby girl. “I’m very grateful for this.”

Top Esthetics School Graduate Cecilia Valdes

Being able to bring this knowledge back to her country, and create jobs for her home town is a true highlight for Cecilia, and her voice audibly sparkles when the talk turns to her team.

“There are many [favourite moments]; one that I really enjoy is when I see the face of a happy client, and another that I like the same or maybe even more, is when I see my team happy - when the girls are happy at work.

“We have pretty much the same team as when we opened three years ago so I feel that we are like family, and that makes me so happy. It feels like home. I love it.”

This warmhearted and supportive well that Cecilia has created with her ‘girls’ certainly spills over to her guests in Moor Spa’s lounges and nail bars, making for what is always a personally engaging experience.

“We give wellness to people and make them feel fine; we’re like a therapy. Sometimes they just want to feel fine and loved, and we can give them that at the spa. I love my work.”

Top Esthetics School Graduate Cecilia Valdes

Sometimes therapy means a few quality hours spent with friends and family, and Cecilia has this up for offer as well with her ‘Sparties’, a unique feature that has set her apart from the other spas in her area and has made Moor a veritable hotspot for every occasion to be celebrated.    

“It’s super fun! We do at least one a week. You book the spot in advance and we close the place for you, set up decorations, give you cappuccinos, wine, champagne… the girls love it! We get everyone from young to old, to men, and even whole families.

“It’s a nice way to chat with your friends and to pamper yourself. We make it your place. You don’t have to dress up, you’re with your friends, and here you have the opportunity to chat, relax and laugh!”

She wastes no time in insisting that we come ‘Sparty’ with her the next time we find ourselves south of the border, and receiving her warm and scintillating invite it’s not hard to see why Cecilia has done so well for herself with Moor Spa + Nails. Though, her dauntless strength of will and courage in the unknown of new possibilities couldn’t have hurt either.

“If I were to give any advice, I would say that it’s good to take the risk. If you have a chance and an opportunity it’s always good to say yes to everything. Then, you just try your best.”

“It’s a great career because you get the chance to be all that you can be. You can be an employee, you can decide to be your own boss. If I can be successful, then I don’t see why anyone else could not. Anyone can!”

Cecilia Valdes' Top 5 Favourite Moor Skincare Products

Wed, 18 Jun 2014 00:00:00 PST