Blanche Macdonald Centre News from Blanche Macdonald Centre SHEAR TALENT: PRO HAIR GRADUATE ALI SMITH PAINTS HER CAREER AT ARTEL SALON! They're the pruners of our strands, the keepers of our secrets and the masterminds behind those picture-perfect balayages. These Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair graduates are just getting their feet wet in the whirlwind world of Hair, but already, they're making waves in their new careers. Spanning the scene from stylists and barbers to Pro-Educators and entrepreneurs, our grads own their very own hair salons, hold the hottest seats in top salons, and work behind the scenes to create stunning editorials. Armed with the knowledge of our internationally recognized training, and a pair or two of super-sharp shears, these remarkable individuals have heard the entrepreneurial call of the Hair world and they have answered back. With Contessa Awards and other prestigious national and international competitions under their collective belts, our grads are climbing the ranks of local and international scenes one snip at a time. It can be hairy, but they're ready for anything!

Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair Program Graduate Ali Smith, Artel Hair Salon Vancouver

Sure to be sporting a mane of many and different colours, razor sharp liner and specs of glitter wandering randomly about her person, Ali Smith is not just the creator of unicorn hair – she exudes an essential ‘unicorn-ness.’ Having graduated from the Pro Hair program at Blanche Macdonald a mere 4 months ago, Ali has found herself behind the chair of one of Vancouver’s premiere chop shops, Artel Salon. Owned by fellow Blanche Macdonald graduate Eliza Trendiak, Ali spends her days honing her skills, learning from fellow Artel stylists and crafting the latest looks for her burgeoning clientele. A flurry of retro Disney prints, witticisms, and perfectly timed meme humour meet the whirling dervish that is Ali Smith.  Or as she puts it “Ariien. Brat. Kitty. Facial hair admirer.”

Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair Program Graduate Ali Smith, Artel Hair Salon Vancouver 


Blanche Macdonald: What was your favourite part of our Hair program?

Ali Smith: Definitely level 7. The mass photo shoot level was absolutely the best! For me, it came just after Christmas and during a time where I hadn't had a day off from school or work in nearly two months. All of my stress manifested into the most wacky ideas, and being able to build pieces for my models was such a blessing. Having Lisa as an instructor for this level also made it so much fun because she was unbelievably encouraging and understanding of everyone's shoot concepts.


BMC: What is your Hair specialty (cut, colour, ombre, etc)?

AS: I really love doing big colour changes.  Whether it's from dark to light or from natural to something wild, it's just so fun! Seeing a client glowing at the end of their service is so satisfying. Also I've never been the type to turn down a challenge, so colour corrections are weirdly exhilarating for me.


BMC: How did our Career Services and job placements ensure you found the perfect home for your Hair skills?

AS: We have mandatory work experiences and mine were eye opening to say the least. I did one at a salon in Kitsilano with Aaron Brousseau, who is a good friend of mine and another Blanche Macdonald grad, and we did a lot of one-on-one work. My second work experience was in Maple Ridge where I live now and it's one of the busier salons with about 12 stylists. This was much more fast paced environment with less one-on-one teaching. From this I got a better idea on what kind of salon I'd like to work in, where I'd like to be located, what kind of clientele I'd like to build, etc.


Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair Program Graduate Ali Smith, Artel Hair Salon Vancouver


BMC: You're in one of those mega Crayola crayon boxes - what colour are you and what are you called?

AS: I have two sides to myself so one would be Malibu Barbie pink, and the other Midnight black.


BMC: What movie title best describes your life?

AS: According to Buzzfeed, Alice in Wonderland is the film equivalent to my life. I wouldn’t say that’s untrue though because like Alice, I’m a total daydreamer and I talk to animals all the time so, that’s cool.


BMC: What hair decade would you go back to if you had a time machine?

AS: Not going to lie, I miss 2006-2010 with all the 'coon tail clip ins, enormous face covering bangs, too much back combing . . . Ahhh, nostalgia!


BMC: Was there any advice you got going into the Hair program from friends or family?

AS: This is awful but I had a few friends who had attended other hair programs and they ended up realizing this wasn't for them, so before I enrolled the big discussion was always "Are you REALLY SURE?" And thankfully I was always able to say, "Yup, I've only wanted to do this since I was 5. I'm pretty sure I'm sure."  

Photos provided by Ali Smith (IG: alismithhair) and Rob Trendiak for Artel Salon.

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST
Fashion Photographer/Director KT Auleta Brings New York Inspiration and Images to Blanche Macdonald Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

“What drew me to fashion was how it kept moving. Nothing’s iconic any more. It’s always, ‘What’s next? What’s next?’ I like that!”

KT Auleta’s high velocity love affair with fashion continues to take her around the world. The New York City-based photographer and director is in perpetual motion, travelling from country to country shooting with clients like Hugo Boss, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, and titles including Vogue, GQ Style, Elle and Glamour. But on a layover en route to China she somehow found the time to visit Vancouver, Blanche Macdonald and her close friend, Fashion Director Tyler Udall, to give an engrossing presentation to students at Canada’s top Fashion School.

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

Over the course of a fascinating hour KT revealed her journey from intern to globetrotting photography superstar, the changing face of fashion imagery (including why she now shoots stills and video simultaneously) and the art of building a great creative team.

“I’m looking for good communicators,” she explained in response to one of many questions from the floor. “I want people to take pride in their work. I want people I can trust to do their job well. I want them to feel empowered. I love working with new models, giving them wings and watching them blossom.”

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

After fielding questions about professionalism, agents, and the potential for creativity unleashed by Instagram, KT shared her portfolio along with a hefty dose of inspiration. Her most powerful message is that by beginning their journey surrounding themselves with passionate and creative people at Blanche Macdonald, whatever fashion ambitions students are aspiring to, they’ve already taken their first step.

“This School is perfect for discovering your voice,” she insisted. “You’re in the perfect place to start building your portfolio.”

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

We asked KT eight questions in a quickfire Q&A session on our Snapchat!

Blanche Macdonald: If you could have any superpower what would it be?

KT Auleta: If I had a superpower, I think it would be to be able to jump from place to place. I like travel but I don’t often like the travelling part. 

BMC: What colour do you think your aura is?

KA: I think my aura is the colour of ice blue. I have a spiritual teacher that always says surround yourself with the colour of ice blue and I always liked the way that sounded. 

BMC: How do you feel your photo and film work intersect?

KA: I think my film and photography work intersect in that I like to capture a real true moment of expression from a model. I feel like my photography work is the moment between a movement, and I’ve always seen my photography work as a film still, like the captured moment. 

BMC: Describe your shooting style in three words.

KA: If I had to describe my work in three words it would authentic, expressive and playful. 

BMC: Three traits that are vital to your team on set. 

KA: Three things that I think are really important on set are communication, to empower my team, and to collaborate. 

BMC: Most difficult shooting situation?

KA: One of the most difficult situations for shooting is weather. If the weather is off, it’s bad for everybody: the light, the model, the comfort of the crew.

BMC: Advice you would have given yourself 10 years ago? 

KA: If I had to give myself advice ten years ago, it would be to be myself at all times and stick with my vision of my woman, my character. 

BMC: Advice you would give yourself now?

KA: Advice I would give myself now: keep growing, stay inspired, keep learning… inspiration is key! 

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!


Thu, 24 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST

Blanche Macdonald Annual Graduate Fashion Design Showcase

Join us for an afternoon of fashion at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on Wednesday, November 30th, at 3:00pm as we usher in the newest group of talented design minds. Tickets are $30.00 (taxes and service fees included). Purchase yours at Blanche Macdonald's Downtown Robson Campus (460 Robson) or by phone at 604.685.0337. 

**Reception and Portfolio Review 2:30pm | Fashion Show Begins at 3:00pm – we hope to see you there! 

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST
FROM EXCELLING AS A STUDENT TO SHINING AS A DESIGN MENTOR ANAHITA MONZAVI FINDS HER CALLING AT BLANCHE MACDONALD With thousands of artists, stylists and designers soaring into our halls from around the world each year, our classrooms have become dynamic global communities under the unitedly diverse banner of our Blanche World – a United Nations of creativity! In a glorious culture clash, our International students import a vibrant collection of new customs, insights and inspiration that colour our world in exciting new ways. The leap from their home countries to our corner of Canada comes with big change, courage and incredible journeys. Speaking in the international language of passion, we sit down with our global talent to talk the dreams that brought them here, the challenges they overcame, and all about the power of being an artistic representative in a new country. Meet the burgeoning stars that have joined us from around the globe in our UN storytelling!

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

"Fashion Design is my passion. I never get tired of what I do. It’s hard to put in words, but I never imagined I would love fashion and design the way I do. It’s just the right thing for me."

Though Anahita Monzavi graduated from Canada's Top Fashion School in the spring of 2015, she was immersed in the world of Fashion Design well before that. Originally from Esfahan, Iran, Anahita worked for over eight years in fashion before moving to Canada, with five of those years spent running a showroom and designing custom evening and bridal gowns for a myriad of A-list clients. With an inherent knack for design, Anahita is proof that talent and fate so often fall hand-in-hand. When she walked through our doors on her first day at Blanche Macdonald, we knew she was exactly where she was meant to be.

"When I first came to Canada,” she says, “I spent a lot of time researching and talking to people about which school I should go to. I already had experience so I didn't want to go back to Fashion Design school for four years. My friends and family who are from Vancouver said that I must go to Blanche Macdonald, that it was the best school. After that I did not look anywhere else."

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

After spending a mere two years in Vancouver, Anahita has gone from excelling as a student to shining as a mentor and instructor for budding designers. She's been impressing the fashion community since she first enrolled at Blanche Macdonald, so her accomplishments have come as no surprise. Investing the same attentiveness in fashion instruction as she does with her professional career, Anahita credits the mentorship of Senior Pattern Making and Construction Instructor Brenda Swinglehurst as well as Program Directors Peggy Morrison and Donna Baldock for her academic successes. 

"Studying here [at Blanche Macdonald] was the best decision I ever made,” Anahita says. “I loved every minute of it and appreciated all of my teachers so much. I'd have to say that Pattern Drafting and Garment Construction with Brenda were two of my favourite classes. I also loved Fashion Awareness with Peggy and Fashion History with Donna. I wanted to absorb everything they had to say."

Anahita’s graduate collection was an absolute knock-out. She was awarded the Special Award for Innovative Use of Materials, and for good reason. With a discerning eye and an explorative nature, Anahita constructed a crimson corset made entirely from blown glass. This difficult, labour-intensive technique resulted in a truly extraordinary garment that erased the boundaries between visual and wearable art. 

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

“I was originally inspired by stained glass windows,” Anahita explains. “The shapes and colours of the window really caught my eye. I knew it would be very hard task to create customize pieces of glass to use in my collection, but I had always wanted to do something different and challenging. I decided to take on the project. I attended glass fusing, glass blowing and glass flaming [courses] in order to learn how to make my elements. As this was a new idea and making these pieces was very hard with the fragility of the glass, nobody was really able to help me in certain areas of construction. So, I had to do it myself. The hardest part was making the mold for each piece and making holes in the bustier for the laces. Making that bustier and then being able to drill the holes for the laces successfully – after almost 15 tries – was my best moment. I stayed strong and tried over and over again till I finally made it.” Looking back at this process now, Anahita recognizes it as one of her proudest moments.

Other looks in her graduate collection included a strapless suede romper with hand-blown glass cups and a brocade satin cutaway coat with hand-embroidered, beaded, fused-fabric lining. To say it left the audience speechless would be an understatement.

Following graduation, Anahita went back to her design roots, creating a formal wear capsule collection of ten pieces. She went on to dream up a more casual label tailored to the west coast way of life, opening a studio space on East Cordova in Vancouver's artistic Railtown District.

"I've recently started my own contemporary womenswear label, ‘Aiki District’, with my design and business partner, [former Blanche Macdonald Fashion Instructor] Maneli Nourbakhsh,” Anahita says. “‘Aiki District’ is a Japanese name meaning ‘all the souls unifying with nature and harmony.’ It is about positive energies and positive attitudes."

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

Additionally, Anahita has returned to Blanche Macdonald to educate new groups of blossoming fashion designers. Her mentors have now become her collaborators.

"After I started working here [Blanche Macdonald] I felt so connected with all the people in the fashion industry,” she reveals. “I feel so lucky that I work here. I really love the environment and the people. The skills that I have learnt are because of this school. [My instructors] showed me new, easier, better ways. Because of that I've been able to build on the knowledge I had acquired in Iran."

Anahita's commitment to her craft is compelling and self-evident. Reflecting on her success so far, she describes why she’s living and working the career of her dreams. "I love that I'm able to explore ways of self-expression through my designs, creating something new every day and stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s important for me to be continually challenging myself and my abilities. I know that being a Fashion Designer is a part of who I am."

We look forward to following Anahita's career as it progresses and evolves in leaps and bounds. We have such admiration for her, and are so happy the feeling is mutual!  

Take it from Anahita: "I always tell my husband, coming to Blanche Macdonald was the best decision I ever made!"

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST

Daemon Cadman’s classes are always full of creativity and laughter, but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever accept less than the very best from her students. Behind the incredible artistry, positive attitude and ever-present smile, Daemon possesses a tenacity that she routinely passes on to her students at Canada’s Top Makeup School.

“I treat people in the classroom the same way they’ll be expected to work outside of school,” she explains. “You’ll have days when everything goes wrong. It happens to all of us. I tell students, if you’re going to have a meltdown, go to the bathroom, have a cry, then come back and do your makeup. On my first day in the Effects Shop working on Star Trek Beyond I sat in the bathroom three times because I was so stressed out. But you either quit or you do it. You look yourself in the mirror, go back out and do your best work.”

That stressful first day in the Effects Shop blossomed into seven weeks of work painting prosthetic appliances for aliens for one of this year’s guaranteed blockbusters. Which is remarkable, as Daemon doesn’t consider herself a Makeup Effects Artist. But it makes perfect sense once you understand that her entire career has been a series of unexpected triumphs. She never even set out to be a Makeup Artist.

Top Makeup School Graduate-turned-Instructor Daemon Cadman

“I grew up in a very artistic environment in Vancouver,” she recalls. “My Dad played in bands and my Mom was a writer. It was a very free environment. My Mom bought me face paints when I was about seven, which was also when I found some David Bowie and Kiss albums. I would roller-skate around the block with blonde pigtails and my face painted, usually like Ace Frehley.”

Life took a tragic turn when Daemon’s brother was murdered in 1992, triggering a radical change in her family’s lives that culminated in her father becoming Canada’s lone independent Member of Parliament. Searching for an emotional and creative outlet, Daemon formed the industrial rock band Waiting For God, touring Canada and the West Coast. Despite the band’s critical and commercial success, it couldn’t last. 

“I didn’t know what to do when the band broke up,” she admits. “Music had given me a focal point up to then. A friend was at Blanche Macdonald and needed a model for a hair class, so I volunteered. As I was sitting there I thought, I might be able to do this. I’d done theatrical makeup and my band was pretty Goth, so I wore a lot of black Makeup. I thought it would be a natural fit!”

Top Makeup School Graduate-turned-Instructor Daemon Cadman

Considering the great artist she’s become, it comes as a surprise to learn that Daemon wasn’t an instant star in the classroom.

“I struggled at first,” she admits. “Everyone seemed to be good at bridal and pretty, soft makeup. My makeup would be heavy-handed or theatrical. I wore over the top makeup and all my friends did too. My teacher, Alannah Krutina, sat down with me and told me to grab basic makeup photos and look at them every single day. I did exactly that and eventually started to understand the artistry involved in it. I always appreciated my teachers’ honesty. They would tell me when something wasn’t good enough, and how to fix it.”

One short week after graduating Daemon was already on the set of her first student film. Which is where she learned that despite her initial nervousness, she would be able to overcome any challenge. 

“They forgot to tell me that a stunt double was coming in! My actor had long blonde hair and the double had dark hair. I needed to come up with a quick solution. I ended up taking hair gel, scooping out some yellow foundation, mixing it up and slapping it on. It was horrific to look at close up, but it created an illusion for a longer shot. And it worked! You never know what’s going to be thrown at you as a Makeup Artist. You have to adapt!

Top Makeup School Graduate-turned-Instructor Daemon Cadman

“I wasn’t aiming to get into TV and film but the offers kept coming. This business is all about networking. You have to get out there and work. I really wanted to create fashion and avant garde makeup but I would take any makeup job that came along. I demoed for Calvin Klein at Holt Renfrew, which seemed like a strange fit as I had purple hair at the time. I was doing shoots and fashion shows in boutiques. I was hustling all the time.”

With the heart of an artist beating inside her, Daemon wanted to explore new techniques and opportunities. This was before Blanche Macdonald had incorporated an airbrush module into our Makeup Programs. So she bought one of her own and took the first workshop she was able to attend. 

“The workshop was essentially ‘Here’s how to use it, don’t hurt yourself!’” she laughs. “Not long after that I was contacted by Molstar Entertainment which led to me doing bodypainting every time the Molson Indy race was held in Vancouver which was a great gig. I kept the connection, and that led to bodypainting work for Audi. When you have a good connection it will almost always lead to other jobs.”

Top Makeup Artist Daemon Cadman

Daemon’s artistic and interpersonal skills led to work for Vancouver’s Absolute Spa Group, cosmetics line Fudge Warpaint and countless others. But her favourite job, one she has cherished for over a decade, is her role as instructor at Canada’s top Makeup School. 

“Blanche Macdonald is special. Everyone here will share everything they know. I honestly want my students to be better than me! I love teaching. I’m literally painting every single day I come in. But the thing I love the most is when I see my students doing well as professionals. I’m so happy for them.

“I try to inspire students. I’m honest with them too. That sometimes means telling them that they’re aiming too high and their ideas won’t work right now. They might work in the future, but they need to build their skills first. Of course it’s fun to be creative, but I tell my students, ‘smoky eyes are probably going to pay your rent.’ They realize that creating a flawless face is an art itself, even though not everyone perceives that immediately.”

Top Makeup School Graduate-turned-Instructor Daemon Cadman

Students in Daemon’s airbrush classes instantly understand that they’re learning from one of the best. Expanding from the face to the entire body, from fashion looks to entire characters, is always challenging. Skill and creativity are essential. So is confidence. 

“The principles of art are the same but if I gave an artist a four by four canvas and said, I need a masterpiece in four hours, they’d tell me that they couldn’t get it done in that time. With bodypainting you need to get a masterpiece done in four hours. You’re working on a person that needs to take breaks and get on with their life. I tell students that they can do it, but there are no do-overs. You can’t always wipe it off and start again. If it’s not going according to plan you need to morph your idea and make it work.”

Making things work is a running theme in Daemon’s life. Which is why when her husband, special effects wizard and fellow Blanche Macdonald grad and instructor Holland Miller, saw that Joel Harlow’s effects shop needed a helping hand airbrush painting aliens for Star Trek Beyond, he knew exactly who they could call.

“I was supposed to be there for a week,” laughs Daemon. “After three days I was painting a character when Joel Harlow walks in, says nice to meet me, and tells me that I need to come up with a separate paint job on the piece for another shot; the same species of alien, but recognisable as a different character. I came up with another idea and Joel loved it.

“There are no practice prosthetics at that level. The first piece I worked on cost $12,000. That means ‘Don’t mess this up!’”

Top Makeup School Graduate-turned-Instructor Daemon Cadman

Photos provided by Daemon Cadman:

Daemon's Top 5 Bodypaint Makeup Esssentials

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST