As we nestle into the clients’ lounge of Barbarella Hair Saloon with Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair graduate Nessa Pineda, the six-chair corridor-style layout is sunlit and buzzing. We start in, and the other stylists chirp in intermittently as they frisk by, plucking product off the shelves, whisking bowls of yummy pastel pastes, laughing through the hum of dryers. Some come to lounge with us in between clients, their hair twisted up into bows, or tinged in toothsome hues. The atmosphere is vibrant and blithe for so early in the morning. And yet...

“Well, I believe that the salon is haunted,” Nessa declares, eyes glinting from behind her signature thick black frames. “So there are definitely some crazy things that have happened. A few weeks ago the manager, Erin and I were opening the salon and we hear this noise. In our back room we have two sinks, and the one for the colour bowls was completely turned on…

“And my hairdryer turned on by itself yesterday!” proclaims Haley, another stylist, with an ominous look as she struts back to her station tailing her customer from the sink.

We can only speculate as to the spooky origins of the salon’s omnipresent client, but one thing that can be stated for certain is that Nessa loves being a Stylist at Barbarella. Ghost or no ghost.

“We see so many different clients here! Our services are very colour heavy, and we’re always trying something new, so it doesn’t get boring. 

“It’s a great team and the owners really emphasize on teamwork. It’s nice to come into an environment where there isn’t that competition, and where you feel comfortable sending your clients over to another stylist when you’re away because you know that they’re going to do an awesome job.”

Top Hair School Graduate Nessa Pineda

Nessa has been stationed at Barbarella for four years now, and she’s somewhat of a veteran of the Main Street hair hub, which sees multi-hued youth and unique-seekers of Vancouver flocking for seats. Those that plunk down at Nessa’s station are never disappointed – she loves what she does, and she does it with brilliance.    

“I love the freedom and the creativity of hair styling! I’m not an office person, so it’s nice to be exposed to new things every day – it’s never the same! And I love making the client happy, giving them what they want. People are investing their money into this so it’s really important to make sure they adore the outcome; that you’re putting a lot of work and care into it.

“My favourite is when someone wants to cut their hair off, when they come in saying they want a transformation. Making people happy and seeing their face light up when they’re going through that change is so fun. I love that aspect of my job.”

Nessa was quite nearly an office person. Growing up in Ottawa, Ontario, she’d had her heart set on Law School, but it was during a reflection on the straight-ahead track of this career that she realized she needed something more dynamic. Coming from a family of hairstylists, Nessa thought she might try out a Hair program first; at the least she could use it to pay her way through Law School later on. She hunkered down for some Google-ing, but Blanche Macdonald’s Pro Hair Program link was the first, and only, she needed to see.  

“I’d been to Vancouver before, and it was a great reason to come back out this way. I had heard nothing but amazing things from this school; Blanche Macdonald has a great reputation. One of my friends from high school had moved out here at the same time, so it worked out perfectly!”

Top Hair School Graduate Nessa Pineda

When Nessa finally did arrive to her first day at Hair School, she was taken aback by how fulfilled her cravings for study and challenge could actually be in such a creative field.  

“A lot of people have these misconceptions when it comes to doing hair. I definitely did. I thought that I was going to come in, learn how to cut hair and that was it, but there was a lot of knowledge to it. You have to be very studious, very on point with everything that’s going on. It can be fast-paced, and you have to put the work into it to keep up.  

“It’s definitely an amazing program, even if it does ask a lot of you. There will be days that are hard, and there will be days that are great. Just keep your head up and really put your best effort into it. And get a part time job at a salon while you’re in school if you can! That way you’re already starting out on that outside-of-school education too.”

It’s advice that comes from experience. Through Blanche Macdonald’s Work Experience program, an internship network built right into the Pro Hair curriculum, Nessa started on at Barbarella Hair Saloon, and the Owner was so impressed with her technique and ethic that she hired her on immediately after. Nessa was handed one of few slots in one of Vancouver’s most coveted hair nooks, and she hadn’t even graduated yet.

“As soon as I started working at Barbarella I was like, ‘Forget Law School!’ I realized then that I am a creative person and wouldn’t have been happy staying in one place my whole life. I like the movement of where I’m at now.”

Top Hair School Graduate Nessa Pineda

And she’s active in keeping her momentum going; between the steady streams of snips and shades she doles out at Barbarella, Nessa also finds the time to collaborate with local creatives on editorial photo shoots, work the behind-the-scenes of runway shows, and beautify brides as a freelance stylist. It keeps her on her toes, and always learning.

It’s good to keep well-rounded with everything, and connected. A lot of people tend to just focus on one side of Hair, but the nice thing about our world is that there’s so much you can do. In such a broad industry, being able to do bridal and to do editorial is an asset. It keeps things interesting, and so that you’re not necessarily stuck to the chair.

It’s so important to keep educating yourself because it keeps things fresh and keeps you relevant in what’s going on. It broadens your spectrum in how to be the best stylist that you can be. Once you stop learning, and stop updating yourself, is when you get bored.

Top Hair School Graduate Nessa Pineda

Keeping to the vanguard of the industry is something Nessa is familiar with. She’s lucky to have bosses that support her in her personal boundary pushing, sending her to the Vidal Sassoon Academy a few years back, and nominating her Salon Ambassador for their sustainable beauty line, Davines. She’s discovering that her love for learning is only one leg of a cycle that she’d like to propel.

I get to go to classes with other Ambassadors and Educators around the city. We get the first look at new collections or products that the brand is putting out, so that we can then bring back this knowledge to our salons to educate our co-workers and clients on what's coming up. It’s something that I really enjoy, and that speaks to where I’d like to be in the next few years.

“Eventually I’d like to move into education. I feel like there’s a lot of mentorship being made available in this industry, and I would really love to be able to be a part of shaping up-and-coming stylists.”

For now, Nessa is happy keeping Vancouver in fine chop and saturated hues. We leave her to prep for her first client, parting through the bright bustle with furtive glances over shoulders, in the hopes of spotting the elusive specter of Barbarella Saloon.

Nessa Pineda Q&A

Mon, 24 Aug 2015 00:00:00 PST
'A LITTLE ARTISTRY' GOES A LONG WAY - Q & A WITH AWARD-WINNING BODYPAINT ARTIST, BMC MAKEUP GRADUATE JENNIFER LITTLE! “I am a firm believer in not censoring your art. I love to turn difficult subjects around and bring attention to them in beauty. Not everybody sees it that way, but it always gets people talking whether they agree with it or not. Art should make you feel something. It’s so important.”

Top Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Jennifer Little

As one of Vancouver’s leading Freelance Makeup and Bodypaint artists, Jennifer Little has made it her job to boldly push the boundaries of beauty beyond the face, sparking engaging conversations in art, body positivity and even animal rights under her self-started banner 'A Little Artistry.' Wielding airbrush gun and a rapid-fire hand with hues, Jennifer has slicked the planes of the body with creatives that boggle the mind – see pin-up zombies, scarecrow goddesses and animorphs – for leading performers, artists, charities, private and corporate clients. Over the course of her career, she’s taken four 1st Place, a 2nd Place, and three 3rd place bodypainting competition wins and has been Art Director and Judge at some of the city’s largest bodypaint events. The Canucks jersey trompe l’oeil paints she created during the Stanley Cup Finals broke national news. And in the last two years, she's been published more than ever before for publications like Vogue Italia. She’s been making Makeup magic for over fifteen years, and she’s at it just as fiercely as ever before.

Having worked all areas of the professional Makeup game – from fashion to bridal to television and celebrity (cue Gothic Lolita star La Carmina) with vigorous independence and artistic verve, Jennifer is a dynamic force and an inspiration for anyone looking to make it out in the Freelance world. We sit down with Jennifer to talk telling tales in paint, mornings with Much Music VJ’s and how being a risk-taker takes the biggest reward.  

Top Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Jennifer Little

What’s special about bodypainting? Why do you love it as much as you do?

It’s just so creative and colourful, bold and attention getting! Bodypainting is a really good way to get a message across because you’re already engaging people’s attention with the fact that you’re working on a human canvas.

You do quite a lot of these live painting sessions! What is it like having people engage with you while you’re creating?

I love it! I’ve always been a people person. I started bodypainting with the Taboo Naughty and Nice Show, so to have people watching, talking to you and interacting with you is how I first learned.

What are some things that you have to consider when working on such an intimate scale?

You have to up your level of professionalism. Not all models or clients are comfortable in their own skin. With a lot of people, even their partners won’t see them in the form that I get to see them. It’s a very intimate service and people have to let their guard down right away. I try to set the atmosphere so that they’re as comfortable as possible: making sure they’re well fed, putting on easy music. Many models are used to being on stage or changing backstage with other girls, but private clients don’t have that automatic openness and comfort being in their own skin. I try to encourage it in our sessions together!

Top Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Jennifer Little

You work with artists and organizations that are so empowered in their own skin, and that champion body-positivity. But in these private clients that are maybe not so comfortable in this, do you see a change after your sessions?

Being bodypainted is completely liberating. I have seen people do a one-eighty; from the booking process to having finished their appointment they are, to me, a completely different person. I’ve had people so happy and proud of themselves that they went through with this service that they cry. Having a bride cry because she’s so happy, feels beautiful, and emotions are running high is one thing, but having someone who’s closed-off or over-sensitive or self-conscious, and having them break out of their shell is another. It’s something that is a hundred percent for them! And even just having the consultation process to figure out who they are, what they like and what exactly they need from this, is so empowering.

Looking back, was there an ‘Aha – meant to be an Artist or Makeup Artist’ moment growing up?

I never thought when I was a kid that I would become a Makeup Artist – I wanted to be a photojournalist for National Geographic. I have always been interested in photography, long before I was interested in Makeup.

With what I do, I am still telling stories with pictures. So I haven’t swayed too far from my original dream career!

That’s very interesting! So how then did you end up here?

I did a lot of TV & Film extra work and some modeling as a teenager, so the profession was familiar and alluring to me already. I first spotted BMC at a career fair when I was in grade 12 – something about it caught my attention. Honestly it was probably the colour [she laughs]. I had always wanted to work with people. I’ve always coloured outside of the lines, if you will, and having a human canvas was very intriguing to me.

My parents asked, ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’ And I said, ‘I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I think I’m going to be really good at it.’ I was, and I absolutely love it still.

Did you have a favourite class?

My favourite was Fashion – I loved it. It was more outside of the box; Beauty and Bridal are creative, but not on the level that I was needing.

Daemon was my Fashion instructor and she was super fun! It was really easy to relate to her, and she broke it all down so well.

Top Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Jennifer Little

After graduating you worked around at a few cosmetic retail counters before settling in at Spa Utopia. Is this where you met Jon Paul Holt, Avant Garde’s Salon Owner?

Yes! They brought him in to head the creative team, which they had assembled to do more shows and magazine shoots. I was the Key Makeup Artist, working at the Pan Pacific at the time, and him and I just hit it off!

Tell me about the creative connection between you two; it seems you are forever dreaming up the next wild concept for Avant Garde’s photo shoots!

When I left Spa Utopia, after about five years, I called him to tell him that I was really sorry that I wasn’t going to be able to work with him anymore. He said, [Jennifer dons a suave British accent here] ‘Now don’t be silly darling, you’ll start in with me on Monday!’ He took me in and I immediately started in at Avant Garde. I’ve been their house Makeup Artist ever since.

I’m very blessed to have people that trust my ability. We’ll know what each other is thinking for the final look. You’re always going to get the best work out of that – when you bring together people who are the best at what they do, and let them do what they do.

Top Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Jennifer Little

You work with so many BIG personalities – lots of performers and other artists. Tell me a little bit about the energy on set!

It can be really chaotic! Though, I’ve been really lucky in that all of the people that I’ve worked with – for the most part, 95% – are doing what they love. We’re all immersed in our passions at the same time and so I get to see the best side of these artists. They know my work and my skill level so they trust me to do what I do. It’s always a good time. I’ve gained some of my best friends from them coming to me as clients or models.

What is one of the coolest private commissions you’ve ever had?

I’ve been blessed to see a lot of incredible events that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to see just by being able to work them!

Working as a Key for the Olympics was definitely a highlight. It was A LOT of work. It was a month solid with no days off, 12 to 16 hours a day. I was lucky that I had pulled the day shift so my clock was still a little bit normal!

How did that come about?

I was working with CTV at the time. About a year before, they told us they were going to need Makeup Artists to cover the event. They asked if I would you be willing to be stationed in Whistler for a month. I said, ‘Yep, when do I leave?’

I was working with broadcasters, athletes, some performers. These were broadcasters from the BBC and from all around the world. The makeup was very minimal; most of the athletes did not want to wear makeup, but needed a little concealer and a lipstick to be camera-ready because it was all HD. The first people in my chair every single day for the whole month were the MUCH Music VJ’s and they were so sweet. I absolutely loved starting my day with them; they made it a lot easier to be there at five in the morning. They were doing live TV for the whole month and they were exhausted. One of the girls would come sit in my chair all wrapped up in her hoodie and her scarf, with her giant coffee, and I would hold her head and do her makeup while she napped!

Top Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Jennifer Little

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?

As a freelance artist you take constant risks. I’ve had friends ask me how I do it, not having that comfort of knowing exactly where the next thing is coming from. I just go out there and I look for the work – it’s a hustle and you have to hustle to make it work. It’s all worth it, and I keep doing it, because working for myself, doing what I want to do and having that creative freedom is an incredible thing. And having clients return to me year after year, event after event – there’s a lot of satisfaction in that too.

Advice for burgeoning artists?

Never say no to anything – to a point. There will come a time in your career where you will feel comfortable with saying no because you will have built your portfolio, you will have earned your credit, you will have built your name. There’s a lot of trade-for-print in Vancouver’s Makeup and Fashion industry, which means there’s always somebody willing to collaborate for free. There will come a point where you can’t just do every collaborative because you have to value your time, your skill, your products and you have to value yourself. So, take the time to build your network, always presenting yourself as professionally as possible even if it is a trade gig; you never know who you’re going to meet at that gig and what that person’s network is. Always challenge yourself and have fun with it.

Jennifer Little's Top 5 Bodypaint Product Picks

Tue, 11 Aug 2015 00:00:00 PST
Hair and Makeup Create Movie Set Magic for Two-Time Graduate Kara Alaric Top Hair and Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Kara Alaric

Blanche Macdonald Makeup and Hair graduate Kara Alaric knows exactly when she fell in love with the movies. To her, they’re more than entertainment. They’re a connection to great times.

“Every Friday night growing up in Whitehorse my family would go to the video store and rent the VHS tapes we’d watch that weekend,” she recalls. “But I never thought I would make movies. My family called me a while ago to say that they found the DVD of Lonesome Dove Church, the first big movie I worked on, in Walmart. Seeing my name in the credits was so exciting for them. And it wasn’t even in the $6.99 bin!”

Kara doesn’t rent movies any more. She helps create them, starring on the hair and makeup teams on TV and film crews in her adopted hometown of Vancouver. In addition to her work as Key Hair Stylist on Lonesome Dove Church (featuring the great Tom Berenger), Kara has been in the thick of the behind-the-scenes action on series like When Calls The Heart, CBC’s Full Flood and the Garage Sale Mystery series of TV movies starring Full House’s Lori Loughlin. 

“There’s a huge sense of accomplishment when you work in film,” she explains. “It’s a big group effort and it’s an incredible feeling when the crew is on the same page and everyone works together. My priority is to get my job done efficiently. But I’m also a fan of having fun. Once you establish camaraderie with a crew it’s really rewarding.”

Top Hair and Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Kara Alaric

As a TV and film hair stylist and makeup artist, Kara knows all about lengthy workdays and nights. But she’s never been afraid of putting in the hours to work on her craft. While still a high school student she represented the Yukon in Canada’s National Artist Program as a tattoo apprentice. Although it took what seemed like a minor disaster to set her on the path to Canada’s top Hair and Makeup School and the movies. 

“I got dumped!” she laughs. “Via text message! I cried for a day then decided to change my life. I realized that nobody could make me happy apart from myself. I thought, what could I do that’s artistic and will give my life some structure? I typed ‘Hair Schools in Canada’ into Google and Blanche Macdonald came up first.” 

Kara arrived at Hair School looking for structure. She found inspiration. 

“I loved it. When Marcy Hodel taught my class the TV and Film module we learned to wrap hair to put on wigs. The idea of hair styling for film really opened a new door for me. As part of the Hair program we had a two-week taste of Makeup too. Ashley Forshaw was my instructor. Now we work on set together!” 

Top Hair and Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Kara Alaric

Kara moved back to the Yukon and enjoyed a short stint working in a Whitehorse salon. But the lure of Vancouver, and the chance to add to her skill set at Blanche Macdonald, proved too strong to resist.

“I figured, why not increase my opportunity to be hired in the future? So I took the Makeup program and loved it! I thought I was going to work in fashion until I got a second taste of TV and Film and Makeup Effects. Who wouldn’t want to learn from Sydney Silvert? He has continuity photos of him hanging out on set with Johnny Depp! I loved his honesty, which is what you need in this industry. It’s either camera-ready or not. I thought, if all these instructors are working on TV shows and movies, why can’t I do the same?”

Kara understood that making the leap from Makeup School to professional movie sets wasn’t going to happen without a concerted effort to acquire as much experience as possible. 

“I volunteered all the time at Makeup school. It was like my time was on fast forward. I got a job working at the MAC Pro store on Robson Street early into the program. My experience there helped me so much. Working in retail taught me how to deal with people. It’s your job to instil confidence in people, and that’s a really rewarding feeling.”

Filling her time with every makeup opportunity she could carve for herself, Kara entered the world’s most prestigious makeup student competition and finished a couldn’t-be-closer second in the Character Prosthetics category at the Toronto IMATS

“That was really exciting. I placed second by one point. The Makeup Artist who beat me was Darla Edin, who just won the most recent series of Face Off. When you show someone your résumé and they see you competed at IMATS they know your passion and willingness to take a risk. You know you’re not scared to show what you can do in front of a live audience!” 

Top Hair and Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Kara Alaric

Kara had already started her journey into TV and film, working on student film projects, when a call out of the blue propelled her into major league territory.

“I got a call from an acquaintance Makeup Artist one day saying, ‘Hey, I heard you do hair. Want to Key Hair on a movie?’ I still don’t know how she got my name and number. I had never keyed anything but of course I said yes! I didn’t realize that the show was Lonesome Dove Church. Tom Berenger was the lead and this was way bigger than any student film project. Greyston Holt from Bitten was in the movie as well. His career was taking off. He’s very grounded, which is my experience with most of the actors I’ve worked with so far. It’s great to work with people when there’s no ego. I had a blast! I was excited for the opportunity and the knowledge that it was going to open more doors for me. Which it did! Now there’s a group of actors who like me and enjoy working with me more. The Unauthorized Story of Saved By The Bell was a Lifetime TV movie and another fun project I was a part of. I remember going home from school as a young teenager and watching Saved By The Bell. Now I’m working on a movie of the week about it! It was such a fun show to be a part of. I love the ’80s! 

“The opportunity to find creative solutions is always there. During Full Flood I hand-made hairpieces for a character where I combined shaving and extensions to give an actor a hairstyle no one would ever want. And it’s exciting to have the opportunity to do that. I love getting involved with effects on a character design level. If I could make westerns and bloody horror movies all the time, that would be fine with me.”

Top Hair and Makeup School Graduate and Instructor Kara Alaric

Another thing that Kara adores is sharing her knowledge and passion with the next generation. And although her schedule is too busy to allow her to commit to teaching regularly at Blanche Macdonald, she adores her time in our classrooms. 

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t ever stop learning. Teaching doesn’t just help students learn things. You learn so much from your students too. The way they approach new things and comprehend them is so exciting to see. When they don’t understand something you have to think of new ways to teach them. Once that light bulb goes on it’s such a rewarding feeling to know that you’ve broken through that barrier. When you show makeup students how much that can add to their skill set, and how much that can make them more employable, they soon understand. 

“The TV and film lifestyle isn’t for everyone. You can’t go out partying every weekend. You must take care of yourself. You need to eat well and sleep when you can. You need integrity, common sense and professionalism. It helps to be a little bit crazy. But every day you can see your accomplishments and how it adds to the completed project. You can really see the hours paying off! And if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?”

Kara Alaric's Top 10 Makeup and Hair Kit Essentials

Thu, 06 Aug 2015 00:00:00 PST
BMC QUEEN SUPREMES - MEET OUR DRAG STARS! Florid torrents of sequin and chiffon, city streets steeped in electrifying beats of laughter and hoorahs – it simply must be...

PRIDE! The annual fiesta where our city blitz-and-glitzes through the streets to celebrate and be loud about our collective uniqueness in sexual orientation, gender, and gender choice. We love being a part of this brilliant, diverse and empowered community! And after the vibrant victories for the gay rights movement in the USA and Ireland this year, the 37th annual Vancouver Pride was bound to be one of the most vivacious yet! 

Our creative classrooms are built upon a culture of power-in-expression and absolute self-ness, and we’ve seen some truly incredible, utterly divine individuals find their voice here in our halls. With the Pride parade strutting up fast and fabulous, we reached out to a FIERCE five from our Blanche family who have been taking the local drag scene by storm.

Jaylene Tyme: Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate and CQ Talent Leader

But of course, we must leave some of the introduction up to our resident Drag Queen Supreme, the terrifically inspiring, mind-bogglingly talented Jaylene Tyme, Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate and CurliQue Beauty Q Talent Leader! Jaylene’s realm of experience in both self discovery and transformative artistry has made her a powerful role model in our family, and a maternal icon out on the Drag Queen scene of Vancouver (serving realness and wisdom as Empress a few years back) – we simply cannot think of anyone better to kick off this dazzling week!

“One of the greatest opportunities I’ve enjoyed at Blanche Macdonald is that in which I get to be part of a family that creates a safe environment for everyone to explore. I remember how important it was for me when I was in school! As artists, we need to feel free to be 100% authentic. The creative journey is all about being able to let go completely so that the only limit is our imagination! My heart has been so full being able to witness both artistry and the human spirit take flight in these halls.

“During Pride season, we celebrate the diversity in our communities. Vancouver boasts a fierce and eclectic drag community, and Blanche Macdonald alumni are at the top of this art form. Who doesn't love a good Drag Queen at Pride?! Check out these fabulous artists! HAPPY PRIDE!!

Top Makeup School Graduate Matthew Boubille, POISON APPLE

How did Poison Apple come about?

Poison Apple really came about in my childhood. As a kid I lived in my imagination and dreamt of dressing like some of my favourite movie characters, characters like Cruella De Vil or the Evil Queen, and they all still serve as a huge inspiration for Poison Apple's looks and personality.

If you could sum up Poison Apple in an equation, that equation would be...?

She's equal parts good and evil – you just don't ever know which side you'll get.

Tricks to beat the Pride parade heat and keep fabulous into the night?

Wear the biggest, most over-the-top sun hat you can find. They look fabulous and keep your face from melting off!

One technique you learned at Blanche Macdonald that was a game-changer for your drag beauty routine?

During the course we spend a lot of time studying bone structure and the science behind contouring to alter the shape of the face, and that's been a huge help for me. I was definitely guilty of some racing-stripe contouring before learning the fine-tuning behind it, and my makeup has become so much more refined as a result!

Your fave Queen?

Always and forever, Alyssa Edwards.

If you could do any onstage duet, what would be the song, who would be your accompaniment, and what would you wear?

Obviously I'd duet with my Queen Lana Del Rey, we'd do all of Born To Die and I'd wear my favourite little 60's chiffon baby doll dress.

What are you most proud about in your life/Drag happenings/career?

I'm proud of where I've come from and where I'm going. I never thought Makeup or Drag could be such an integral part of my life, but now here I am, living in the city, going to school for my passion and being part of a beautiful, creative and accepting LGBTQ community that celebrates and appreciates diversity.

What does it mean to you to be able to express yourself like this at Blanche, in Vancouver?

Having the opportunity to expand as an artist at Blanche Macdonald has been life changing. My confidence as an artist has grown so much and the relationships I've developed along the way are priceless. It's been wonderful to learn with a group of girls just as eager as me and I can't wait to see where we all go.

What are your Pride plans?

This Pride I'm super excited to be hosting Backdoor on Friday July 31, performing for Celebrities the next day, and being a part of their float for the parade on Sunday! I'll also be starting my new job at Sephora, which I got with help from powder-puff extraordinaire (and one of my favourite instructors), Fay Von Schroeder. 

Top Hair School Graduate Aaron Brousseau, Katy Hairy

How did Katy Hairy come about?

The performance and entertainment factor of Drag has always intrigued me. When I mentioned to a friend that I was interested in doing Drag in a new way – like lumberjack vs. pageant queen or a Cyndi-Lauper-George-Michael mash-up – we started brainstorming and Katy Hairy was born!

Tricks to beat the Pride parade heat and keep fabulous into the night?

x1 obnoxiously large fan for both theatrical and practical purposes. And don't forget your setting spray! I personally love Green Marble by SeLr!

One technique you learned at Blanche Macdonald that was a game-changer for your drag beauty routine?

Blending, blending, blending!!!!

Your fave Queen?

My drag idol is Grace Towers – not only is she a beautifully bearded Queen and one of my biggest inspirations, but she has also done so much for our community.

If you could do any onstage duet, what would be the song, who would be your accompaniment, and what would you wear?

Islands in the stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers – and I would do both parts myself!!! (Wearing an adorably cheesy split costume, Kenny on one side looking all dapper in his suit and tie, and Dolly in one of her MANY glamorous sequined gowns!)

What are you most proud about in your life/Drag happenings/career?

I'm most proud of the name I've created with the Community in such a short amount of time! I am so grateful for all of the support that I have been shown <3

What does it mean to you to be able to express yourself like this at Blanche, in Vancouver?

When I was Attending the Pro Hair program at Blanche I loved how the teachers encouraged and inspired creativity at all levels of learning.

Tell me a little about Sweet N Sticky!

#SweetNSticky is a monthly show that I put on in Kitsilano at Displace Hashery, Co-Hosted by Evita Versace. We are going on our 5th show and its been a smash hit since the first event! You can find pictures and vid clips on Instagram @SweetNSticky

What are your Pride plans?

I will be performing at Junction on Wednesday July 29th for the charity show Faux Girls. And on Thursday the 30th, I will be hosting #SweetNSticky! Doors at 8pm, show at 9:30-ish. EVERYONE is welcome!!

When not wrapped up in things #StickNSweet, Aaron is busy dishing out toothsome candy hues as a Master Colourist at Illusion Studio & Spa – read all about his story here:

ILONA: Blanche Macdonald Global Makeup student Mitchal Verley

How did Ilona come about?

I had been wanting to get into drag for the longest time. However, I didn’t want to pick some random name I would change later on. I started working with a super sassy 87 year old German lady, and her and I became really close; she was super interested in learning about queer culture and would always bring me Bobbi Brown makeup! I knew that I had to name my drag persona after her!

If you could sum up Ilona in an equation, that equation would be...?

50% of Ilona would be if you put all the Japanese street styles in a blender, and the other 50% would be very inspired by Adore Delano ripping off Kylie Jenner…LOL.

Tricks to beat the Pride parade heat and keep fabulous into the night?

Show up long enough for some selfies then head to the lake – no one will ever know. JK! Pray to the weather gods that it’s not scorching hot?? That and Green Marble SeLr!

One technique you learned at Blanche Macdonald that was a game-changer for your drag beauty routine?

HOW TO OVERDRAW LIPS AND NOT LOOK LIKE A CLOWN! THANKS JON! (+ Everything from Jaylene’s Drag demo, let’s be real here!)

Your fave Queen?

This is a tough one, so I’m gonna pick 2: Adore Delano because I LOVEEE her style and aesthetic and [local scene Queen] Jane Smoker because she is an INSANEEEE performer and I look up to her work ethic a lot!

If you could do any onstage duet, what would be the song, who would be your accompaniment, and what would you wear?

I’d love to do Genesis by Grimes with Jane Smoker, even though it would be more of performance art thing than a drag number – I just really love the outfits that Grimes wears in the vid. And who else can do Brooke Candy but Jane? Pretty much no one… bahhaa!

What are you most proud about in your life/Drag happenings/career?

The biggest moment for me so far was when my girl Frost Blossoms took me to Adore Delano’s concert and I was pulled up on stage to perform a number! It was my first time ever performing and it was randomly, accidentally, kind of opening for Adore!?

What does it mean to you to be able to express yourself like this at Blanche, in Vancouver?

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to come to Blanche was because I really wanted to get into drag and further my Makeup abilities. It’s meant the world to me having the whole Blanche family at my side through my crazy journey and I’m SOOO grateful! It feels so good to know that I’m a part of such an awesome thing at BMC!

What are your Pride plans?

Tuesday July 28th I’ll be performing at Peach Cobblah’s Shame Spiral: Peach’s Biggest Mistake, and Wednesday July 29th I’ll be performing at Faux Girls at the Junction for their Pride show (doors at 10pm, cover is donation to charity!). For the parade itself you can catch me on the float for Rent Cheque/ Babe Bang!

Makeup School Graduate Derek Lauscher, PYXIE MCQUEEN

How did Pyxie McQueen come about?

After coming out, the first thing I did was go to Vancouver Pride in full drag! Pyxie was a way for me to show the world how happy I was to finally be able to accept myself as gay.

If you could sum up Pyxie McQueen in an equation, that equation would be...?

Confidence + Beauty = Bombshell Performer        

Tricks to beat the Pride parade heat and keep fabulous into the night?

Firstly, I’ll set my makeup with translucent powder (a lot of it) and then seal everything in with a healthy layer of Green Marble FX Sealing Spray. It works wonders!

One technique you learned at Blanche Macdonald that was a game-changer for your drag beauty routine?

Blanche has taught me so many things that have helped me create the vixen that it is Pyxie. I think the biggest game changer is really the in-depth knowledge I obtained of Chiaroscuro. Without that, I would have no idea how to properly highlight and contour my features.  

Your fave Queen?

My favourite Drag Queen would have to be RuPaul Charles. She’s been such a strong hand behind starting the careers of so many of the Queens I love today.

If you could do any onstage duet, what would be the song, who would be your accompaniment, and what would you wear?

I would have to break the rules and do a group number to “Lady Marmalade”. With Raja Gemini, Manila Luzon, and Raven. The song would have a Lace and Leather theme to it, and Pyxie would rock a few body chains haha.

What are you most proud about in your life/Drag happenings/career?

To date I would have to say I am most proud of making it to the final day of Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar 2015. Having never done performances of that caliber before, I was extremely proud to make it to the finale show.

What does it mean to you to be able to express yourself like this at Blanche, in Vancouver?

I am so grateful to Blanche for the platform they have given me. They take pride in their graduates and have helped me to become a stronger Makeup Artist and Drag performer within the Vancouver scene.

What are your Pride plans?

Pride is going to be a very busy time for me this year. I will be performing multiple times while taking part in as many of the festivities that I can. Be sure to come out and see Pyxie doing what she loves!!

Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair Graduate Jordan Nogiec, Lana Lovelace

How did Lana LoveLace come about?

Lana LoveLace came about years ago. She started when I started playing around with Makeup. I always wanted to entertain and she let me do that!

If you could sum up Lana LoveLace in an equation, that equation would be...?

I would sum her up as a Female Impersonator with a quick-witted attitude and a wicked sense of fashion!

Tricks to beat the Pride parade heat and keep fabulous into the night?

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray and a fan.

One technique you learned at Blanche Macdonald that was a game-changer for your drag beauty routine?

Setting and styling wigs and hairpieces – hair in my type of drag is CRUCIAL. If it looks like a wig, it’s a wig.

Your fave Queen?

My fave famous queen is Violet Chachki (Winner of Season 7 RuPaul’s Drag Race) and my fave local queen is either Beardonce (originality and fierceness is everything) OR Tiffany Ann Co (sister queen, fish & fabulous)

If you could do any onstage duet, what would be the song, who would be your accompaniment, and what would you wear?

I would duet with Kendall Gender – she is personally one of my good friends. We started drag at the same time and she's become quite known and successful! We would probably do some sort of Fifth Harmony or Destiny’s Child song. We would pull inspiration from a 90's girl group and wear cohesive outfits that didn't match too much, but that would let you know that they were put together for us!

What are you most proud about in your life/Drag happenings/career?

I’m most proud of myself. I'm from a small homophobic town in Ontario and drag isn't accepted. I’m proud that I have built the confidence in myself to walk the streets of downtown Vancouver alone in full face and feel loved.

What does it mean to you to be able to express yourself like this at Blanche, in Vancouver?

Blanche was an awesome environment to express my drag goals! Everyone was so supportive and always eager to see photos or come to events with Lana.

What are your Pride plans?

I’ll be working at a popular gay bar on Davie, The PumpJack Pub. I fell in love with the staff and started working there part-time to give me an opportunity to build my salon clientele when I began working professionally in a salon!

Lana Lovelace has #flawless hair for a reason – read all about Jordan’s Pro Hair success story here!

Learn more about Blanche Macdonald's Makeup and Pro Hair Programs!

Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:00:00 PST
#BMCSOCIALSAYERS: Jill Lansky of The August Diaries The internet – the final and ever-expanding frontier of, well, everything. These Blanche Macdonald SUPERstars are storming the boundaries with a visual vengeance and boldness in voice, as mega-influencers on the World Wide Web. They are bloggers, vloggers, Insta-stars and Facebook friends to millions in the online community. They are beauty gurus, style mavens, entrepreneurs and artists. They are doing what they love, doing it with passion, and sharing this passion the world over, often making of it a killer career. Want to know what it takes to make it, and make a difference online? Take a leaf from the feeds of our #BMCSOCIALSAYERS!   

Top Fashion Marketing School Graduate Jill Lansky

Instagram: @theaugustdiaries The August Dairies' Facebook PageThe August Diaries Pins@theaugustdiaries on Twitter






SOCIAL SCOPE: Vanity Fair Best Dressed shortlist; features in Refinery29, The Cut, WhoWhatWhere and InStyle; collabs with Aritzia, Breez and; 26.7K followers on IG and 44K followers on Pinterest. 

FOLLOW FOR: Easy favourites, wallet-friendly wardrobe updates, and wise-worded musings in wardrobe, and in life.

Jill is that friend you call on when buried in a pile of sneakers and silk, desperately scrolling Tumblr over what to wear. Deftly weaving trends into the patterns of personality, lifestyle and whims with a voice that’s cool-headed and warm, The August Diaries has become both a haven for the style-shy and an oasis for the Fashion-obsessed. Her own style steeped in a coastal crispness, fusing minimalism with a European ease, she’ll stop short of telling you how to dress, instead guiding you through what YOU want and need (though, you’ll most likely end up wanting one of what she’s got anyhow). Balancing an astronomical drive with a down-to-earth cool, and a sharp mind with a sharp eye for style, Jill is that powerhouse pal who leaves you awed and charmed at every turn.  


Top Fashion Marketing School Graduate Jill Lansky

If your life was a hashtag... 

Your favourite follows…
Love @tashsefton, one half of They All Hate Us from Australia, and @melissa.araujo’s feed is amazing. My favourite Snap Chatter is @songofstyle – she’s hilarious and real and basically just eats all the time. 

Favourite place to snack and snap?
Terra Breads has the best sandwiches and pastries ever. They’re so pretty!

Your current top 3 wardrobe favourites / must haves
A LWD (little white dress), Isabel Marant sandals and a hat (straw, preferably). And sunscreen!

Top Fashion Marketing School Graduate Jill Lansky

Favourite event you've been invited to as a blogger?
A private BCBG dinner with [Chief Creative Officer of BCBG Max Azria Group] Lubov Azria – she was so lovely and gracious.

Favourite IG editing app?
VSCO, hands down. 

Quick tip for success in the world of social media...
Great quality over quantity… really!

Your #MVF, Most Valued Follower?
I can’t just pick one! I love being able to engage with all my followers and am so grateful for their support. 

First time you were recognized ‘on the street’ by a follower?
I was at a Tom Petty concert – I was both ecstatic and embarrassed at the same time. 

What’s the most empowering thing about blogging for you?
I feel so lucky and honoured to be able to influence someone’s style, or what they buy. I want to inspire and empower my readers to use clothing as a means to gain confidence.

Top Fashion Marketing School Graduate Jill Lansky

What are some things that you took away from the Fashion Marketing program that helped you get to where you are now? 
I learned a lot in the Art & Tech Photoshop course and made some great connections and relationships in the industry!

The internet has become one of the most prominent sources of style inspiration and identification in today’s Fashion world. What, in your opinion, is important for readers/viewers to think about when searching online for style advice?
It’s really important to think about how relatable a piece is in your life. It can be easy to love a piece on someone else, but will it work for you on a day to day basis?

Proudest moment?
Realizing that I was running my own business – and that I’d done it by myself.

Five years down the feed dream?
Happily still social media-ing and growing my following, but not getting lost in the digital world. We have to remember to live our lives and not just Instagram them!

Top Fashion Marketing School Graduate Jill Lansky

Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:00:00 PST