"My mother is an artist, so growing up I was always engaged in some art project. She encouraged me to be creative and to think outside of the box from an early age.”

Every designer’s story is a little different; for some it takes time for the realization to slowly dawn, but for others, it is an innate sense of purpose. For Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design graduate Hilary MacMillan, it's as though every step along the way was kismet, propelling her to where she is today.

Boston-born and Toronto-raised, it was an Undergraduate Degree at the University of British Columbia in Political Science and Economics that originally brought Hilary to Vancouver. However, it was during this time that she decided to change direction, recognizing that her life-long love affair with fashion could in fact become her career.

Her creative journey started at the Blanche Macdonald Centre, when she made the life-altering decision to scrap law school and pursue her unshakable passion for art and design. With a clear artistic vision and a passion to create for the modern urban women she was surrounded by, Hilary’s namesake label has been turning heads since its inception in 2012. Fast forward to present day, Hilary has just established a new stockist in Morocco, allows celebrities to pull her garments for Toronto International Film Festival and is showing both Fall and Spring collections at Toronto Fashion Week. We've come to conclusion, this was always her calling.


Following her graduation, Hilary moved back to Toronto to help her sister with her independent jewelry store, ELLE Hardware in the chic and artistic neighbourhood of Queen Street West. Toronto, often referred to as Canada’s Fashion epicenter, is fueled by a collaborative creative energy. This vibrant and rich arts scene is home for Hilary, and using the skill set and training she took away from her time in Vancouver at Canada’s Top Fashion Design School, her strength and aptitude for design was able to take flight. Maybe it was the ever-inspiring and creative climate of the neighbourhood, or just a yearning to create, but it was during this time that Hilary designed her first independent capsule collection.

"I had designed a capsule collection and I was able to sell it at ELLE Hardware. I was so fortunate to have this outlet to see how customers responded to my garments and reacted to each piece. From there, I started wholesaling to other boutiques and attending trade shows to gain contacts within the industry."

Armed with insider knowledge on her garments appeal, Hilary was ready to take the next big leap.

"I did a couple more collections like this and then I started to show at Toronto Fashion Week. This propelled my designs further into the Industry. People were beginning to recognize my brand and who I was. It was a very exciting time."


Hilary pulls inspiration from a myriad of places: her Scottish heritage, her love of realist art, the Canadian landscape, and the history of fashion itself. Reflecting back on her time at Blanche Macdonald, it is evident that her education continues to be an inspiration for her collections.

"I loved Fashion History and learning about past designers and design history. I’ve always been really inspired by past decades and I still think back to that whenever I’m producing a new collection. It's all in the details: epaulettes, military, corsetry. I carry this knowledge forward as it is still a huge inspiration for me."

During her time at Blanche Macdonald, Hilary also took advantage of the myriad of opportunities, knowing they would be a critical step forward for her career.

“During my time at school, I interned with Vancouver-based designer Erin Templeton and volunteered as a dresser as much I could, gaining the inner workings of behind the scenes of a Fashion Show. Most of the Instructors at Blanche Macdonald are working in the industry and they are there to help set you up for success. A standout instructor for me was Jenny Hedberg. She had her own design company and gave us real insight into the skills we would need to make it.”


Hilary has built a career around creativity and passion, which only becomes more evident with each new collection she designs. Though each collection sees Hilary’s creativity and passion soar even higher, Hilary still has a clear memory of her most momentous collection.

"My most memorable collection to date would be Fall/Winter 2014. This is when I started developing my own prints. My mother is a realist painter and so she designed this beautiful pheasant which we produced as repeat pattern on fabric. Since then, I have always tried to develop a print that is aesthetically me; keeping a signature pattern each season.”


Designing and incorporating a custom print for each season increases both the power and complexity of Hilary’s collections, serving to illustrate just how much Hilary’s design abilities have grown.

"I am constantly growing as an artist and discovering new techniques. Each season I like to see how I have improved from the past seasons. This really drives me to try and discover new ways to be inventive and push myself."

Hilary’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection earned high praise at Toronto Fashion Week this past March. Her collection was to date, one of the most-raved reviewed shows of the season. Off the runway, it was the most talked about collection on Twitter, and her garments were spotted on the likes of Kim Cattrall and the cover of Glow Magazine. Bloggers, journalists and fashion fervours alike flocked to get a sneak peek of this cutting-edge collection.


Innovation, ambition, and talent: Hilary is the embodiment of these qualities, and the prime example of what comes when you pursue what you love.

"I love when I see someone wearing my garments. The fact that they chose that piece to put on that day, that someone actively sought out something you created and wanted to wear it – it’s a big moment.”

We know for Hilary, there will be many more big moments to come.


Wed, 04 May 2016 00:00:00 PST
THE LIFE AND SEOUL OF VANCOUVER - BLANCHE MACDONALD GRADUATE JAKE JANG BRINGS KOREAN COOL TO YVR'S SARTORIAL SCENE Blanche Macdonald UN Profile: Meet Jake Hyunha Jang, International Fashion Marketing Co-op Student from South Korea

Fashion Marketing Co-op graduate Jake Jang may just be the friendliest head-to-toe-black-clad cool kid you have ever met. He lopes in, a towering silhouette wearing a self-possessed smile and a soft leather jacket that slips down the wide span of his shoulders. His manner is warm and easy (you can practically hear the lean-back in his speech), and he is liable to peel into bright bolts of laughter at any given turn of the conversation.

He cuts a distinct figure against Atelier Campus’ expanse of white, where we sit huddled over an iPhone, sifting through a bright miscellany of squares.  

“I spend a lot of time looking through street photos on Instagram’s Discover section. Not this naked guy,” he snorts, flicking away a particularly brazen bit of feed, “but a lot of these great fashion accounts will just randomly show up. I find new people to follow all the time. Like @GRINDmagazine! I know right? I didn’t know about that one either, it just popped up one day. You gotta follow that one.”

The army is that last place you would envision a character such as Jake, but in his home country of Korea, serving is simply run of the mill.

“Serving in the Republic of Korea Army is our national duty for two years; I was there because I had to be but it actually changed my life. Before that I was just wasting my time, drinking and partying, and I didn’t know what I was doing. For those two years, I could think about my life, about what I wanted to do in the future. It played a big part in my decision to come to North America.

“Some time later, I applied for an internship with a Korean brand in New York but first stopped by Vancouver to study English. I met my girlfriend, decided to stay, enrolled in Fashion School at Blanche Macdonald and now – here I am,” Jake grins.

Blanche Macdonald UN Profile: Meet Jake Hyunha Jang, International Fashion Marketing Co-op Student from South Korea

Jang’s confident hold on the English language and cultural goings-on belie his relative new beginnings in Canada; in just the two years that he has lived in Vancouver, he has made fast friends of a wide array of the city’s subculture coteries and fashion industry self-starters, and has landed himself in a choice slot at tip top trend arena, Topshop. And yet, even he’ll admit that moving to a new country alone was hard-won.   

“My English was so bad when I first moved here! The only things I could say were ‘Hi.’ ‘How are you.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘See you again.’ My girlfriend helped me a lot and now we are planning our future together. We had to communicate because we were in a relationship and luckily, she was training to be an English teacher so it was a good experience both for her and for me. It was really hard that first year but it’s just in my personality that if I don’t know about something, I’d rather ask. I became best friends with one of my classmates, Daniel; he’s helped me a lot too. It’s kind of like my girlfriend taught me the basic structure of the language and Daniel gave me the fat, the muscle.”

Jake’s advice to those coming to Vancouver to pick up a new language?

“Get a girlfriend or boyfriend!” he laughs, before turning to a more serious, spirited appeal. “Make friends. What I hate seeing is when international students only hang out amongst themselves, in their own communities. Well then, what the fuck’s the point? You’re in Canada and you came here to be in Canada and now you’re hanging out in Little Korea or China? You should try to get out and talk to people; they have actually always been really nice to me, even back when I was awful at speaking English. Almost all of my friends are Canadians. A lot of international students will go to international drinking places, hang out within a replica of their community. What I’m saying is that they should try ‘HELLO,’ and say hello first!”

Blanche Macdonald UN Profile: Meet Jake Hyunha Jang, International Fashion Marketing Co-op Student from South Korea

Vancouver’s pull has intensified over time for Jake and it’s feeling more and more like home, even as he keeps his eyes trained on grand goals. It helps to have a pseudo family in the Fashion department of Blanche Macdonald.

“I loved everyone at Blanche Macdonald. I seriously loved going to school here. I like pray to Jesus, thank God that I was sent here,” he laughs “Obviously Peggy [Morrison] was a favourite, Lyndi Barrett, Tyler [Udall] – Tyler really motivated me. His personal story – working for Marc Jacobs and whatever else – really drove me to want to do something big. And Mel Watts! My Fashion Mom. I just came from her office. I used to go see her every day.”

Jake’s real mom also played a big part in Jake’s Fashion career. She was the one who first set it off, often kitting him out in choice goods selected from the Adidas Original company that she owned in Korea (“I look back at my pictures from back when I was three or four, and I looked good, I used to dress so cool!”). Jake had an eye for style from the start but it wasn’t until after a three-year stint in Business Administration at Hongik University that he began to engage it professionally.

“I went to Business School because I knew that would bring in money and quickly realized that that was not what I wanted to do. I tried several different jobs – I used to teach mathematics and then did accounting things – but I never liked it so I knew I had to move on.  

“After school, I started working at a street style company called Camscon, following fashionable students at various colleges – there are more than 75 schools, so it’s a huge database. I would hang around campuses all day and take photos. Street style is huge in Korea. It’s all about fashion there and a lot of Korean fashion is influenced by street style.”

Blanche Macdonald UN Profile: Meet Jake Hyunha Jang, International Fashion Marketing Co-op Student from South Korea

Here, for Jake at least, lies one of the most marked differences between Vancouver and his home city of Seoul.

“It’s a different lifestyle here. Korea is a huge city and fashion is a big part of our lifestyle. We dress up for ourselves daily, not just for events. Here I find that dressing up is special – there aren’t many that do it day-to-day in Vancouver (except for here at Blanche). The lifestyle here can still be refreshing – sometimes style can be too much in Korea.

“Vancouver is a great starter city; coming from Asia, it is a bridge to the big Fashion capitals, where you can get into the culture and then move on to the next level. And Vancouver is getting bigger and bigger – it’s grown so much even since I first landed here. There’s a Nordstrom just down the street and there are so many high end stores popping up. Did you see that huge new Prada flagship? We just got the Moncler store there too; their windows are amazing. It’s good to have these big brands in the city for inspiration.”

Even if Vancouver isn’t quite as outre in their sartorial choices as Seoul, Jake has been playing his part in influencing the masses towards more style savvy choices, working with international Fashion Designer and fellow BMC graduate, Alex S. Yu for Vancouver Fashion Week, selling cool cool-weather staples at Rudsak, even modeling for Blanche Macdonald’s Fashion Showcase this past year. And recently he’s landed a dual dream job of Stylist and Visual Merchandiser for the men’s department at Topshop.

“I dropped off my resume at Topman because it’s one of my favourite brands here and they had me back for five interviews… FIVE. In the end, they hired me for both the Merchandising AND Styling teams, so I split up the week between the two. It’s been a month and I love it!”

Blanche Macdonald UN Profile: Meet Jake Hyunha Jang, International Fashion Marketing Co-op Student from South Korea

So far, securing this job been one of his proudest moments, though that doesn’t stop him from aspiring for even grander things. He plans to use the expiration of his Visa, coming up for next year, as a boost up to the next stages of his career.

“I want to be a Buyer but for that I want to gain a lot of experience in styling, merchandising – I want to have an understanding of what people want by working in other aspects of Fashion first.

“I’m learning a lot at my job, gaining a lot of experience that you can only gain hands-on, so I’d like to stay as long as possible and then my ultimate goal is to go to New York.”

For now, he’s happy and busy imbuing Vancouver with Seoul’s style sensibilities during his nine-to-five, making friends (of all) and mentoring his newly-landed Korean friend in the after hours. Jake’s no English-teaching girlfriend, but he’s proven to be a patient and well-appreciated coach.

“My friend, Jae Sik, just started classes in February. He actually moved here because of me, to come to Blanche Macdonald. I was such a bratty kid before and he was like, ‘Now you work at Topshop? You went to Fashion School?’ He couldn’t believe it. I’m really happy that he’s here now, getting ready for school. It may be hard at first, with his English, but it’s so worth it.”

Jake gathers up his various black articles of outerwear and the interview concludes with the definitive Instagram account transaction (you best follow him here).

Jake Jang's Top 4!

Mon, 29 Feb 2016 00:00:00 PST
Blanche Macdonald Graduate and Instructor Kari Zantolas Brings Prosthetics Perfection from Andromeda to Vancouver Top Makeup School Graduate Kari Zantolas

For aspiring Makeup Artists enchanted by Fantasy and Science Fiction Makeup Effects, Kari Zantolas transforms classrooms into prosthetics-filled candy stores. Students at Canada’s top Makeup School immediately understand that they’re learning from one of the very best; a star on the teams on internationally beloved sci-fi productions, excelling in the roles of Head of the Prosthetics on Andromeda and Makeup Department First Assistant on Stargate Atlantis.

“I have a lot of passion for this,” smiles the Blanche Macdonald graduate-turned-instructor. “I love seeing that passion in my students and watching it drive them forward. I give them the tools they need, the opportunity to learn what I learned, and it always amazes me to see what they do with that. It’s incredible when students come back to Blanche Macdonald and tell me what they’re up to. There’s a sense of pride that comes with knowing I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”

From Blanche Macdonald classrooms to sets of TV shows and movies like Scary Movie 3 and 4, Battlestar Galactica, Harper’s Island, Dark Angel, Mysterious Ways, Once Upon A Time, Life As We Know It, Reunion, Doing It, Little Man and White Chicks, Kari has been making a difference for two decades, ever since she decided to make the move to Vancouver from her native Ontario.

“I spent most of my youth dancing, singing and acting in musical theatre,” she explains. “I graduated from Sheridan College with a Musical Theatre degree. I wanted to start acting in film and my agent in Toronto suggested that my best bet was to move to Vancouver. So that’s what I did.

Top Makeup School Graduate Kari Zantolas

“Working as an actress in the theatre there were many times when I was responsible for my own makeup. I was the girl that people would ask, ‘Can you do mine too?’ I had knack for it and I liked it. I was auditioning in Vancouver but nothing was panning out. I thought if I could contribute to another aspect of the industry, I could still audition on the side. I really enjoyed it, so why not Makeup?”

Blanche Macdonald’s reputation as Vancouver’s best Makeup School was already established by the mid-1990s. For the actress who had enrolled to add another string to her artistic bow, classes were little short of daily revelations.

“It completely opened my eyes! I had some experience, but I really didn’t know much about it. I didn’t understand the concepts of makeup before I came to Blanche. I’d been doing makeup for a while, but suddenly I knew how to do it properly. That made a huge difference. I loved how these simple products on a table could transform the person in front of me. You could alter the shape of someone’s face with a brush and some beautiful colour.”
Having temporarily put acting on the back burner, Kari’s first task after graduation was turning her newfound skills into paying jobs.

“Getting a full time job was my full time job,” she laughs. “I felt that I was ready. I wasn’t just sending résumés. I was visiting production companies, asking to speak to someone, handing them my résumé and then following up. I was letting people know who I was. I thought that the opportunities I volunteered for would eventually lead to paid jobs, and I was right.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Kari Zantolas

It wasn’t long before Kari’s talent and persistence led her to be the first option makeup artist for productions companies filming music videos for artists like Bif Naked and Swollen Members, and commercials for major brands like Ford and Mattel. Kari wanted bigger and better, working her way into the ACFC union and sci-fi and fantasy shows like First Wave and The Immortal. Having acquired the on-set hours to join the IATSE union, the door opened for a position on the team for NBC sci-fi hit Mysterious Ways. There was no stopping her.

“The long hours didn’t bother me. I was young. I had energy. I loved it! I was waiting to get on the big shows!”

Kari had become an established member of Vancouver’s TV and Film Makeup community, but she wanted more. Having studied at Blanche Macdonald in the days before prosthetics were part of the curriculum, Kari decided to teach herself. Much to her landlords’ chagrin.

“I lived and breathed horror movies and wanted to be as well-rounded in all aspects of makeup as I could possibly be. I knew how to contour a face, but I wanted to know how to turn someone into a demon. I was reading books, watching videos and trying to figure it out myself. I kept blowing stuff up in my oven trying to figure out how to cook foam latex. I was continually upsetting my landlords! I was making a lot of mistakes, but I was learning.”

Kari was the Key Makeup Artist on Dark Angel’s second unit when a call arrived from Andromeda’s prosthetics specialist Harlow MacFarlane that made all the appliances she’d destroyed worthwhile.

Top Makeup School Graduate Kari Zantolas

“Harlow heard I was into special effects. I promised him that I was a really fast learner and I would put 100% into it. And he gave me a shot! I was on Andromeda for four seasons. Harlow eventually left and I ran that prosthetics department for three seasons. The character Trance, played by Laura Bertram, played all the time. So many mornings we were there at three or four in the morning so she could start filming at seven. Every day we had to work on and colour different appliances. Some days I had 12 makeup artists working underneath me, some who had been in the industry for years. I made sure I learned from them.”

The Makeup Team on Andromeda deservedly won a Gemini Award for their work for the episode when the entire cast were turned into their evil alter egos. Kari insists that although it’s lovely to be appreciated by her professional peers, the greatest satisfaction comes from the creative journey.

“Some Heads of Department give their team a lot of input and it’s great when that happens. It’s so exciting. I have a huge appreciation for all aspects of TV and film Makeup but there’s a special place in my heart for creating monsters, aliens and freaks of nature!”

Top Makeup School Graduate Kari Zantolas

Kari spent three seasons working alongside Special Effects Director Todd Masters as the First Assistant Makeup on Stargate Atlantis.

“When you work in TV and film you can’t help but become close with the cast and crew. Atlantis was one of those shows that really had that vibe, with amazing cast and a crew that felt like family. You’re thankful when you get the chance experience shows like that one. The hours are crazy, and you’re away from your friends and family, so it’s fantastic to have that sense of comfort around you.”

After her son was born, she decided to take a break from the long hours of set life. It was time to share everything she’d learned with the next generation. Which is why she chose to return to Blanche Macdonald, teaching Prosthetics and Makeup Effects and ensuring that today’s students have the craft and insider knowledge to step straight onto set from the classroom.

“I’m laid back in class, but I’m tough. We’re going to have a lot of fun on the journey but I always want students to learn things to an industry standard. They need to be details orientated, know the products and understand what’s expected of them. They need to be prepared for the adventure that’s going to be thrown at them. I want things to be done the right the first time. Showing you can do that gets you that second opportunity.”

Kari’s personal successes, combined with the triumphs of her students, prove that high standards and fun times can go hand-in-hand. Just make sure you bring a positive attitude and plenty of passion.

“Makeup Artists need to be confident in who they are and their abilities. I explain how they need to be prepared for everything from bad weather to actors with attitudes. My students are ready to go from the classroom to professional sets. Grads I had as Teaching Assistants, like Darah Wyant and Danielle Fowler, are regulars on big shows now. Danielle is already a Key Makeup Artist! It’s always exciting for me to see my students succeeding. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment knowing I’m putting people on the right path.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Kari Zantolas

Wed, 24 Feb 2016 00:00:00 PST
THAILAND'S TOP TALENT - WIN ARIYANANKUL BRINGS BIG BEAUTY CLOUT FROM BANGKOK TO BLANCHE MACDONALD With thousands of artists 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!

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

Wachirawin Ariyanankul nearly didn’t make it to his first day of classes. Awaiting his Visa application to be processed, Win trekked through the Bangkok heat to the Canadian Embassy every single day, and those days ticked by, inching closer to the deadline of everything he had dreamed about. Finally, success! His Visa was approved. He hopped a plane from his native Thailand to Vancouver, and less than two days later – not time enough to shake his jet lag, let alone settle himself into a new country alone – Win stepped into the halls of the Blanche Macdonald Centre.

“I am so proud and very very excited. I have never lived outside of my country; I’ve only been on vacations around South Asia and never for more than a week. Vancouver is my first big city. I LOVE VANCITY, yahoo!”

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

We are every bit as enthusiastic as Win. Everyone who has since had the pleasure of meeting him has been blown away by his artistic grace and gratitude in learning, and that’s to say nothing of his makeup. A novice, Win certainly was not when he joined us in the International Co-op Makeup program at Blanche Macdonald; he left Bangkok as one of his city’s most renowned emerging artists. He came here to humble himself in the face of new knowledge, to learn the planes of the Western face, and continue to strengthen his professional clout.

Win had always been artistic, spending much of his free time drawing, but it was one bit of artistry in particular that caught his eye and kept it still; tagging along on a job with one of his Makeup Artist friends, he was mesmerized by her brushstrokes, by the transformation that followed the bristles’ dance. He wanted to create beauty like this.

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

Win enrolled in the Makeup Technique International School (MTI) in Bangkok, where his innate talent attracted the eye of the Headmaster, Mr. Montri Wadlaiad. When Win graduated, Mr. Montri, a highly-reputed artist in Thailand, took Win under his wing and straight out onto the sets of the local TV & Film industry as his Assistant Makeup Artist. It wasn’t long before Win won over the hearts of Thailand’s premiere starlets, becoming the glam go-to for Maythavee Weiss (Miss Supranational Thailand 2010), Parnlekha Wanmuong (Miss Thailand World 1985) and singer/actress Thunyarat Trisuttiwong. Montri became more and more impressed with Win, and soon decided he was ready for the prestigious world of Khon.

“Khon is a Thai traditional performance art which, in the past, was limited to palace presentations. Currently, the Khon makeup is designed by my mentor, Lecturer Montri Wadlaiad. He has consulted with performance art specialists in the creation of the most appropriate design. He took inspiration from Thai paintings. 

“The Royal Khon makeup shown here was from the performance sponsored by the Foundation of Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit of Thailand. It is organized once a year and lasts almost a whole month! I had the chance to join the team as a Makeup Artist for the past two years. I am very proud of myself to have had such an opportunity, to participate in one of the greatest performances that exists in Thailand.”

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

Win has been making waves in Vancouver too. In his short few months here, he has managed to make friends of top cultural players, beautifying the likes of Carmen Ruiz y Laza for her Joy TV show and pop band The Katherines.  He’s become a favourite to call up as Assistant to Pro Artists (and Blanche Macdonald graduates) Shaina Azad of Suva Beauty and Bollywood glamour authority Farah Hasan. He was even selected as a Makeup Artist for Vancouver Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2016 season – we really couldn’t have imagined a more perfect fit (neither could he). And throughout each new experience, he’s only been making more connections and propelling himself forward in the local sphere of interest.

“Whenever I work with another artist I make sure to trade contact information with them. I have also used social media platforms to connect, such as the Blanche Macdonald Models Needed and 604 Vancouver Models & Photographers pages on Facebook, and”

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

Even with Win’s professional savvy and natural charms, it hasn’t been easy; the communication barrier has been something to get used to.

“I did learn basic English in my country, so I could speak it a little, but not very well. Everything was very difficult at first. I am lucky to have friends who help me. Alina, my roommate from Russia, teaches me how to improve my written English. My teachers from Blanche Macdonald have been very helpful too. Also, every night I try find the time to study myself.”

Challenges taken into account, Win’s unshakeable ambitions and initiative in all aspects of learning led him through a powerful three months of artistic development at Blanche Macdonald.

“I liked all of my classes as they were all new and exciting for me. Although, my favourites were Airbrushing and Fashion Makeup. I can see myself working in these fields in the future. It ws a great opportunity to have Natacha as my Airbrushing instructor – she was so nice and talented!

“I’ve been so excited to have this opportunity to explore new knowledge, from such a distinguished and reputable institute. It’s located in such a great environment too – Vancouver is one of the best cities to live in.”

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

Word quickly spread of Win’s warmth and willingness to share, making him the classmate to call on for extra tidbits of tips. It also made him a beloved addition to Blanche Macdonald’s CurliQue Beauty Boutique Work Experience program. Q Talent Leader, and fellow Blanche Macdonald graduate, Jaylene Tyme thinks fondly upon his time spent on the floor with the CQ team.

“Win is an artist that encapsulates the spirit of grace. His beautiful personality has been a joy to have at CQ headquarters. Win was always there to lend a helping hand and make sure that our clients were well taken care of. Open to suggestion, Win really loves to absorb information and inspiration from fellow artists. Everybody he meets falls in love with him!”

The feelings are certainly mutual.  

“I love the CQ team! I am so glad to have worked with them,” enthuses Win. “There was a lot of teamwork, funniness and craziness. They supported me and developed my knowledge of product, how to sell, how to take care of the customer.”

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

With less than a month to go until the Co-op Work Experience portion of his stay wraps up, Win is taking in as much as he can, coming by CQ every so often for hugs and updates on his latest cosmetic ventures. He may be soon leaving, but he has been inducted into the Blanche family for life.

“Since the very first minute I have been at Blanche Macdonald, I have been given many valuable memories. The courses were interactive, have fulfilled my will to learn and will be very beneficial for my future career.

“Even though I am far away from home, Blanche Macdonald has made me feel warm and I will remember it as a good time. I am so grateful for all of my instructors, from both BMC and MTI, for guiding me, inspiring me, and teaching me how to become a Professional Makeup Artist.”

UN Profile: International Makeup Co-op graduate Win Ariyanankul from Thailand

Moving ahead, Win hopes to make it, and make magnificent new things, in the world of Fashion, and perhaps even to become a Makeup mentor like those he has so cherished over his years of learning. What is certain is that when Win does make his homecoming, Thailand will be regaining a truly wonderful member of its artistic community, and Vancouver will be a little more beautiful, a little more inspired for what he has left in his wake.

“I would like to continue my career in Thailand, to return there and share all of the knowledge and experience that I have discovered here in Vancouver’s beauty industry.

"KOB KHUN KRUB!" Thank you. 

Win's Top 5 favourite things about Vancouver!

Thu, 21 Jan 2016 00:00:00 PST

Jennifer Folk’s students instantly realize that they’re learning from one of the very best. As one of Vancouver’s most respected on-screen makeup artists, Jennifer’s remarkable résumé includes movies like The Chronicles of Riddick, X-Men 3, Slither, Mr Magoo, White Chicks, The Santa Clause 2 and TV series The L-Word, Tru Calling, The 4400 and Painkiller Jane. 

But inspiration is a two-way street. And Jennifer insists that her biggest makeup thrill is the work she sees on a regular basis as an Instructor and Associate Program Director at the school were she once studied; Blanche Macdonald.

“I’m blown away by the work that comes out of the artists here,” she beams. “I love those moments when you can hear a pin drop because everyone is so focused on their work. I love to see students’ work go beyond their own expectations. There’s been a new level in creativity over the past year. A few of my students graduated and went straight onto set. That’s amazing!”

If Jennifer is able to help students exceed their professional expectations, it’s because she’s been exceeding her own since she was a young lady growing up in North Vancouver, when friends coming over after school would inevitably be on the receiving end of a makeover.

“I loved the colours and different textures,” she recalls. “My grandmothers saw it was a passion of mine and nurtured it. They’d buy me big makeup trays from Sears and I would tan, blush and bronze my friends. Everything could always be washed off and it kept me out of mischief, so my family was happy!”

Once the teenage Jennifer had read an article in Elle about the makeup artistry behind the fashion industry, she knew her passion could turn into a career.

Top Makeup School Graduate Jennifer Folk

“You could do makeup for a living?” she laughs. “If I need to have a job, I’ll take that one! I took private lessons from Fay von Schroeder, who’s now one of our instructors. She’d been to Blanche Macdonald and had an amazing resume. Fay was getting busier and busier, so she started passing photo shoots to me. I found a modelling agency and started doing makeup for test shoots and brides. I wanted to learn more and every Makeup Artist I met told me the same thing – go to Blanche Macdonald.”

top makeup school graduate-turned-instructor jennifer folk

Blanche Macdonald’s reputation as Canada’s top Makeup School was already entrenched by the 1990s. Jennifer wasn’t going to waste the chance to learn from the very best, even when her artistry didn’t always flow instinctively.

“Some ideas I understood instantly. Other things needed study, practice and tweaking. Whether I had a friend’s face or just my hand, I was always working on something. I was committed to studying, practicing and making a career in makeup a reality. I soaked up all the lessons and demonstrations. I was always excited to come to school and see what we would do each new day.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Jennifer Folk

Her training at Blanche Macdonald led Jennifer to her first full-time makeup job. Which, not incidentally, led to more opportunities.

“A position at Act One came up, which was the only professional makeup store in Vancouver at the time. I was only there for about a year, but I met all the Makeup Artists working on the Vancouver shows. People like Victoria Down, Patricia Murray and Jayne Dancose. This was before online shopping. If you needed something for your shows, you would come in and stock up. When I started doing day calls and would show up on set, people would say, ‘Hey, aren’t you the girl from the makeup store?’”

The makeup store girl began working regularly for CBC and BCTV (which later changed its name to Global) bringing her talents to the channels’ news and hockey coverage.

“I would look after the broadcasters when Hockey Night in Canada came to Vancouver. I had Prime Minister Jean Chretien in my chair. He didn’t like a lot of powder. Seal was cool to meet. Yes, he is sexy in real life.

Top Makeup School Graduate Jennifer Folk

“I applied to the IATSE union because I wanted to work in films and eventually I got that phone call. I was super happy.”

Once Jennifer had joined IATSE the TV and Film jobs came thick and fast. Feel free to ask Jennifer about her incredible résumé. There are many tales to be told.

“One of my first shows was Mr Magoo. The Head of Department was Sandy Cooper, who was very kind to me. I did a little bit of everything. You’d show up each day and not know what you’d be doing until you arrived. It was a comedy, so everything was funny and light. Comedies are always fun because everyone’s in a great mood. Zach Galifianakis is pretty much the same character you see on screen. I was his Makeup Artist on Out Cold and Tru Calling. He’s eccentric, dry and will say anything. He had me laughing every day.

top makeup school graduate-turned-instructor jennifer folk

“One of my favourite effects came when I worked on Slither. Monica Huppert was the Head of Department and Todd Masters was working on the effects. That was a campy horror by James Gunn, who went on to direct Guardians of the Galaxy. We had many long nights out in different farms. You’d show up and see what needed to happen. And it would always be fun. We had these slither slugs that would fit in the actors’ mouths and look like they were going down their throats. I remember taking a massive syringe, the size of my leg, filling it with this methyl cellulose jelly and having to slime around the actors’ faces at three in the morning. I looked like I’d been in a mad butchers shop.

“I love being part of the creative team that delivers the look. The whole department made that believable to the audience. That’s the story told on our part.”

Top Makeup School Graduate Jennifer Folk

At Blanche Macdonald Jennifer does far more than share stories. Part of her job is ensuring that graduates’ makeup skills are matched with their ability to fit into high-pressure professional situations.

“It’s more than just doing the artistry,” she insists. “You need to know when to be quiet. You need to be adaptable and be ready to jump in while knowing when to stand back. You need to anticipate what will happen next. Set etiquette and detailed breakdowns of what to expect are important parts of the program.”

Jennifer spends less time on set these days, splitting her time between her roles as Instructor, Associate Makeup Program Director and full-time Mom. Teaching TV and Film Makeup and Special Makeup Effects, experience and enthusiasm come as standard every lesson.

top makeup school graduate-turned-instructor jennifer folk

“I love keeping up to date on the latest products and techniques. I’m always reading articles, researching, talking to friends on set and going to guest lectures. My friends on set keep calling asking if I’m available so I’ve turned down a few films and TV shows over the past year. But this is my time to be a Mom!”

That maternal quality carries over into the classroom, where students discover an instructor that supports and pushes them in equal measure.

“When I came here I was a shy student. So I take the approach that the majority of people are shy and that’s ok. I try to create a safe environment where people can be themselves. It’s ok to make mistakes. We’re working towards becoming better artists. At the same time, I’ll always stress how essential it is to be punctual and have a makeup station that’s clean and set up perfectly. If I don’t set the standards, how are students to know? I want my students to get jobs and callbacks. Being a great artist isn’t enough. You have to embody so much more.”

She’s created glamour and gore and hung out with movie stars, but for Jennifer, there’s nothing quite as exciting as providing and finding inspiration on a daily basis.

“I’m very grateful,” she smiles. “I love my job!”


Thu, 14 Jan 2016 00:00:00 PST