Blanche Macdonald Centre News from Blanche Macdonald Centre 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

It’s not where you’re from. It’s where you’re at.

Few people illustrate this maxim better than Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair graduate Zachary Skyler Jackson, whose journey has taken him from a village on the Northern British Columbia islands of Haida Gwaii to one of Downtown Vancouver’s busiest and most fashionable salons.

“It was awesome growing up on Haida Gwaii,” explains Zachary, relaxing in the bustling surroundings of in.Salon, his creative and professional home for the past two years. “I just knew I wasn’t an island boy. My hometown, Masset, has two streets and about 900 people. I loved cities and fashion was always an outlet for me, which mainly meant MTV and the magazines I could pick up when I went to see my Dad in Prince Rupert or visited Vancouver.”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Zachary Jackson

Zachary isn’t looking at the fashion world from the outside any more. As a key member of the team at in.Salon, photo shoots and fashion shows come with the territory. Located in the heart of fashionable Yaletown, in.Salon does more than pay lip service to its tagline of ‘Vancouver’s trendiest salon.’

“in.Salon and our sister salon is.Salon both contribute to Brilliant, Vancouver’s annual hair and fashion fundraiser. We play big parts in the Wella and L’Oreal shows too. So at least a couple of times every year I find myself backstage at a fashion show. It’s pretty different from working in the salon when you have to get a dozen people on stage in half an hour. It’s hectic but exciting. The energy backstage at a fashion show is incomparable. It’s always cramped but everyone is having a great time.”

As much as Zachary enjoys his forays backstage, he insists that even his adventures in high fashion don’t compare with the connections and creativity he encounters every day at in.Salon.

“I really love my co-workers and the space I work in is amazing. But my favourite thing is seeing someone walk out the door knowing I’ve made their day a little bit better, having talked to them and made them look a little better.”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Zachary Jackson

Connections are special for Zachary. He understood how relationships are the heart of the hair business before he even came to Blanche Macdonald.

“I was working as a receptionist at a salon before I moved to Vancouver. That started me thinking about hair school. Once I started researching it was clear that Blanche Macdonald had the best reviews. My Mom and I went to the Downtown campus. It was super busy and an interesting environment to be around. Being in Downtown Vancouver, coming from Haida Gwaii, I couldn’t begin fast enough. Six months after I graduated high school I was starting Hair School.”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Zachary Jackson

What Zachary lacked in experience he made up for enthusiasm and, thanks to his instructors, a quickly discovered confidence. 

“I have a brother, and it wasn’t like we braided each others’ hair growing up. Everything was new to me. Those first hands-on experiences were a little terrifying. I can remember my first men’s haircut, being helped by Jeff Ranger. I was using clippers and it just came naturally. I became comfortable pretty quickly. There were only seven of us in our class, so we had a lot of individual attention from every teacher. I was with Marcy Hodel for the TV and Film program, which took me out of my comfort zone. I definitely felt prepared by the time we graduated.”

Zachary was prepared. His first job straight out of Hair School was in Kitsilano’s Propaganda Salon. One short month after he arrived he was cutting, colouring and seeing his own clients on the salon floor.

“Propaganda was on the edgy side compared to here in Yaletown. Everyone working at the salon had tattoos and crazy hair, so that brought in a mixed clientele. Which was very different to clients we see at an extensions specialist like in.Salon. I was there for four great years, but when they tore down the building I realized it was time to move on.”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Zachary Jackson

Thinking about a fresh challenge in a new location, the solution arrived before Zachary had even started searching.

“One of my co-workers at Propaganda started working at in.Salon and she referred me to the boss, Erin Moore. I was welcomed with open arms! I’d always wanted to work in Yaletown. It’s Downtown and always busy. And it only takes me 20 minutes to walk to work.

“At least 90% of my clientele followed me here. I was worried at first that people wouldn’t want to trek all the way Downtown to see me, but I’d built relationships with my clientele and it turned into a pretty easy move. Clientele and friendship mesh together. I hang out with a lot of my clientele outside the salon. It’s not just a hair stylist-client relationship. When you spend an hour together once a month you can get pretty close with people. That’s as rewarding as the work itself. They’re concerned about my life and I’m concerned about theirs. It’s not like they’re just coming in to get a haircut, even though they do get a great haircut! Sometimes I look around and see what I do for a job and cant help but feel blessed.” 

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Zachary Jackson

Zachary’s clients feel the same way, especially the many coming to take advantage of his expertise in extensions.

“At this salon in particular I’d say about 75% of our clients ask for extensions. Because of the Kardashians everyone wants thick, voluminous hair. And you can’t blame them! I first learned about extensions at Blanche Macdonald. Now I do a lot of tape-in extensions. It’s creative and a lot of fun. Erin, our boss, is a tape-in extension educator across the Lower Mainland. When I moved here I knew she was the Queen of Extensions. That’s important, because you want to constantly learn something new. You never come to work and feel like it’s stagnant. Even if you’re doing the same types of haircuts or styles, you’re constantly inspired by new products or new ideas about doing things. There are amazing people to learn from here. I’m only 25, but I have six years of experience under my belt now. I’m happy to help apprentices and co-workers.”

Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed Shaw TV’s Fiona Forbes among Zachary’s portfolio shots. He won’t mention it unless you ask him, but his celebrity clientele list is slowly growing.

“Fiona Forbes isn't my client but I do her hair from time to time,” he insists. “She's such a sweet heart! I've been on set at Shaw TV to do her hair. There are a number of Real Housewives of Vancouver that I style every once in a while. They’re lovely! Matt Webb, the drummer from Marianas Trench, has also been a client of mine. Really nice guy! So down to earth and chill.”

Although Zachary is unlikely to ever stop seeing clients – he loves it too much – it’s only a matter before that passion for sharing knowledge takes him on the next step of his professional journey.

“I’d love to be an educator, maybe for a product line or even at Blanche Macdonald! Erin teaches the team here on a daily basis, and she teaches extensions on her days off. Seeing someone who is so passionate about passing on her knowledge shows that it’s one of the best things you can do. I’ve done some styling classes already. I just need to build up the nerve to stand in front of a room of 30 strangers!”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Zachary Jackson

Sun, 10 Jan 2016 00:00:00 PST

Wed, 23 Dec 2015 00:00:00 PST

Living the dream is dually exalting and exhausting. And when we reach Jayme Miller, dream-liver and Blanche Macdonald Fashion Marketing emigre, she’s happily sprawled at the end of a long day of research, catching a bit of rest in the soft light of her London flat.

“We’re researching for the cover story for the next issue of AnOther Magazine. It’s really special actually because it’s our 15th anniversary – so the 30th issue – and it’s all about celebrations and parties and I’m really excited about it. It’s cool to be a part of! And it’s being shot in Paris,” says Jayme, her poised drawl taking on a definitive note of excitement.

“Every day I am working with the people that I look up to so much – there’s Jefferson Hack sitting a few seats behind me. It’s all in the day-to-day but when I actually think about it, it’s not normal.”

Jayme’s day-to-day is anything but run-of-the-mill. As Assistant to the Fashion Director of AnOther Magazine, she is not only sharing floor space with editorial legends such as Mr. Hack (who co-founded Dazed Magazine at the age of 19, and later AnOther) but is being mentored by world-renowned stylist and Gareth Pugh confidante, the impeccably cool Katie Shillingford.

“It’s kind of hard to say what a typical day is because it’s really different depending on what we’re doing. The past few days have been the same thing – chasing requests, following up on things – which is nice, but then it’s nice also to know that next weekend I’ll be going to Paris,” laughs Jayme (indeed, we think). “It’s kind of the best of both worlds.”

Top Fashion Marketing Graduate Jayme Miller

In the year since Jayme – a Kelowna, BC native at the cusp of an earnest 20 years – completed her Fashion Marketing training and hopped the plane to London, she’s been not only exposed to, but completely immersed in worlds that a very select few ever become privy to: fervid and whirring worlds like those pressed into the pages of elite print, or tucked away behind the backdrops of Fashion Week. Her very first London editorial set teemed with legends like photographer Pierre Debusschere, fringe phenom Alex Brownsell, beauty babe Isamaya Ffrench and (of course) Katie Shillingford. And she had her first taste of London Fashion Week for this past SS16 season, tailing this latter editorial master through the realm of runway styling.  

Temperley London was such a good experience. Katie couldn't actually be there for most of the day before the show, as she was doing final prep for Gareth Pugh, so Isabelle (another assistant) and I had to do a lot of the castings and fittings without her. It was quite stressful but a lot of fun too. I got to meet and talk to so many of the amazing models that I always saw in magazines which was really cool. That night we stayed at the studio until three a.m. which seems late, but apparently that was the earliest they had ever finished on the day before the show!

“Temperley was right after Topshop Unique on the show schedule. Three of our girls were walking in Topshop’s show which, of course, was late and we had to wait for them to arrive before we could start. When they finally did, the whole show team  had to simultaneously do their hair, makeup, nails and dress them. Someone was even feeding one model a brownie at the same time! It was insane.

“People from all over the world come to see these show so there’s a lot of pressure, and a lot of etiquette that I didn’t know about. I was very comfortable doing editorials but runway was a bit scary for me. Even still, it all went really really well and it was a lot of fun.”

Top Fashion Marketing Graduate Jayme Miller

And that’s just the thing about these ‘fabulous’ first rungs of London’s Fashion scene – the unrelenting pace that propels this wondrous blitz that “we,” the readers of magazines and oglers of shows, celebrate demands a headlong canter of learning and hard work. Jayme admits that it took her some time, when she first arrived, to catch up to London’s clip.

“I was so so close to coming home. It was an amazing experience interning at AnOther but it was really tough. And the combination of having no friends, not knowing my way around, that everything was so expensive, different and not understanding all of the accents was difficult. But it was so amazing to work with those people.

Almost everyone at AnOther now has interned there at some point. It’s the same at Dazed. Interning really is so important. That’s the way that most people get hired because if they know that you’ve already been there and know how it works, it makes it that much better because they won’t have to show you the ropes.”

Top Fashion Marketing Graduate Jayme Miller

Even through the scrape of starting afresh and alone in a new country, the energy of London swept Jayme off her feet. She excelled in the remainder of her AnOther internship and continued on to an equally momentous stint in the offices of OBE (that’s Order of the British Empire) holder, legendary fashion and portrait photographer, Mario Testino.

“The people that work at Mario Testino + are so nice, so talented and I learned a lot. What I did there primarily was image research and a little bit of casting. Mario likes to shoot up-and-coming socialites and celebrities so I would do a lot of research on Instagram finding cool good-looking people doing interesting things. The image research was great; he’s very specific about the references and it was really good to learn how to do the research for an aesthetic that didn’t naturally come to me, to get out of my comfort zone a bit.”

Top Fashion Marketing School Graduate Jayme Miller

The friends she made at Mario Testino + whisked her about through London’s rich ecosystem of galleries and art fairs (day trips to Frieze, and the like) in the off hours and she finally fell love with the city. But it was one day in particular, after this internship had also run its course, that Jayme thinks upon most fondly.

“My happiest moment was when I found out that I was going to be Katie’s assistant. She took me and her previous first assistant, Isabelle, out for lunch and said, ‘I would love for you to be my next assistant if you would be interested.’”

The answer, of course, was a resounding yes. Fresh out of Fashion school and Jayme had secured a paying job with one of the world’s leading stylists. The days that have since ensued are just as dreamy as you might imagine, spent hopping about sets with names she’d fancied and followed for years. And even for Jayme, who had played a prominent part in Vancouver’s fashion styling scene, the professional set held much opportunity for excitement and growth.

Top Fashion Marketing School Graduate Jayme Miller

“I love being on set, it’s the best part. It sounds so cheesy to say, but just being around all of these amazing creative people who are there to make something really cool, putting their talent into making an image, is so amazing. It’s incredible to be around people who are so passionate about what they’re doing, and there are so many of them on set. It’s important to know who to speak to, who’s doing what; there are the producers and the agents, the models and all the assistants, and you think it’s just photographer, stylist, makeup artist but then they have three or four assistants and then there might be some interns as well. You have to know who everyone is and how you can help each other.”

Jayme is one of a team pulling the reference images that go on to give form to each story (a job that ‘necessitates’ regular dips into Central Saint Martin’s mind-blowing sea of art books), a prepper of shoot details (think casting and liaising with the offices of Valentino) as well as Katie’s vintage goods envoy.

Top Fashion Marketing Graduate Jayme Miller

“Katie really loves to use vintage pieces. We have a really strong list of pull spots: common ones like Beyond Retro, and really nice ones like Rellik, where they’ll have archive Westwood pieces from the 80s. There are places like The Contemporary Wardrobe where you can rent things as well. I love that part of it. As an assistant I get to have a lot of input with vintage pieces because Katie will send me to the shops. She’ll tell me, ‘Look for something like this.’ I love it when I pull something and we end up shooting it!

“For the shoot with Tilda Swinton, shot by Glen Luchford, in the last issue of AnOther I pulled a vintage white cotton t-shirt from House of Vintage in London. It was one of those nice soft t-shirts that are way overpriced in vintage shops. This one even had stains in the armpits and holes around the collar, but it was perfect for the grungy rocker theme of the shoot and Tilda wore it very prominently in one shot. In the last issue I pulled some nice vintage silk scarves from a shop called Modes and More and one of them was shot in the story by Katie and Benjamin Huseby!”

Top Fashion School Graduate Jayme Miller

To put it simply, Jayme has come a long way. Prior to Tilda, dusky vintage expeditions and luxuriating in the London scene, Jayme Miller was a young Kelowna tomboy langoring in Arts & Social Sciences studies at UBCO, impatient to get her life started and wondering what to do. She wouldn't guess then that Blanche Macdonald's career team would help secure her the internship of a lifetime - she only needed a firm direction in which to hurtle her will.

“I was just really excited by the tour, I thought it was great. I was happy to hear that the Fashion Marketing program was only a year because I was so eager to start my life; I just wanted to get going.”

“I was just really excited by the tour, I thought it was great. I was happy to hear that the Fashion Marketing program was only a year because I was so eager to start my life; I just wanted to get going.”

She wasted no time in making moves and great impressions with her instructors.

“Peggy’s classes of course, were a favourite! She’s a legend. I loved those classes so much. I was so into it that, in my spare time, I would keep on researching everything she spoke about.

“One of the best parts about going to Blanche was the styling I was able to do outside of the classroom; it really got me out of my comfort zone. I was quite shy and quiet and felt really uncomfortable reaching out to people before. Styling really helped me with that. It helped me build my aesthetic, and I would learn stuff every time we shot. Even just knowing of the collaboration between the team and how that works has been helpful for me out here. I relished being able to create images that I loved.”

Top Fashion Marketing Graduate Jayme Miller

Since Jayme has moved to London, she’s decided that perhaps Styling, though she does excel in it, is not the thing for her. There are daydreams of creative direction for down the road but she’s really too busy absorbing the wonders brimming over in her current position as Assistant to a truly extraordinary woman, and the learnings to be had in the creation of a new life.  

“It sounds so cheesy, but just seeing how I’ve evolved as a person and how much stronger I’ve become being here without my family, building a life for myself. I came here with next to nothing and now I have friends and a place to live and a real job.

“I’ve learned so much. I almost feel like a different person.”

And she has a ways to go yet. Under the brilliant sweep of Katie Shillingford’s experience, tossed into the interminable flurry of Fashion’s core, there can only be more exhaustingly phenomenal experiences on the zenith of Jayme’s career, and in the next steps of her ever-expanding world.

“Take a big crazy step. Take a big crazy step and just go for it, or it’s never going to happen. So many of my friends at home say, ‘Oh it’s so cool that you moved to London, I wish I could do that.’ Well, you can. Why not? People are worried about missing out on stuff at home but sometimes you just have to go do something crazy, start a new life somewhere. And you can always go back.”

Top Fashion Marketing Graduate Jayme Miller

Jayme Miller Top 5

Thu, 17 Dec 2015 00:00:00 PST