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Fashion Design Graduate Jesse Samuels Sews On-Screen Style in Hollywood North

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Jesse Samuels never planned on entering the movie business. But when the aspiring designer was presented with a chance to create clothes for the entire watching world to see, she jumped at the opportunity. In her role as a seamstress in Vancouver’s ever-busy film and TV industry, she’s flexing her fashion muscles on a daily basis.

“You’re making something brand new every day,” she beams. “It’s incredibly creative because you continually run into issues. You need to know how to problem-solve and use your skills to make it work. All I ever wanted to do was sew for a living so this is perfect!”

You’ve seen Jesse’s clothes in Imaginary Mary, Legends of Tomorrow and The 100. You’ll soon spot more on the forthcoming series Lost in Space and Snowpiercer. Sew far, sew good.

“When we’re building costumes the designer will make sketches and bring those to a cutter, who will interpret it into a pattern,” explains Jesse. “I work with the cutter to actually make the toile or the muslin, which are two terms for the first version of the garment. The designer will approve that and pick out fabrics and notions. At that point it also has to be approved by the producer and director. Then I make the finished garment. It can go surprisingly smoothly but if it’s not approved we have to start from scratch. That can happen a day before we have to start shooting.”


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Bringing Makeup Magic to Vancouver, Emmy Winning Makeup Artist Holland Miller, Blanche Macdonald Instructor and Graduate

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Making monsters comes naturally to Holland Miller. They’re part of his psyche already. So why not bring them to the big screen?

“I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis and intense nightmares my whole life. In eighth grade I decided to face my fears and went to the opening night of Nightmare on Elm Street. I didn’t sleep for the next two nights, but at the same time, I couldn’t get enough of it.”

The Blanche Macdonald Makeup School graduate-turned-instructor had caught the bug that would lead him to become an internationally renowned Makeup Effects magician. Now he’s inspiring the next generation, on screen and in the classroom. You’ve seen his work in Deadpool, Death Note, Star Trek Beyond, Supergirl, The Magicians, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, The Cabin in the Woods, Elysium, Sucker Punch, Underworld Awakening, A Haunting In Connecticut, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Underworld: Evolution, The Chronicles of Riddick, Twilight: New Moon, The X-Files, Fringe, Supernatural, Once Upon A Time, Almost Human, Falling Skies, Stargate and (to the excitement of his current crop of students) Riverdale. It’s an incredible résumé, considering his makeup career’s unlikely beginnings.

“By facing my fears I thought that when I did have these nightmares, I wouldn’t be scared. I wanted to know everything, so I bought all the Fangoria magazines and sci-fi and horror fanzines I could get my hands on. I went to community college when I was 17 and did some art courses. In a commercial illustration class I drew a coffin with a corpse coming out of it for a funeral home. I thought it was funny as hell. My instructors rejected it without even looking at it.”

With an artistic career looking unlikely, Holland enlisted in the US Navy. On duty in the Persian Gulf during the First Gulf War, the opportunity to reignite his creative tinderbox arrived unexpectedly.

\"We’d run emergency first aid simulation operations. They were looking for someone to simulate wounds. I told them I was into horror movies. I had cotton, latex, rubber and little bits of plastic. I made a broken femur and tibia from what I remembered from Fangoria. People were blown away with how graphic it looked. Seeing how shocked people were with how gross and realistic they thought it was, I knew I could do this.”


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ONE TO WATCH: FASHION MARKETING GRADUATE JENA HIRSCH INTERNS AS MAISON MARGIELA'S COUTURE PRESS INTERN

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Dedicated, determined and fierce Blanche Macdonald graduate Jena Hirsch took one step out our doors after graduating from our Fashion Marketing program and was swept away by the alluring tide of the fashion world across the pond. But to where exactly? Paris! For what? A dream internship in the illustrious atelier of Maison Margiela as their Artisanal (couture) press intern. Despite speaking basically no French, Jena has immersed herself in a new, beautiful dream world filled with couture, baguettes, endless Uber trips and of course, their show in Paris Fashion Week. And yes, she met John Galliano!

Blanche Macdonald Centre: First things first - we heard you met John Galliano! Tell us everything.

Jena Hirsch: I did! It’s such a small company that all the teams work together often.  The one time we had a conversation, it was about one of the looks coming back from a shoot damaged so it was both terrifying and exciting that he knew my name! My main interactions with him and his team were when they would hand select things for a shoot.  They would need different pieces and I would bring the looks to them because it was my responsibility to know who had them and where the items were.  

BMC: So amazing! And what was it like working their fashion show?

JH: That’s when things got super busy! There were days I was there for 12 hours and I worked a couple weekends as well. This year was particularly hectic because the show was held at the Margiela headquarters. It was a fairly last minute change of plans so pretty much overnight the headquarters needed to be turned into a runway. It was so beautiful! They recreated John Galliano’s office and had such a gorgeous white space.  My job at the show was to sign in guests as they arrived and show them to their seats.  This meant I got to greet a lot of celebrities and bloggers that I admire and even have an extended chat with people when they had questions.


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One to Watch: Fashion Marketing Grad and Stylist Ghazal Elhaei leads Vancouver-based Agency Capital G Creatives

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Ghazal Elhaei is a creative force to be reckoned with. Between running her self-started digital marketing and events agency, Capital G Creatives, styling as part of her core creative team, and working on visual art while developing related side projects, I marvel aloud at the enormity of her typical workday when she stops by the Blanche Macdonald Atelier campus in the morning on her way to her studio. But a full calendar isn’t daunting to this Global Fashion Marketing grad: “If you want to make time, you make time,” she assures me, and laughs.

Warm, charismatic, and brimming with ambitious energy, Ghazal is an astonishing do-all fashion industry insider unlike anyone you’ve met before. But don’t just take my word for it: Here she is, in her own words, on being fearless in fashion, building a dynamic business from the ground up, and what it’s like to be an integral part of Vancouver’s vibrant creative community.

Blanche Macdonald Centre: How did you know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion, and what made you choose to study Fashion Marketing at Blanche Macdonald?

Ghazal Elhaei: Fashion has always been very relevant to my life, but I’m not one of those people where, growing up, I had a passion for fashion. I wanted to be a writer like Diane Sawyer and to work for Vanity Fair or The New York Times.

I spent a couple years pursuing music before I went to Blanche Macdonald. I was a singer. A big part of my music career was creating my brand, my image, and the different outfits onstage. When I was making the transition from music to the next phase of my life, fashion made the most sense. It’s more behind-the-scenes than music; it’s about design, not about what’s happening in front. That’s something I’ve always enjoyed: Seeing how everything gets put together.

While putting on big shows and photoshoots for myself, I developed this—intrigue, I guess you could say, for the fashion world. I met with [Blanche Macdonald Admissions Associate] Pam [Chong] and it seemed like a good fit.

Going into any situation, you have to do your research. Blanche Macdonald had the energy that I liked. Right off the bat when I walked in and met everybody, I saw the teachers running around, and the students, and I thought, “This is totally my kind of vibe!” When there’s someplace that makes me feel that way, I jump right in. I started about a month after I applied.


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Makeup Instructor Leah Elliston Brings Fashion Week Fabulousness to the Classroom

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Blanche Macdonald students in Leah Elliston’s Fashion Makeup classes receive more than insider tips and techniques from an Artist regularly creating magic backstage at Fashion Weeks around the world. They’re also getting daily shots of inspiration from a Makeup Artist whose passion for fashion continues to swell.

“Working at a big show is amazing,” insists Leah. “It’s hectic and there’s pressure, but it’s always exciting. When I see the models in the clothes, makeup and hair, that’s everything to me. If it’s a collection or a designer I love, I’ll still get goose bumps. I worked on a Mary Katrantzou show in London two years ago that was absolutely stunning. The intricacy of design was so beautiful. The talent you’re working with across the board at a Fashion Week in London, Paris, Milan or New York, from the designer to the Makeup team, is ridiculous. It’s so cool to be a part of that.”

Leah’s awe-inspiring résumé is a reflection of a life that regularly takes her away from her Vancouver home. Among its many highlights are her stints working at various Fashion Weeks for names and brands like Roberto Cavalli, Vivienne Westwood, Giambattista Valli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Simone Rocha, Balmain, Temperley London and Chloé. Away from the runway she’s brought her artistry to the Juno and Leo Awards, the Canadian Country Music Awards and the Toronto International Film Festival (where she groomed stars included Forest Whitaker, Kevin Spacey, Josh Groban and James Taylor). Somehow she finds the time to document her work and her views on today’s trends at her blog, Smudge Style. All of which make clear that Canada's Top Makeup School students are in the presence of Makeup royalty.

There was an artist dwelling inside Leah from an early age. She’ll cheekily remind anyone asking that the proof of that latent talent arrived when she was a six year old growing up in Nottingham, England.

“I won an award!” she laughs. “When Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married my school held a painting competition. From the entire school, I was the winner! My prize was a cup sent directly from Buckingham Palace!”


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SASKATOON'S RESIDENT HAIR AND MAKEUP EXTRAORDINAIRE FALLON BRYNNE NYGAARD

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

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Double Blanche Macdonald graduate Fallon Brynne Nygaard has been setting Saskatoon ablaze with her beauty skills since graduating from Blanche Macdonald’s Pro Hair Program and Freelance Makeup Program. Finding her home at The Lemon Tree Salon and Studio, Fallon has amassed quite the following of dedicated clients who come for her sparkling and shimmering attitude and stay for the fierce blowouts, killer cuts and show-stopping colours. Her love of sultry hair and brows that are on fleek is challenged by only one thing - her love of dogs! (“Seriously, I want like 65!”) Meet this charming, cheeky and totally kick ass animal lover and graduate that is raising the bar of Saskatoon’s beauty game one beautifully blended balayage at a time.

Blanche Macdonald Centre: Fill in the blanks! My name is _____  and I am known for always doing / having ______ and ________. When I’m not at work, I like to wear ______ while doing my favourite activity, ______. All my friends would say I am _______!

Fallon Brynne Nygaard: My name is Fallon Brynne Nygaard, and I am known for always running into things, knocking over product shelves, and tripping at work, yet somehow being able to do hair with grace! While I’m not at work, I like to wear dresses and high heels while doing my favourite activity which is usually freelance gigs! I truly just love to work.  All my friends would say I am "the real MVP; a true homie!"

BMC: What game show or reality show you would slay if you were on it?

FBN: Dr. Phil. If "cash me ousside" made Danielle Bregoli famous, I have no doubt this is where I would find my fame and be instantly moved to a glamorous mansion in Beverly Hills and Jenny from the block would hire me as her personal stylist and makeup artist immediately!


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SHEAR TALENT: TYLA MALCOLM BECOMES NEWEST ENTREPRENEUR IN PRINCE RUPERT WITH PARLOUR BEAUTY BOUTIQUE

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

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After graduating from Blanche Macdonald’s Pro Hair Program, Tyla’s stunning strand skills landed her behind a chair at Volume Studio, one of Vancouver’s busiest and hottest salons. From there she laid out glowing balayages, killer cuts and everything in between for Vancouver’s hair trendsetters. Setting her sights on fulfilling her long-time dream of owning her own salon, Tyla relocated to Prince Rupert and opened Parlour Hair Boutique. Tyla’s dazzling reputation preceded her, and the salon has been fully booked since Day One. Although Parlour Hair Boutique has only been open a handful of months, it’s already a celebrated addition to the entrepreneurial scene of Prince Rupert, with a loyal following of clients waiting to receive Tyla’s magic touch. Graceful, poised and always professional, we’re celebrating Tyla and her new Owner / Head Stylist status!

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Blanche Macdonald Centre: Finish this sentence! “When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is _________.”

Tyla Malcolm: The first thing in the morning I do, after having a quick snuggle with my dog of course, is without a doubt head for coffee! My day doesn't start until I’ve had my first cup. In fact, most people know not to talk to me in the morning until I’ve had a few sips haha!

BMC: What do you remember most about your first day in your own salon?

TM: My first day in my salon I remember being super surreal. I couldn't really get over that I was in my own space, being my own boss, and was fully booked with clients!


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BMC QUEEN SUPREMES - MEET OUR DRAG STARS!

Synonymous with empowerment, infused with uniqueness, and brimming with vibrancy – it’s the magical weekend of Vancouver Pride!

With the city streets steeped in cascades of colour and glitter, laughter and hoorahs, those from near and far are welcomed with open arms to participate and celebrate all that encompasses this brilliant and diverse community.  

Celebrating our collective uniqueness in sexual orientation, gender, and gender choice, we feel honoured to be a part of this tremendous community! Our creative classrooms are built upon this foundation of fierce independence and powerful self-expression.

We’ve seen and met some truly unique individuals who have honed their voices and nurtured their spirits within our halls. The Pride parade is strutting up fast and fabulous, and to celebrate we reached out to a FIERCE few from our Blanche family who have been taking the local drag scene by storm.

Of course, we must leave some of the introduction up to our resident Drag Queen Supreme, Canada's Top Makeup School graduate and CurliQue Beauty Q Talent Leader Jaylene Tyme! The always exhilarating and utterly talented Jaylene has made an indelible mark on the LGBTQ+ community; her words about it and the art she contributes to it never cease to inspire and ignite those lucky enough to be exposed to it. 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 – we simply cannot think of anyone better to kick off this dazzling week!

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“Blanche Macdonald has always created a safe space for people to explore and reveal their magical side. Here is a showcase of artists that hone their craft with different mediums, but all with the same focus in mind: to follow their dreams, to share their passions, and to experience a world they never thought possible.  My heart has been so full being able to witness both artistry and the human spirit take flight in these halls.

Pride is an opportunity to express the celebration of freedom. It encourages people to come together and support one another. It also allows artists to express themselves through their craft with wild abandon; sharing what makes them unique and special.

I'm so proud to be a part of such an amazingly diverse artist collective. I have witnessed over the years the growth of expression, but also the confidence in people to explore beyond what they thought their limitations may have been. Pride is a celebration yes, but it also a responsibility to be aware that in order to be truly free, we need to stand tall in the face of any challenge and realize together we can continue to break down the barriers and allow the world, and our children, however they identify, to find their own personal freedom.

Check out these fabulous artists! HAPPY PRIDE!!”


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BMC QUEEN SUPREMES - MEET OUR DRAG STARS!

Synonymous with empowerment, infused with uniqueness, and brimming with vibrancy – it’s the magical weekend of Vancouver Pride!

With the city streets steeped in cascades of colour and glitter, laughter and hoorahs, those from near and far are welcomed with open arms to participate and celebrate all that encompasses this brilliant and diverse community.  

Celebrating our collective uniqueness in sexual orientation, gender, and gender choice, we feel honoured to be a part of this tremendous community! Our creative classrooms at Canada's #1 Makeup School are built upon this foundation of fierce independence and powerful self-expression.

We’ve seen and met some truly unique individuals who have honed their voices and nurtured their spirits within our halls. The Pride parade is strutting up fast and fabulous, and to celebrate we reached out to a FIERCE few from our Blanche family who have been taking the local drag scene by storm.

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"My drag character Raye Sunshine is known for her signature makeup skills and creative looks. Although when she is off the stage, she likes to wear gym clothes or all black (hunny, I'm a makeup artist it's all we own) while doing her favourite activity, which is the gym or being in her home studio creating art. All her friends think she is TOO BUUUUSSSAAAYYYY!” 

Blanche Macdonald Centre: What does the LGBTQ community mean to you?

Raye Sunshine: The community to me, is something that is about embracing things that others may find interesting. Say for someone who wants to feel like they belong in a group but doesn't know how to approach it, the LGBTQ+ community is the kind that would walk up to a person and invite them.

BMC: How did Blanche Macdonald help bring out your artistry?

RS: For me Blanche Macdonald brought out an artistry I was doing in the privacy of my home but it never had a name. It helped me grow my skills that I used to express myself and in an environment that was extremely nurturing - in particular, was Jill Wyness who took me under her wing and went above and beyond in even the smallest things.

BMC: How did you envision yourself giving to the community with your art?

RS: Now this is something I learned over time and it wasn't something I even knew I was doing until a friend pointed it out. But my art has given new, aspiring queens the push to do more and express themselves through makeup that they weren't doing before. So I always blush when someone comes up to me after a show and tells me how my art connected with them and made them want to do more.


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NEW MANE SQUEEZE - BLANCHE MACDONALD PRO HAIR GRADUATE ELIZA TRENDIAK OPENS SECOND VANCOUVER LOCATION OF ARTEL SALON!

Top Hair School Graduate Eliza Trendiak

“Artel, in Russian, means an association of artisans living and working together. We brainstormed a whole list of names but I really felt that this summed up what we were about. We’re all artists, we’re all independent but we’re also a family. We’re a team, we all learn together,” says Eliza Trendiak proudly. With the recent opening of her second location of Artel in the heart of Vancouver’s trendy Cambie neighborhood, the rocket success of Artel can be aptly attributed to the Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair graduate dedication and drive of her craft.

Eliza is a natural entrepreneur but, then again, she’s been self-starting since before she can remember.

“My family has always made fun of me, saying that I came out of the womb trying to start a business. As a kid I did lemonade stands, dog walking, sold cucumbers on the side of the road... you name it and was trying to start a business with it,” laughs Eliza.

It was no surprise to her parents then when Eliza declared that she was leaving her native New Hamburg, Ontario to go to Business University in BC. What did come to a surprise to Eliza was that she wasn’t 100% satisfied with the path that now lay at her feet.  


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