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Blanche Macdonald

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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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Sci-Fi and Special Makeup Effects: Twin Passions for Instructor Rachel Griffin

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From a Vancouver basement to the sets and FX shops behind global hits like The X-Files, Millennium, Stargate, Supernatural, Fringe, Once Upon A Time, Battlestar Galactica, Falling Skies, iZombie, Lone Gunman, Harsh Realm and countless others, Makeup superstar Rachel Griffin has proved that passion and practice can turn a fan into an industry insider.

“I blame it on my father,” laughs Rachel, relaxing in a classroom at Canada's #1 Makeup School, her home base for inspiring the next generation of makeup magicians. “I grew up on a steady diet of cheesy sci-fi. We’d watch things together like Star Trek, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Time Tunnel and Dr Who. When I was 16 or 17 Dad took me to see Star Wars. After that I knew I wanted to do something in film.”

Rachel’s done more than “something.” She’s become a fixture in the Vancouver Film and TV industry, starring in the city’s most creative FX shops and continuing to be producers’ favourites when they need an experienced hand on set. It’s more than a job to Rachel. She’s doing what she’s always loved.

“I’d watch sci-fi shows and think, how do they make these things? So I started buying special makeup effects books like Tom Savini’s Grand Illusions; that’s a bible for makeup effects people. I had a lab in my Mom’s basement! I made a little Star Wars movie in my bedroom with the toy figures and a Super 8 camera. I basically learned what not to do.”


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BLANCHE MACDONALD ESTHETICS GRAD AND BLU HARBOUR WELLNESS'S SPA LEAD TRACY CHERNIAK: NORTH VANCOUVER'S SUGARING EXPERT

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If life had turned out the way Tracy imagined, you’d be visiting her on the deck of a luxury cruise liner. But it was her piqued curiosity that got the better of her and forever set her life on a new path.

“Initially, I wanted to work in tourism. I had a friend who had registered for the Spa and Esthetics program at Blanche Macdonald and I thought it sounded so cool! I didn’t know anything about esthetics, or even what to call it, but I made an appointment with the school to have a tour and the next thing I knew, I was enrolling in the program. I liked the idea of a service industry, but this was much more realistic and with so many more opportunities!”

The opportunities that followed a world class education at Canada’s Top Spa School were almost immediately discernible to Tracy.

“I did do a bit of research on other schools, but nothing jumped out at me. I decided that I would call some local spas and ask whose graduates they would hire and everyone said ‘Oh, Blanche Macdonald grads are the best!’”

That was over 13 years ago. Now firmly planted in the Esthetics industry, there’s no other place Tracy would rather be. She’s the Spa Lead of North Vancouver’s Blu Harbour Wellness + Spa, the area’s only spa certified in Medical and Advanced Esthetics, which has been her home for the last 6 years.

“This location is fantastic. And my clients here are really wonderful. One of the estheticians we hired here was actually the one that covered my maternity leave at another spa in the area so we’re like a big family! And the owners are great - they’ve given me the opportunity to really grow my career and expand my skills.”


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Fashion Fervour: Blanche Macdonald Global Fashion Marketing Graduate Janelle Knihnitski Shines At Cos Vancouver

With their unique fashion voices, these Blanche Macdonald Global Fashion Marketing graduates are taking the industry by storm. Articulating their story to the world, our grads have navigated their way through fashion's ever evolving terrain, bridging the gap between knowledge and success: from luxury retail brands and glossy magazine offices, to prestigious PR firms and leading buying agencies. Our grads are 'serging' ahead of the trend, climbing the ranks of local and international scenes one fashion forward trend at a time. Meet these burgeoning fashion mavens that have become part of this thrilling community in our Fashion Fervour storytelling!

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As the Visual Manager at the highly-anticipated Vancouver opening of Swedish modern-minimalist brand COS, Blanche Macdonald Global Fashion Marketing graduate and Saskatoon-native, Janelle Knihnitski has successfully circumnavigated the Vancouver fashion scene, testing fate and ambitiously pursuing her goals to land herself in this coveted role. Besides being aligned with Janelle’s values and personal aesthetic, another fulfilling aspect of life with COS is that Janelle has already had the opportunity to travel to Montreal, New York, Toronto and Miami in her new position. Maintaining this sleek and resplendent space is no easy feat, but Janelle has demonstrated she is up to the task. Enthusiastic to learn, eager to grow and excited for what’s next to come, meet Janelle Knihnitski, accomplished, adventurous and a visionary in her creative field.


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BLANCHE MACDONALD PRO HAIR GRADUATE ERIN MURPHY FLOURISHES AT JUJU SALON

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You’d hardly expect to find your hair’s next best friend deep in the corridors of one of the city’s busiest train stations - but that’s exactly where you’ll find Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair graduate Erin Murphy. Nestled in Vancouver, a city famous for its artists and creatives, Erin has managed to build a steady clientele at her salon, carving a niche out for her instantly-recognizable hair skills just a few years after graduating from Blanche Macdonald’s Pro Hair program. Recently recognized by both Allure and Teen Vogue for her superior holographic hair creation, Erin’s Instagram (@erinm_hair) teems with her most luscious creations : from silky smooth balayages to dizzying dollops of the most electric colours you could possibly paint! Stunningly sweet, gracious and humble, Erin is here to whip your locks into the frenzy you’ve always wanted.


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