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!
Beauty. For Global Makeup graduate Eva Svobodova, it has been a lifelong fascination.
At University in her home country of the Czech Republic, Eva earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree studying the question “What is Beauty?” analyzing the theories of critics, philosophers and art historians who, like Eva, were searching for the answer.
Now, halfway across the world, Eva explores that very same question as a professional Makeup Artist in Vancouver, Canada. Moving from the theoretical to the practical, and from the pen to the brush, Eva creates beauty through her daring and dazzling artistry. Through her bold, colourful work she challenges us to question, to interact with and marvel at the medium of makeup.
In her short career Eva has graced the podium three times at the IMATS (International Makeup Trade Show) Battle of the Brushes, and she is already working as an in-demand Freelance artist for editorial, fashion shoots and films. With all that Eva has achieved just a month after her graduation, you would think she was born a makeup artist. But before she stumbled upon Blanche Macdonald two years ago, she didn’t even know makeup schools existed.
“I was 27 and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was googling one day and I found Blanche Macdonald by chance. I didn’t know you could actually study Makeup Artistry! So when I found out about the school, I knew I wanted to do it.”
Eva had always loved art, but she was left unfulfilled by her academic studies at University. Hoping that things would become clearer with a fresh perspective, Eva decided to travel and improve her English. She obtained a work permit for Canada, and landed on the West Coast ready for an adventure. But after a year in Vancouver, the only thing that was clear was that she wanted to remain in Canada. With work permit options exhausted, she decided to apply for a student visa. But to study what?
“I wanted to do something creative,” she recalls. “That was when I discovered Blanche Macdonald. I came and met with a director, read the reviews and it was all great. Everyone was so excited about this Makeup program. The atmosphere was so professional and everyone was so nice. I was really excited. So I said okay, let’s do it! And I am glad I did it!”
Makeup students lucky enough to be attending Leah Ehman's classes at Blanche Macdonald soon realize that they’re being treated to more than expert training from a Gemini Award-winning artist. They are getting the opportunity to fall in love with the artistry and emotion that go hand in hand with the creative process.
“I was on the set of Tron: Legacy when I realized that I’d achieved what I’d set out to do,” she smiles. “There is a scene where Garrett Hedlund enters the Tron world and is transformed into a computer program. The director asked us to come up with a look that had never been seen before. We were able to create some pretty amazing makeups that I’m very proud of on that show. On that set I was surrounded by international superstars like Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde. I’d already been working in film for many years, but that was a moment when I realized where I was and the level of work I was producing. That's when I realized my dreams were coming true.”
Leah understood the magnitude of her achievement. She's been a major contributor on TV shows and films including Suckerpunch, Stargate Atlantis, I Robot, The Big Year and countless more. Coming from the tiny northern Alberta town of Athabasca, it’s been a remarkable journey.
“Art has always played a major role in my life. Both my mother and grandmother were art teachers and my brother grew up to be a professional artist. Even today, one of my favourite things to do is spend an afternoon at galleries or museums. I remember being five years old scooping up clay to sculpt horses, and copying paintings from my parents’ art books.
“Growing up I was often mistaken for a boy. I was an ugly duckling always wishing for the swan transformation. I would save up all my babysitting money and invest it directly into magazines, clothes and of course makeup. I used the makeup to paint a more feminine me.”
Leah began her working career in hair salons, moving from Calgary to Edmonton and eventually Vancouver. By the time she reached Hollywood North, no one was mistaking her for a boy anymore.
“A talent agent spotted me and asked if I’d like to be an actress. I didn’t have the personality for that, but I did work as an extra once and awhile.”
One of those shows in need of a stunning extra was the X Files. It was where Leah’s eureka moment arrived.
“I walked into the hair and makeup trailer and I couldn’t believe it! They put me through the works. That’s when I first saw the level of excellence involved in being a film and television Makeup Artist. I thought to myself, I could do this!
“I attended makeup school in Vancouver, but I didn’t receive the level of education that Blanche Macdonald students get. Not even close. I had to seek out extra training on my own. Monique Venier was a teacher of mine. She was incredibly inspiring. She took me under her wing. I assisted her on photo shoots, runway shows, and even my first film. It was a cheesy film called The Fear Resurrection. It was so exciting. I couldn’t wait to jump out of bed and get to work every day. Monique was everything I wanted to be. Now that I’m a teacher, I strive to do the same: share my knowledge, inspire and nurture creativity.”
Makeup legend Todd McIntosh is more than a guest on his regular visits to Blanche Macdonald. Todd is family.
As our Makeup Director, Todd’s expert fingerprints – the same ones that won Emmy Awards for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Pushing Daisies – can be found over Canada’s ever-evolving and most complete makeup curriculum. He’s been at the helm of Blanche Macdonald’s Makeup Program for nearly 30 years now. So when Todd makes one of this regular pilgrimages to Vancouver, it’s more than business. It’s pleasure too.
That pleasure was shared with Blanche Macdonald’s students and instructors as Todd spent a week and half with us this summer, providing multiple days of detailed artistic and career advice with the next generation of makeup superstars.
Todd’s time at Canada’s Top Makeup School began with one-on-one sessions with our Battle of the Brushes contestants at the Vancouver IMATS, delivering wisdom that helped our graduates to a clean sweep of the podium – first, second and third – in the Character Prosthetics category and a superb second in the Beauty/Fantasy.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Todd since I was ten years old, when I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” explained Battle of the Brushes first place winner Devon Burbank. “The fact that he took time to critique my work was amazing. He suggested so many ideas about hiding edges and folding things out. Todd is incredible. At the end he gave me a full hug and I freaked out.”
Todd went on to spend two days visiting classes in progress, meeting students while providing hefty doses of inspiration and hands-on expertise.
BLANCHE MACDONALD MAKEUP GRADUATE DAISY HSIANG DISHES ON TAIWANESE MAKEUP, SHOOTS FOR VOGUE AND HER BIG DREAMS
With thousands of artists, stylists and designers 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!
Hailing from Taipei, Blanche Macdonald Global Makeup Co-op graduate Daisy Hsiang has the start of a stellar resume. Having her work published in Italian Vogue and Marie Claire Taiwan, and being represented by an overseas agency, Daisy is already living what, for most makeup artists, is a dream career. But these achievements aren’t the only cooler than cool things about this girl. Fostering her burgeoning career in Makeup from Industrial Management beginnings, Daisy had long ago made the decision to march to the beat of her own drum. Enveloping me in a hug and a squeal, you’d hardly expect the hustle that’s housed inside this doll of a person. Dressed in chic street wear that’s perfectly styled to her aesthetic, Daisy’s vibes are all about cool, collected confidence. With bright eyes, a big smile and in the sweetest, most humble way, Daisy talks about the international makeup scene, her journey so far, and gives advice for those looking to make it big in the global makeup industry.
Blanche Macdonald: What were your experiences growing up in Taiwan that made you want to go into makeup?
Daisy Hsiang: I love art. I actually started to study Industrial Management in university in Taiwan, which is when I started playing with makeup for the first time - so late! I wanted to know more about beauty makeup so I took a basic photography and professional makeup class while I was in university. My makeup class made me so happy and that’s how I decided that was what I needed to do with my life! The best thing is that my parents always support me when I want to learn something different.
BMC: What made you make the long journey to the Blanche Macdonald Centre?
DH: It’s the best makeup school in Canada, right?! It’s very famous all over especially in Asia. Everyone I talk to goes "Oh, I know that school!" I wanted to learn from the best so I came here! I visited Blanche Macdonald for the first time with my family and my Admissions Director Josephine Lee, I was so excited to be involved in this industry in Canada.
Canada’s film and TV industry had one of its biggest and busiest years in 2016 and Vancouver, AKA Hollywood North, was at its epicentre. The city played host to superheroes and villains, monsters, romantic leads and sci-fi fighters, along with some of the world’s biggest stars playing them. And none of them were coming for the weather.
There’s a long list of reasons why Vancouver has become the ideal location for some of North America’s most popular and best-regarded productions. Hollywood studios and networks love our architecture, our close-knit TV and film community, and the laid back atmosphere in a city that understands that even movie megastars are here to do their jobs.
They also love that Vancouver is blessed with some of the world’s best TV and Film Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists, a once-select group growing exponentially as demand for their skills continues to boom. Our beautiful city’s Movie Makeup family was beyond busy in 2016, with more than a few Blanche Macdonald graduates and instructors taking starring roles.
MAKEUP GRAD-TURNED-INSTRUCTOR DAEMON CADMAN BOLDLY GOES TO THE BIG SCREEN WITH HER EXQUISITE AIRBRUSH ARTISTRY!
Daemon Cadman’s classes are always full of creativity and laughter, but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever accept less than the very best from her students. Behind the incredible artistry, positive attitude and ever-present smile, Daemon possesses a tenacity that she routinely passes on to her students at Canada’s Top Makeup School.
“I treat people in the classroom the same way they’ll be expected to work outside of school,” she explains. “You’ll have days when everything goes wrong. It happens to all of us. I tell students, if you’re going to have a meltdown, go to the bathroom, have a cry, then come back and do your makeup. On my first day in the Effects Shop working on Star Trek Beyond I sat in the bathroom three times because I was so stressed out. But you either quit or you do it. You look yourself in the mirror, go back out and do your best work.”
That stressful first day in the Effects Shop blossomed into seven weeks of work painting prosthetic appliances for aliens for one of this year’s guaranteed blockbusters. Which is remarkable, as Daemon doesn’t consider herself a Makeup Effects Artist. But it makes perfect sense once you understand that her entire career has been a series of unexpected triumphs. She never even set out to be a Makeup Artist.
“I grew up in a very artistic environment in Vancouver,” she recalls. “My Dad played in bands and my Mom was a writer. It was a very free environment. My Mom bought me face paints when I was about seven, which was also when I found some David Bowie and Kiss albums. I would roller-skate around the block with blonde pigtails and my face painted, usually like Ace Frehley.”
Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ll be familiar with the work of Charlotte Tilbury. You’ve seen her handiwork on some of the most famous faces in the world, as Charlotte is the makeup artist Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Penelope Cruz all call when they need to look their best. Which, in their lines of work, is a regular requirement. Quite simply, Charlotte Tilbury is makeup royalty.
Wherever Charlotte is working, Blanche Macdonald makeup graduate Kelly Mitchell is close by. Kelly travels the world from her new home in London, England as the National Artistry and Development Manager and a star member of the Global Pro Team for Charlotte Tilbury Makeup.
With two roles at a rapidly expanding company, plus a growing number of private clients, Kelly stays busy. That’s fine with her. She loves every minute.
“Every month I’ll do two or three starter trainings in the UK, Ireland or Amsterdam as the National Artistry and Development Manager,” she explains. “That’s a five-day course when we introduce new starters to our brand, whether they work in head office or for one of our retail accounts. We teach everything from Charlotte’s history to the brand’s philosophy and positioning, to doing practical makeup training. The next week I might be with Charlotte in LA, Chicago, New York or Vancouver to support her at a Global Pro Event. I might fly to Milan Fashion Week and do some shows. I also work once a week in the office creating content, developing and testing products and colours. For me it’s the perfect balance. I love planning and the business side of work, but I would never want to give up the artistic side of makeup. I love the diversity of this job!”
Kelly’s infectious enthusiasm for the makeup line makes her a natural saleswoman. But that positive attitude didn’t just arrive when she got the job. She’s been that way since she started studying at Canada’s top Makeup School.
“I didn’t wear much makeup in high school, but I loved painting and working with people and fashion. I figured I would become a Makeup Artist and have a fun job while I’m young, then I would get a real job a few years later. My opinion about the makeup world changed quickly once I came to Blanche Macdonald. I’d never realized how many incredible opportunities there are in this industry and how I could develop my business skills.
“I was really eager. I was the student that stayed behind helping out and asking questions. I wanted to go for it. I realized I was learning from some of the best artists in the world. I was inspired by their work and what they’d achieved.”
What a weekend! The 2016 edition of the Vancouver International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) was the best yet, as thousands of Makeup Artists, ranging from the professional to recreational, descended on the Vancouver Convention Centre to stock up on product and inspiration.
Both were in plentiful supply on the Blanche Macdonald/CurliQue Beauty stand, which drew large crowds as Makeup Program Director and industry legend Todd McIntosh demonstrated his prosthetics wizardry over the course of a Sunday afternoon. Proving that the possibilities of Makeup are indeed limitless, Todd created a realistic alien in a matter of hours – using discarded prosthetics pieces he retrieved from the bottom of a cupboard in his studio!
It wasn’t just industry veterans creating magic. In the Battle of the Brushes, the ultimate competition for new Makeup Artists, Blanche Macdonald students shone, taking a superb second in the Beauty/Fantasy category, and filling the podium – taking first, second and third – in a hotly contested Prosthetics competition, crafting aliens on the theme of Four Decades of Star Wars.
For Prosthetics first place winner Devon Burbank, her victory was a triumph of tenacity over setbacks.
“My airbrush broke a few days ago so I bought a new airbrush and that broke too,” she revealed, minutes after her victory. “We fixed it yesterday and today it broke again. So today’s paint job was sponges and q-tips. Today’s been a flux of emotions. It was an incredible experience and an amazing opportunity to be part of this event. I’m filled with joy. When they said my name I thought I was going to hit the floor. But I didn’t!”
The Battle of the Brushes Prosthetics Competition is the ultimate mix of preparation and inspiration. With prosthetics pieces handed out at random 20 minutes before the contest begin, an artist’s ability to instantly harness creativity is invaluable.
“I was excited to have random prosthetics thrown at me,” continued Devon, “Because I love creating on the spot. I like doing makeup on the spur of the moment. That’s when I feel my heart is into it. I was going to use a bald cap but that was all I knew. I was given two eyebrow pieces, a chin piece and two cheek pieces. The cheeks didn’t fit well or look right, so I flipped them and added them to my model’s collarbones, which made them look so defined.”
“Thank you for being alive and for following your heart.”
Makeup Superstar Roque Cozzette knows how to make a great first impression. And his beautiful opening words at his magical presentation at Blanche Macdonald’s Atelier Campus provided an apt introduction for a morning coloured with splashes of emotion, inspiration and creativity.
Roque’s makeup has appeared on runways and in print for Christian Dior, Valentino, Y3, Louis Vuitton, John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Victoria’s Secret, Prada and Givenchy. Creating professional grade products alongside high-end fashion looks; he’s also turned Infinite Makeup and his own Cozzette vegan brushes into global brands. In short, Roque Cozzette is makeup royalty.
Both his artistry and products were on display throughout a fascinating makeup demo, as Roque transformed Blanche Macdonald grad-turned-youtube beauty queen Trina Duhra into a shimmering explosion of fashion editorial colour. Throughout the application Roque answered questions from host, CurliQue Beauty Team Leader Jaylene McRae and students, covering topics ranging from Photoshop (“think about it as a colour tool”), to confidence (“It comes from having a standard look and building colour theory into my plan”) to the often underrated art of assisting (“You’re serving the higher good, and there’s greatness in that”).
Most of all though, Roque came to Canada’s top Makeup School to reinforce the importance of emotion, intuition and inspiration, whether it comes from individuals’ faces or motorcycle gas tanks.
“Being here means you’ve already taken the first step,” he explained. “Having the opportunity to create is the greatest joy. Be your most authentic self. I created this. You can create your dreams too.”