Blanche Macdonald Centre http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/ News from Blanche Macdonald Centre BACKSTAGE WITH PAT MCGRATH WINNER FROM GUADALAJARA - BLANCHE MACDONALD MAKEUP STUDENT ANDREA PALOMEC URREA http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/un-profile-makeup-coop-student-andrea-palomec-urrea/ 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 celebration of culture, 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!

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Fresh faced and humbly confident, Andrea offers a huge smile from her red-slicked lips immediately upon meeting me. Her rolled ‘r’s and charming Spanish accent make every word so melodious, it’s hard not to be hypnotized once she begins speaking of her native Guadalajara, Mexico and her passion for her artistry. Only half-way through Blanche Macdonald's Global Makeup program, she’s already achieved some incredible milestones - being one of 10 chosen winners of the Backstage with Pat McGrath Instagram contest and a spread in Harper’s Bazaar Mexico and Vogue Italia. Despite this, it’s clear her gratitude for everything she’s done serves only as a fire that fuels her desire to do and learn even more. With a penchant for ‘pretty’, a style that is ‘natural but with light touches’ and an aim to delve deep into the Fashion / Editorial Makeup world, this driven soon-to-be powerhouse has her sights set on fashion capitals New York, Milan, Paris, London and beyond. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before she gets there!

Blanche Macdonald Centre: Let’s get straight to juicy details. Tell us about your time with Pat McGrath and the contest you won!

Andrea Palomec Urrea: It was so good! I stayed in The Mondrian which was so nice and she left little handwritten notes in our rooms saying that she would see us all for breakfast the next morning, there were about ten other artists there. Suddenly, we were backstage at the Tommy Hilfiger RTW spring 2017 show! We got to do makeup on the models and got direction and feedback from her team! Her team really is amazing, they work so differently from anything I’d ever seen. Even the way they put moisturizer on models, it’s so specific. They do everything with their hands and they’re always so, so clean with everything. I even met Jenna Kuchera (Blanche Macdonald graduate)! She made a point to find me and say ‘Hi’ - she was so sweet. Pat McGrath is super nice, just the best person. I felt so lucky the entire time.

BMC: That’s SO amazing! And how did it all come about?

APU: It started with a photographer friend I have in Mexico. When we were working together, he started helping me with my social media. He started tagging artists and brands in our photos and of course, Pat McGrath on our best images. One day she liked a photo and so I started tagging her in more and more on my own. When she messaged me telling me I’d won the Backstage with Pat McGrath contest and I almost started to cry! I actually didn’t hear anything for months. So I reached out and asked if it was still happening and she got back to me and said it absolutely was so I waited some more. Randomly in the gym one day I checked my email, I’m really bad with my email, and there was a message from her saying I needed to be in LA for this certain date and it was like two weeks away! But I got my ticket and made the arrangements to go.

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BMC: How did that experience affect your artistry and outlook when you got back?

APU: When I came back, I felt so different because I knew exactly where I wanted to be. I’ve always loved fashion makeup but I’d never knew Prosthetics or Special Effects makeup. After that, I knew that I wanted to be part of a team doing things like that. It really changed my perspective.

BMC: Have you always wanted to study makeup?

APU: Ever since I was an older teenager, yes. When I was 18, I went to a smaller makeup school, which was actually started by a Blanche Macdonald graduate, that had all these little courses in different makeup styles and I loved it! I was so excited by everything I was learning. I couldn’t do enough - I started doing makeup for my friends, for weddings and special events and everything!

BMC: Wow! And were you able to start your portfolio with some of these jobs?

APU: Yes! I had a friend who wanted to be a photographer and another friend who did hair so we teamed up and started doing projects and showing people and then all of a sudden, we were getting jobs all over Mexico!

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BMC: That’s amazing. Were parents supportive of this career path for you?

APU: They were very supportive of me. After I finished my makeup program there, I wanted to just come straight here but my parents said that if I finished a degree in university, any degree, that they would send me wherever I wanted to go! I looked at it as an opportunity to study makeup from another angle so I studied film and production. I did an accelerated program because I wanted to come to Blanche Macdonald so badly so I took more and more classes and I actually went back in December, during my break from my Makeup program here, to walk in my graduation ceremony from university.

BMC: It must’ve been nice to visit home for a little bit. You got a pretty cool job out of the trip home, didn’t you?

APU: Yes! My photographer friend knew I was coming home for my university graduation and so he called me and was like ‘You have to come through Mexico City - I got us a job.’ I didn’t really know what it was but I did it anyways and it turned out that he was shooting for Harper’s Bazaar Mexico and they wanted him to find a Makeup Artist for the shoot!

BMC: What an amazing opportunity and great friend! What made you sure you wanted to come to Blanche Macdonald?

APU: The instructor I had in my makeup courses in Mexico knew how much I loved it and how I wanted to learn every aspect of the business and every makeup technique was initially the one that suggested Blanche Macdonald to me. So I looked it up and saw the course outline, the website, all the social media channels and then I read some grad profiles and reviews and it was all so inspiring! I knew it was going to teach me everything I wanted to learn.

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BMC: What have been some of your favourite moments and projects so far in your program?

APU: That’s a hard question to answer! I love every moment with my classmates - they’re so funny and nice. They’re always doing things that make us laugh and learn together. Every day is my favourite. My favourite project was my fashion one for sure. I experimented with blending and really impressed myself with what I could do. I also really liked my TV & Film final thought. It was really hard but I was really proud of the final project. Everyone did bloody things for that final but I don’t really like bloody things, I like pretty and so I made the cutest little cupid character with a teeny nose and everything!

BMC: So how has your time in Vancouver been so far? Is it a lot different from life in Mexico?

APU: It’s been so good! The people are so, so nice here and not at all cold. The city is full of people from all over the world which makes learning English so much easier and better. I feel like it’s OK if I still don’t know what some things mean because there’s so many other people speaking other languages. It’s way different here! Back in Mexico I had my room with my big, big bed, all my things and my car - I knew exactly where to get everything I wanted. Here I live with two girls downtown, in one room! But we’ve made it nice so it’s home. It’s more of an adventure here though!

BMC: What would you say to someone else wanting to move and come to school here?

APU: I would say to just enjoy every module even if you think you know which one you’ll like best. One thing I always try to think of is something my father always tells me when I worry ‘don't be desperate for things, just enjoy things and try your best and it will come by itself!’

This program definitely doesn’t feel like school! It feels like you’re having fun and creating things with very nice people. Everyone would love it here in Vancouver and at Blanche Macdonald - I’m very lucky.  

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Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:00:00 PST
Sci-Fi and Special Makeup Effects: Twin Passions for Instructor Rachel Griffin http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/top-makeup-school-graduate-instructor-rachel-griffin/ top-makeup-school-graduate-instructor-rachel-griffin

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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If at first you don’t succeed, try harder. At the time there were no Makeup Effects courses in Vancouver (not until Blanche Macdonald incorporated them into our programs) so Rachel continued to work on her craft in her Mom’s basement, creating opportunities for herself by distributing her business card around the city’s few film schools.

Vancouver’s film industry was taking its first baby steps back in the 1980s. Aware that opportunity was unlikely to come knocking, Rachel decided to kick the door down.

“I called myself ‘The Foam Latex Surgeon, Your Doctor of Disguise!’ I had a portfolio I would carry around with me. I eventually ran into Todd McIntosh on Hastings Street and introduced myself. He took my number and one day he gave me a call out of the blue, asking for help on an A&W root beer commercial. He had a lab in the basement of his house and I helped him make prosthetics and dentures for the cavemen in the commercial. We filmed in Porteau Cove, and I remember the reaction of people we drove past on the highway from Vancouver, staring at the cavemen in the truck with us. It made me think, this is a neat thing to do!”

Vancouver didn’t have the industry infrastructure to support full time Makeup Effects Artists back then. That didn’t deter Rachel, who opened her own FX Shop, Underground Effects.

“The fire inspector arrived, and that was the beginning of the end of Underground Effects,” she laughs. “But through that I’d met Toby Lindala, Bill Terezakis and made friends with a lot of the people doing Makeup Effects in Vancouver. Halfway through the first series of The X-Files Toby Lindala called me up and told me he needed some help. I’ve been full time in film and TV ever since. I worked on Supernatural since the first episode. What a great show! We did a guy whose face had been ripped off last season. I’ve done eyes that have been blown out a head. Even if my work is only on screen for a fraction of a second, I still want to make it look great.”

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Equally enthusiastic on set or in the FX shop, Rachel’s versatility enables her to enjoy the best of both worlds.

“Jan Newman had hired me to do regular makeup for Stargate, when Todd Masters approached me to work at his FX shop for the same show! It’s nice to do a combination of both aspects of Makeup Effects. When I started working on The X-Files and Millennium I would help with the designs, sculpt and mould the prosthetics and then take them to set to apply them to the actors. Nowadays those are two jobs. Set life has a whole different list of demands. You’re there all day, keeping an eye on your makeups and cleaning things up after the actors have been eating. The shop is a little more relaxed, even though I do go through set withdrawal when I’m not there for a while. I like an equal balance of both, and now I enjoy teaching too!”

Students at Blanche Macdonald are also enjoying it, learning what it takes to succeed in the highly competitive TV and Film Makeup business from an Artist that has done it all.

“I bring my experience to the classroom. I used to get emails all the time from perspective students asking what they should look for in a school, and I’d always say the most important thing is learning from industry professionals. You’re not being taught out of a book. You’re getting the benefit of someone who’s been on set and lived it. You not only have to be good, you have to be fast. When I’m working on Supernatural, they’ll always say ‘it’s Rachel, she can do it in 20 minutes!’ I tell my students to get good first. Then work on your speed.

“Blanche Macdonald is a great school. It’s full of industry professionals. We’ve all been there and done it. I teach what I’ve done on set and in the shop on class, exactly how we’d do it in the film industry. I try to make my classes as close to being in a studio or on set as possible. Time management is huge in this business. If you miss a deadline in class you lose marks, but if you miss a deadline professionally you won’t be working for long! There’s no messing around.”

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Having utilized her talents at beauty and effects makeup throughout her movie adventures, Rachel understands that the more skills students have under their belt, the further they can take their own careers.

“It comes down to colour. When you’re doing beauty makeup you’re choosing a colour foundation. With prosthetics you’re picking a colour too. You’re painting the life into it. Todd McIntosh led the Makeup Team on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the morning he’d do the prosthetics and in the afternoon he’d do the beauty makeup. If you can do both yourself that’s another person they don’t have to hire. And more work for you! In the commercial and independent worlds you’re probably going to get hired over the person who doesn’t have the extra skill. I teach Photoshop too. If you’re interviewing for a movie it’s very impressive for directors and producer when you can pull out Photoshop designs to show your ideas. You’re showing them that you have skills and the enthusiasm to go that extra mile.”

“I love it when I see a student’s light bulb go on and they finally figure it out. They’ll go from a confused frown to a smile. I love that moment of discovery.”

Blanche Macdonald students are getting more than expertise and experience. They’re receiving daily doses of inspiration from an industry insider whose inner nerd is still alive and kicking.

“On the first day of Millennium I was painting a headless body when Lance Henriksen, from Aliens, started chatting with me. His wife was a Makeup Artist and we hit it off. After that we would chat like normal pals. It took me years to ask him for an autograph!”

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Thu, 13 Jul 2017 00:00:00 PST
BLANCHE MACDONALD ESTHETICS GRAD AND BLU HARBOUR WELLNESS'S SPA LEAD TRACY CHERNIAK: NORTH VANCOUVER'S SUGARING EXPERT http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/top-esthetics-school-graduate-tracy-cherniak/ top-esthetics-school-graduate-tracy-cherniak

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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Despite a wonderful and family-like work atmosphere, there’s one other very important factor that keeps Tracy doing what she does every single day.

“I enjoy esthetics. I’m definitely a lifer. I always reflect back when I was a kid and my poor little sister! I used to pretend to do her nails or I’d put a bowl of boiling water on the floor and make her lean over it to give her a facial. When I started school, she was always my model and she was like ‘This is nice! You know what you’re doing now!’”

In fact, Tracy is so good at what she does, her clientele spans from Squamish to Cloverdale and Kitsilano to Tsawwassen. Tracy’s service specialities span from advanced skincare treatments to OxyGeneo facials and Micro Needling but what she’s known for specifically is her Sugar Hair Removal services. As the only Sugar expert at Blu Harbour, to say Tracy’s services are ‘in-demand’ would be a bit of an understatement; couple this demand with her inability to say ‘no’ to a client, and Tracy’s days get very busy, very fast.

“My days are very busy. I do a lot of sugaring and then there’s usually some other services sprinkled in like manis, pedis and facials. My days get booked so fast that when a client calls and can’t get in, I usually take them even if it means I stay later than I’m meant to. I’ve very bad at saying ‘no’! I even booked myself 2 hours later tomorrow night because there are clients who absolutely need to come in.”

But staying late doesn’t bother Tracy. Keeping her clients happy, as she sees it, is the main point of the job.

“My clients are very, very loyal. They’re the ones who, during a discouraging or slow time, will help carry me through. I’ve been in the industry for a long time and one of the main keys to success is building good relationships with your clients.”

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It should come as no surprise then, that Tracy’s favourite part of her job is her clients.

“My clients are the best part of my day. Getting to know them and share their lives is amazing. Some of them are my close friends now, we’ve really surpassed that client/esthetician relationship. I’m a talker so to get to come to work and socialize all day is great to me.”

And the clients seem to love her as much as she loves them. With so much industry experience and a dedicated following of clientele, Tracy has found true success in a career she’s built all on her own and now, new estheticians are coming to her to develop their own career path.

“We recently hired a new esthetician at the spa and I’m mentoring her. The thing I keep saying to her is to not get discouraged. It takes about a year to build a good client base but that will come, especially if you take your time and do little extras for them. Even if they’re coming in for a hair removal, give them a little massage after. Whatever their service, just try and make it the nicest and most relaxing version of that service. We have the power to make people’s days so much better so why wouldn’t we try our absolute best to do that?”

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Tue, 04 Jul 2017 00:00:00 PST
Fashion Fervour: Blanche Macdonald Global Fashion Marketing Graduate Janelle Knihnitski Shines At Cos Vancouver http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/top-fashion-school-graduate-janelle-knihnitski/ 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.  

Blanche Macdonald Centre: As Head of Visual at COS, what does an average workday look like for you?

Janelle Knihnitski: There isn’t really an average workday at COS because there are so many facets to the job. Your objective as a visual is to ensure the store represents the brand and is cohesive with the company globally. This can involve anything from merchandising a room and styling mannequins to using your tool kit and building window props (I’ve become very good friends with my drill). At the same time looking at the targets and re-evaluating your merchandising and making a change while working with your team on achieving visual standards.

There is a lot that goes into the job and you can take inspirations from many different resources; the website, newsletters and company documents. You want a customer to walk into a store in Vancouver and walk into a store in London and recognize that it is the same brand just in different environments. Everyday is a different adventure, which keeps you on your toes. Making it always feel new and exciting!

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BMC: Becoming part of the team for this highly-anticipated store opening must have been really exciting. What were the stepping stones for you to achieve such a coveted role?

JK: Yes it was and still is very exciting. It’s been quite a journey to get where I am now and I couldn’t be happier, it just took some time to realize my goals and what truly makes me happy at work.

I’m originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan—The Paris of the Prairies! The city is beautiful and I have wonderful friends and family there but it came to a point where I needed more. So I packed my bags and made my way to Vancouver to attend the Fashion Marketing Program at Canada's Top Fashion School.

Once I graduated I worked my way up to management, mostly in operations. But I always found myself merchandising and helping with visuals. So I decided that if I’m going to work I might as well be doing what makes me happy. The next step was hard to do, but I decided to quit my job and start over. I had no backup plan and barely any savings. The months following were quite an adventure, you get to be pretty inventive when you don’t have a job. But it gave me the opportunity to look for a career that would make me truly happy.

So I re-started from the ground up working in visuals, I worked hard and stuck to my goals and the right people started to take notice. It gave me the confidence to take my career to the next level and find a company that I truly believed in.

Now here I am working at COS as the Visual Manager! I believe in their values, I love the clothes and the space is a dream to work with. I started in September and have gotten to travel to so many places already; I’ve gotten to see Montreal, New York, Toronto and Miami.

The opening was a lot of hard work and busy days but it was amazing. We had COS employees from all over the world coming to support us here in Vancouver to make the opening a success. Now I have friends from Canada, London, Spain, France and Austria. It’s incredible that this company invests in their employee trainings so that they can travel around the world sharing their knowledge to ensure every opening is a success. I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me, who I’m going to meet and where I’ll get to go.

I’m excited to learn, ready to grow and eager to continue on this adventure!

BMC: How did the Blanche Macdonald Career Department help you in pursuing your goals?

JK: When you attend Blanche Macdonald you are given an opportunity to make connections with professionals in the fashion industry; [Blanche Macdonald Career Director] Mel Watts is one of those people. She was always there to help me with volunteering, where to intern and job openings.

There are a number of platforms to look for a career and sometimes it would result in a job and sometimes a wild goose chase. But when I would come back to Blanche Macdonald and reach out to Mel for a job or to do some recruiting, she would show up with her fiery red hair, make you feel supported and get the best outcome for you.

BMC: What was your favourite part of your Fashion Marketing program experience?

JK: Any one of [Blanche Macdonald Fashion Program Director and Instructor] Peggy’s Morrison’s classes. It was such an honour to be in her classes and learn from her, she has so much knowledge and passion. I would be so excited to go to school and sit in her classes and just devour what she had to offer. Her personal experiences brought a unique insight into what she shared in class, it was naturally engaging.

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BMC: How would you describe your personal style?

JK: Minimal, considered and with an emphasis on shapes. I’m all about being comfortable (aka a fashionable potato sack), so now it’s figuring out how to take that and combine it with neutral tones, movable silhouettes and adding a becoming accessory to bring it all together.

BMC: If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life what would it be?

JK: I’m really into cropped trousers right now so I would definitely be wearing those with some clean cut sneakers, a kimono sleeved shirt and this great beige duster coat I got on sale in New York City.

BMC: What movie title best describes your life?

JK: Thelma and Louise. I’m up for adventures, I’ll try most things once. I believe that I’m strong and I try to live in the moment for the lasting moment.

BMC: What advice would you have for someone who is just graduating?

JK: Be kind, work hard and remember that the right people always eventually notice. Sometimes you have to wait longer for the results but it will ultimately work out. Kindness and work ethic goes a long way when there is so much hustle and bustle in the workplace.

Learn about yourself, celebrate your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. As long as you try to work on yourself everyday or week or month, you’re on the path to your own success.

Take the time to connect; even a five-minute conversation can go a long way. It’s a chance to bond with your team members and you never know when you’ll need to rely on that connection.

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Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:00:00 PST
BLANCHE MACDONALD PRO HAIR GRADUATE ERIN MURPHY FLOURISHES AT JUJU SALON http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/top-hair-school-graduate-erin-murphy/ top-hair-school-graduate-erin-murphy

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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 Canada’s Top Hair School. Recently recognized by both Allure and Teen Vogue for her superior holographic hair creation, Erin’s Instagram 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.

Blanche Macdonald: So firstly, tell us what a typical day looks like for you.

Erin Murphy: Very busy! And always different. If I’m doing colours, I can usually do two big colour jobs a day. In between that, there may be some cuts or Instagram stuff that I can fit in, but everyday is always fun.

BMC: And what is it about Juju that made you feel like it would be a good salon to call home?

EM: My friend worked here and was moving away so she messaged me saying how great a fit she thought I’d be and that I should apply. At first I was apprehensive because until then, I’d only been an assistant but I applied anyways and the owner really liked me and it’s been great! I’ve been here since last March and it’s an amazing fit for me.

BMC: In a city where there’s so much competition amongst stylists and salons, how did you build such a loyal clientele in such a short time?

EM: It’s a hard thing to do! Word of mouth definitely helps. People notice nice hair and ask ‘Oh, who did that?’ but social media is huge. I’d even go so far as to say that Instagram brings me at least 75% of my clients. Luckily for us, our salon is also in a great location so we get a lot of traffic through because of that as well.

BMC: Can you tell us about the moment you knew you wanted to do hair?

EM: I was working in an office and one day I just looked around and was like ‘What am I doing? I need to be creative.’ I’d already taken the Makeup program at Blanche Macdonald and initially, I thought I’d take hair and be able to combine it with makeup but as soon as I started I loved it so much more than makeup and it became my main passion.

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BMC: And was your family supportive?

EM: My family is great and always supportive of me but they were a little iffy when I made the decision to go into hair. They knew I had a good job and so much security so when I said I was going to quit, they were kind of like ‘But, why?’ Then they saw how passionate I was and now that I have a job I love, they’re so happy for me.

BMC: So what made you choose Blanche Macdonald?

EM: I lived on the island when I was looking into schools so I basically just Googled a bunch and Blanche Macdonald came up and had by far, the most recognition and best reputation. When I came to Vancouver to check it out, I knew it was for me. When I decided to go back for hair, I didn’t even look anywhere else. I really enjoyed the Makeup program and knew that I learned everything that I could possibly need to have a career in it and I knew the Pro Hair program would be the same.

BMC: What was the most memorable day / time / teacher at BMC for you?

EM: That’s hard because everyday was so interesting! I loved all the instructors in the Hair program. When we worked in [student salon] Q+A, they would always give me the clients who wanted something bright and fun because they knew that was what I loved to do. They were really great about helping us find and develop our niches as Hair Artists.

BMC: What’s your niche now that you’re out in the hair world?

EM: Definitely vivids! Any fun, bright colours or pastels. I love a good balayage too!  

BMC: What’s one of the looks or styles you’ve done that you’re most proud of?

EM: Recently I did a pastel holographic colour job for a client and it got included in a hair article in both Allure and Teen Vogue! That was such a good feeling. One of my clients sent me the article and I was going to respond being like ‘OMG, I love it!’ and then I realized it was my hair! I’ve had a few clients come in that have seen it also and the salon was super proud of me so that was a pretty cool thing and definitely one of my best hair moments to date.

BMC: So was there a certain technique that you learned and adapted to create the holographic look? Or did you teach yourself how to do it?

EM: I watch videos and techniques, of course, but it’s all about knowing the technique and then adapting it to yourself and your style. When I’m doing those types of colours, my co-workers always ask to watch how I do it but I just put colour where I feel it should go!

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BMC: To create these looks, you must have to keep constantly inspired. Where do you find your inspiration?

EM: From all over! I get lots through other work I see that I can build off of. Colour is a big one for me too, we always have flowers in the salon so lots of time I’ll get inspiration from the colour palette of our bouquets!

BMC: Is there a hair trend you’ve seen on Instagram that you’re loving right now?

EM: Maybe it’s the time of year, but I’m loving all the crazy festival hair in such fun colours with braids and things added in. I love it all!

BMC: What about a certain cut or colour you’re dying to try out on someone?

EM: I get to do a lot of colour but there’s a few styles I’d love to be able to do - lots more braiding definitely. Things that are a little more ‘out there.’ But it’s hard to ask that someone stay to let you play with their hair and style it after they’ve spent four hours getting a colour process done!

BMC: You’ve done so well since graduating, is there advice would you give to new stylists or people looking to get into the career?

EM: You’ve got to really put yourself out there. Get out and volunteer and meet people. It’s also very important to get into a salon where you can assist or apprentice to learn all you can. It’s definitely not a job that will just come to you if you just sit back and take it easy.

BMC: What are some challenges of being a stylist?

EM: It’s definitely the hardest when you first start out, for sure. It’s super intimidating to put yourself out there, especially when you’re a new stylist.

BMC: And what is your favourite part of being a stylist?

EM: I love doing what I do and I love doing hair! It’s really awesome to meet people that I do and hear their fun stories. Our area has lots of tourists from all over the world so it can be really interesting to meet them and get to do their hair!

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Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:00:00 PST