Blanche Macdonald Centre News from Blanche Macdonald Centre 2016: An Unforgettable Year for On-Screen Blanche Macdonald Makeup Magic Blanche Macdonald alumni shine in Hollywood North!

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.

Blanche Macdonald Makeup alumni for Star Trek Beyond

As our students all understand, in this industry excellence comes as standard. Which means that only a select elite receives major Award nominations. Huge congratulations are due to the Emmy Award-winning Makeup Team behind the teenage creature feature, R.L. Stine's Monsterville: The Cabinet of Souls: a team that starred Blanche Macdonald alumni Debbie Lelievre (Head Makeup Artist), Holland Miller and Felix Fox (Key Makeup Artists), Julia Bors-Dollinger (First Assistant Makeup Artist) and Sarah Pickersgill (Makeup Artist).

We're sending another big "bravo" further east to Calgary, Alberta, where grad gunther Schetterer worked his magic and was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Non-Prosthetic Makeup as Key Makeup Artist on the superb second season of Fargo

The Leo Awards recognize films and TV shows made in beautiful British Columbia. Which, if you check, involves a vast number of productions. That tells you that to actually win a Leo Award in the category of Best Makeup in a Dramatic Series, which the team featuring Amber Trudeau and Cory Roberts did for iZombie, is a remarkable achievement. Amber was particularly busy in 2016, receiving a second Leo nomination for Best Makeup in a Television Movie for On The Farm, an award that was won by the team behind R.L. Stine's Monsterville: The Cabinet of Souls. Leo congratulations also go to Darci Jackson and Lindsay Pilkey, who were rightfully nominated for Best Makeup in a Motion Picture for Numb.

Blanche Macdonald alumni nominated for Emmy, Leo and Gemini Awards 2016

The Gemini Awards are Canada’s Oscars and Emmys combined. The team behind Afghan war film Hyena Road included Blanche grad Doug Morrow and greatly deserved their nomination for Achievement in Makeup.

Arguably the biggest production to hit Vancouver in 2016 was summer sci-fi blockbuster Star Trek Beyond, where Blanche Macdonald grads and instructors boldly went to bring the voyages of the Enterprise to life. Ably manning that crew were Makeup Effects Artists Felix Fox, Holland Miller, Shelagh McIvor, Toby Lindala, and Patricia Murray, Painter Daemon Cadman and Assistant Makeup Artists Rebecca Delchambre, Megan Harkness, Ashley Forshaw, Colleen Conroy, Cory Roberts and Darah Wyant.

Meanwhile, Vancouver’s biggest TV series continued to go from strength to strength. Danielle Fowler was named Head of Department on Supergirl, Tina Teoli and Cory Roberts continued their roles as Heads of Department on The Flash and The 100 respectively, while the Makeup teams on Arrow and Supernatural were positively overflowing with Blanche Macdonald grads and instructors. Oliver Queen’s adventures in archery looked wonderful thanks to Tanya Howard (Department Head), Cayley Giene (Lab Technician and Assistant Makeup Artist), Fay von Schroeder and Amber Trudeau (Makeup Artists), and Kathryn Jarymy (Assistant Makeup Artist). While the Winchester brother’s fight against darkness in 2016 wouldn’t have been the same without the contributions of Toby Lindala and Celine Godeau (Key Makeup Effects), Cayley Giene, Leanne Podavin and Rachel Griffin (Makeup Effects Artists). 

This was just the tip of the creative iceberg. There isn’t room here to list all the Blanche Macdonald graduates and instructors who shared their talent on screen with the world this year. Congratulations to all of them. You’ll be hearing more from them and the next wave of brilliant new grads in 2017!

Blanche Macdonald alumni for Hit TV Shows

Photos via IMDB

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 PST
SHEAR TALENT: PRO HAIR GRADUATE ALI SMITH PAINTS HER CAREER AT ARTEL SALON! 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 own 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!

Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair Program Graduate Ali Smith, Artel Hair Salon Vancouver

Sure to be sporting a mane of many and different colours, razor sharp liner and specs of glitter wandering randomly about her person, Ali Smith is not just the creator of unicorn hair – she exudes an essential ‘unicorn-ness.’ Having graduated from the Pro Hair program at Blanche Macdonald a mere 4 months ago, Ali has found herself behind the chair of one of Vancouver’s premiere chop shops, Artel Salon. Owned by fellow Blanche Macdonald graduate Eliza Trendiak, Ali spends her days honing her skills, learning from fellow Artel stylists and crafting the latest looks for her burgeoning clientele. A flurry of retro Disney prints, witticisms, and perfectly timed meme humour meet the whirling dervish that is Ali Smith.  Or as she puts it “Ariien. Brat. Kitty. Facial hair admirer.”

Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair Program Graduate Ali Smith, Artel Hair Salon Vancouver 


Blanche Macdonald: What was your favourite part of our Hair program?

Ali Smith: Definitely level 7. The mass photo shoot level was absolutely the best! For me, it came just after Christmas and during a time where I hadn't had a day off from school or work in nearly two months. All of my stress manifested into the most wacky ideas, and being able to build pieces for my models was such a blessing. Having Lisa as an instructor for this level also made it so much fun because she was unbelievably encouraging and understanding of everyone's shoot concepts.


BMC: What is your Hair specialty (cut, colour, ombre, etc)?

AS: I really love doing big colour changes.  Whether it's from dark to light or from natural to something wild, it's just so fun! Seeing a client glowing at the end of their service is so satisfying. Also I've never been the type to turn down a challenge, so colour corrections are weirdly exhilarating for me.


BMC: How did our Career Services and job placements ensure you found the perfect home for your Hair skills?

AS: We have mandatory work experiences and mine were eye opening to say the least. I did one at a salon in Kitsilano with Aaron Brousseau, who is a good friend of mine and another Blanche Macdonald grad, and we did a lot of one-on-one work. My second work experience was in Maple Ridge where I live now and it's one of the busier salons with about 12 stylists. This was much more fast paced environment with less one-on-one teaching. From this I got a better idea on what kind of salon I'd like to work in, where I'd like to be located, what kind of clientele I'd like to build, etc.


Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair Program Graduate Ali Smith, Artel Hair Salon Vancouver


BMC: You're in one of those mega Crayola crayon boxes - what colour are you and what are you called?

AS: I have two sides to myself so one would be Malibu Barbie pink, and the other Midnight black.


BMC: What movie title best describes your life?

AS: According to Buzzfeed, Alice in Wonderland is the film equivalent to my life. I wouldn’t say that’s untrue though because like Alice, I’m a total daydreamer and I talk to animals all the time so, that’s cool.


BMC: What hair decade would you go back to if you had a time machine?

AS: Not going to lie, I miss 2006-2010 with all the 'coon tail clip ins, enormous face covering bangs, too much back combing . . . Ahhh, nostalgia!


BMC: Was there any advice you got going into the Hair program from friends or family?

AS: This is awful but I had a few friends who had attended other hair programs and they ended up realizing this wasn't for them, so before I enrolled the big discussion was always "Are you REALLY SURE?" And thankfully I was always able to say, "Yup, I've only wanted to do this since I was 5. I'm pretty sure I'm sure."

Photos provided by Ali Smith (IG: alismithhair) and Rob Trendiak for Artel Salon.

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST
Fashion Photographer/Director KT Auleta Brings New York Inspiration and Images to Blanche Macdonald Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

“What drew me to fashion was how it kept moving. Nothing’s iconic any more. It’s always, ‘What’s next? What’s next?’ I like that!”

KT Auleta’s high velocity love affair with fashion continues to take her around the world. The New York City-based photographer and director is in perpetual motion, travelling from country to country shooting with clients like Hugo Boss, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, and titles including Vogue, GQ Style, Elle and Glamour. But on a layover en route to China she somehow found the time to visit Vancouver, Blanche Macdonald and her close friend, Fashion Director Tyler Udall, to give an engrossing presentation to students at Canada’s top Fashion School.

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

Over the course of a fascinating hour KT revealed her journey from intern to globetrotting photography superstar, the changing face of fashion imagery (including why she now shoots stills and video simultaneously) and the art of building a great creative team.

“I’m looking for good communicators,” she explained in response to one of many questions from the floor. “I want people to take pride in their work. I want people I can trust to do their job well. I want them to feel empowered. I love working with new models, giving them wings and watching them blossom.”

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

After fielding questions about professionalism, agents, and the potential for creativity unleashed by Instagram, KT shared her portfolio along with a hefty dose of inspiration. Her most powerful message is that by beginning their journey surrounding themselves with passionate and creative people at Blanche Macdonald, whatever fashion ambitions students are aspiring to, they’ve already taken their first step.

“This School is perfect for discovering your voice,” she insisted. “You’re in the perfect place to start building your portfolio.”

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!

We asked KT eight questions in a quickfire Q&A session on our Snapchat!

Blanche Macdonald: If you could have any superpower what would it be?

KT Auleta: If I had a superpower, I think it would be to be able to jump from place to place. I like travel but I don’t often like the travelling part. 

BMC: What colour do you think your aura is?

KA: I think my aura is the colour of ice blue. I have a spiritual teacher that always says surround yourself with the colour of ice blue and I always liked the way that sounded. 

BMC: How do you feel your photo and film work intersect?

KA: I think my film and photography work intersect in that I like to capture a real true moment of expression from a model. I feel like my photography work is the moment between a movement, and I’ve always seen my photography work as a film still, like the captured moment. 

BMC: Describe your shooting style in three words.

KA: If I had to describe my work in three words it would authentic, expressive and playful. 

BMC: Three traits that are vital to your team on set. 

KA: Three things that I think are really important on set are communication, to empower my team, and to collaborate. 

BMC: Most difficult shooting situation?

KA: One of the most difficult situations for shooting is weather. If the weather is off, it’s bad for everybody: the light, the model, the comfort of the crew.

BMC: Advice you would have given yourself 10 years ago? 

KA: If I had to give myself advice ten years ago, it would be to be myself at all times and stick with my vision of my woman, my character. 

BMC: Advice you would give yourself now?

KA: Advice I would give myself now: keep growing, stay inspired, keep learning… inspiration is key! 

Special Guest: NY-based Fashion Photographer KT Auleta visits Blanche Macdonald!


Thu, 24 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST

Blanche Macdonald Annual Graduate Fashion Design Showcase

Join us for an afternoon of fashion at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on Wednesday, November 30th, at 3:00pm as we usher in the newest group of talented design minds. Tickets are $30.00 (taxes and service fees included). Purchase yours at Blanche Macdonald's Downtown Robson Campus (460 Robson) or by phone at 604.685.0337. 

**Reception and Portfolio Review 2:30pm | Fashion Show Begins at 3:00pm – we hope to see you there! 

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST
FROM EXCELLING AS A STUDENT TO SHINING AS A DESIGN MENTOR ANAHITA MONZAVI FINDS HER CALLING AT BLANCHE MACDONALD 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!

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

"Fashion Design is my passion. I never get tired of what I do. It’s hard to put in words, but I never imagined I would love fashion and design the way I do. It’s just the right thing for me."

Though Anahita Monzavi graduated from Canada's Top Fashion School in the spring of 2015, she was immersed in the world of Fashion Design well before that. Originally from Esfahan, Iran, Anahita worked for over eight years in fashion before moving to Canada, with five of those years spent running a showroom and designing custom evening and bridal gowns for a myriad of A-list clients. With an inherent knack for design, Anahita is proof that talent and fate so often fall hand-in-hand. When she walked through our doors on her first day at Blanche Macdonald, we knew she was exactly where she was meant to be.

"When I first came to Canada,” she says, “I spent a lot of time researching and talking to people about which school I should go to. I already had experience so I didn't want to go back to Fashion Design school for four years. My friends and family who are from Vancouver said that I must go to Blanche Macdonald, that it was the best school. After that I did not look anywhere else."

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

After spending a mere two years in Vancouver, Anahita has gone from excelling as a student to shining as a mentor and instructor for budding designers. She's been impressing the fashion community since she first enrolled at Blanche Macdonald, so her accomplishments have come as no surprise. Investing the same attentiveness in fashion instruction as she does with her professional career, Anahita credits the mentorship of Senior Pattern Making and Construction Instructor Brenda Swinglehurst as well as Program Directors Peggy Morrison and Donna Baldock for her academic successes. 

"Studying here [at Blanche Macdonald] was the best decision I ever made,” Anahita says. “I loved every minute of it and appreciated all of my teachers so much. I'd have to say that Pattern Drafting and Garment Construction with Brenda were two of my favourite classes. I also loved Fashion Awareness with Peggy and Fashion History with Donna. I wanted to absorb everything they had to say."

Anahita’s graduate collection was an absolute knock-out. She was awarded the Special Award for Innovative Use of Materials, and for good reason. With a discerning eye and an explorative nature, Anahita constructed a crimson corset made entirely from blown glass. This difficult, labour-intensive technique resulted in a truly extraordinary garment that erased the boundaries between visual and wearable art. 

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

“I was originally inspired by stained glass windows,” Anahita explains. “The shapes and colours of the window really caught my eye. I knew it would be very hard task to create customize pieces of glass to use in my collection, but I had always wanted to do something different and challenging. I decided to take on the project. I attended glass fusing, glass blowing and glass flaming [courses] in order to learn how to make my elements. As this was a new idea and making these pieces was very hard with the fragility of the glass, nobody was really able to help me in certain areas of construction. So, I had to do it myself. The hardest part was making the mold for each piece and making holes in the bustier for the laces. Making that bustier and then being able to drill the holes for the laces successfully – after almost 15 tries – was my best moment. I stayed strong and tried over and over again till I finally made it.” Looking back at this process now, Anahita recognizes it as one of her proudest moments.

Other looks in her graduate collection included a strapless suede romper with hand-blown glass cups and a brocade satin cutaway coat with hand-embroidered, beaded, fused-fabric lining. To say it left the audience speechless would be an understatement.

Following graduation, Anahita went back to her design roots, creating a formal wear capsule collection of ten pieces. She went on to dream up a more casual label tailored to the west coast way of life, opening a studio space on East Cordova in Vancouver's artistic Railtown District.

"I've recently started my own contemporary womenswear label, ‘Aiki District’, with my design and business partner, [former Blanche Macdonald Fashion Instructor] Maneli Nourbakhsh,” Anahita says. “‘Aiki District’ is a Japanese name meaning ‘all the souls unifying with nature and harmony.’ It is about positive energies and positive attitudes."

Anahita Monzavi Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate

Additionally, Anahita has returned to Blanche Macdonald to educate new groups of blossoming fashion designers. Her mentors have now become her collaborators.

"After I started working here [Blanche Macdonald] I felt so connected with all the people in the fashion industry,” she reveals. “I feel so lucky that I work here. I really love the environment and the people. The skills that I have learnt are because of this school. [My instructors] showed me new, easier, better ways. Because of that I've been able to build on the knowledge I had acquired in Iran."

Anahita's commitment to her craft is compelling and self-evident. Reflecting on her success so far, she describes why she’s living and working the career of her dreams. "I love that I'm able to explore ways of self-expression through my designs, creating something new every day and stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s important for me to be continually challenging myself and my abilities. I know that being a Fashion Designer is a part of who I am."

We look forward to following Anahita's career as it progresses and evolves in leaps and bounds. We have such admiration for her, and are so happy the feeling is mutual!  

Take it from Anahita: "I always tell my husband, coming to Blanche Macdonald was the best decision I ever made!"

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST