We spoke with Catherine Niro, who took home the New Hairstylist of the Year award at the 30th annual Contessa Awards.
Tell me about your collection. What was the concept behind it? How did you decide on which colours and techniques to use?
I had a vision to create and incorporate intricate yet edgy styles using different textures and lengths of hair; for example, braids, texture, pixie. I wanted to show off different techniques and styles, but I wanted to stay away from long hair and things that you see all the time, for something different and out of the ordinary. But I wanted to use colours that really popped and caught your eye when you look at them.
I just had a vision in my head; it didn’t really come from anywhere. I just wanted to have a variety of different looks, and something edgy and different.
What does winning this award mean to you?
This was first-time entering. It’s great. I didn’t know what to expect. Winning has given me a lot of encouragement and inspiration to keep creating new looks and keep growing as a hairstylist.
Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
I’m definitely inspired by the people I’m around every day and seeing them create such beautiful work. It’s pushed me to compete. I look up to members of my team at Salon Collage. My boss, Sandro Macri, and Stephanie Schewe who compete a lot in the Contessa Awards and other awards. They are always creating new work and practicing afterhours—putting in the extra time. [They’ve taught me] to always practice. If I have a vision, to work on it and bring it to life. To never give up and always keep pushing yourself. You want to keep growing as a hairstylist.
How would you describe your style when it comes to photoshoots? Any special rituals/how do you stay on track/what’s in your kit?
This was my first time shooting a collection, but I’ve definitely picked up things in the process. I’m drawn to things out of the ordinary—kind of harsh. Things that are different.
I try to keep a collection of photos and different things that I see; whether it’s scenery or a colour scheme that I like. I take those into consideration when I think of what my theme will be.
I think an organized kit is key. You want to make sure you have all the tools you’ll need at hand: Pins, elastics, combs, products. It’s really important that you’re organized.
If you weren’t a hairstylist, what do you think you would be doing?
I definitely always dreamed of being a hairstylist since I was little. But if I wasn’t a hairstylist, I would probably be doing something that would allow me to express my creativity, whether through fashion, design or music.
What advice do you have for new, up-and-coming hairstylists on how to get their start?
Anything is possible. Never say never, and always try your best.
What’s next for you after your win? Anything you’re working on or any goals you have that you are hoping to achieve?
I just aspire to continuing learning, gaining knowledge to benefit my career and get my name out there. I hope to create more collections and probably compete in the future. But I definitely have something in the works.
Name/Nom: Catherine Niro
Category/Catégorie: New Hairstylist | Recrue de l’année
Salon: Salon Collage, Toronto
Makeup/Maquillage: Giancarlo Intini
Wardrobe/Stylisme: Lea Krpan
Photos: Giancarlo Intini