How did you come up with the concept behind your collection, what did your brainstorming process look like?
I take a look at pictures from, for example, past Contessa winners, past NAHA winners, a lot of old collections from people that inspire me, like Frank Cini and Norm Right, and I create this mood board which I eventually turn into a collection of my own. I was really drawn towards some of the stronger and edgier looks. I found that just really made the collection pop. Your vision of course changes, it moves with you. The story unfolds the more that you continue to work with the hair.
Can you break down each of your looks?
On the floor of our salon basement, I laid down some parchment paper and then I put that hairpiece down in a thin layer. And then I took a very strong hold hairspray and I did a very concentrated layer of that. Then I sandwiched it with more parchment paper, and I took a clothing iron and ironed it. And then I added more layers of that until I felt like my hair sheet was thick enough that you could see the blonde. Then I took it to my wardrobe stylist and she pressed my hair sheets with an industrial clothing press to make them solid. Then I put them back on the floor and I cut them into like leaf shapes in different sizes and glued it to appear like a mohawk.
I got hair extensions and I made really long braids and then I took my scissors and I notched into them and I pulled apart those loose pieces. When I made the braid extensions, I started it with a loop so that I could loop her braid into my braid. Because they were heavy, I secured them with bobby pins in an interlocking fashion and to create that picture, we had her jumping around, and I think we threw them and we kept throwing them until I got the shot that I wanted.
I had a really cool inspiration picture of hair literally sticking straight up. This is old school, but I took out mannequins and I tried it on the mannequins with different types of hair spray, different types of product to see how I’m going to make this hair literally defy gravity and shoot straight up. We made a base and then started to sculpt the hair into that flicking motion and as we’re sculpting it and adding strong hold hair spray. I’m taking my blow dryer and hardening it as I go. I used long hair pins to support the hair as it’s drying and molding to a point where they don’t really rely on the pins anymore and it’s just a solid piece.
What do you most enjoy about being part of the Contessa Awards?
I enjoy just becoming even more inspired and inspiring others. I’m already thinking about things that I want to do for my next shoot. There is no better feeling than having that support from people around you and then seeing them succeed themselves.
What was going through your mind when you were selected for the Contessa award? How did you feel?
I think my heart jumped out of my chest. When I read the book and saw my category was first, I was a ball of nerves through the whole dinner. Because you worked so hard for this one moment and that moment is finally there and you’re like, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen, I hope it goes well, but we’ll see.’ I was just trying to keep calm, cool and collected. And, you know, even if I didn’t win, placing in the finalist category is a win enough.
Who do you consider to be the biggest mentor in your career, and why?
Rino Balzano. He came to my shoot, he’s my boss and works at our location on a daily basis. Norm Wright is also very amazing, I’m very inspired by what he’s accomplished and the things that he does. He just always pushes the envelope and goes against the rules and doesn’t fit into a box. He does whatever he wants to do and makes it work.
Education is continuing to evolve for hairstylists and colourists. What forms of education work best for you?
I love hands on learning. I think that’s the best way. At Taz, it’s mandatory that we do education all the time and even just today, I was assisting in an Oribe class at the Kao Academy downtown, so I’m starting to get into the education realm myself. I specialize in cutting, but I also keep up with my colour classes and now I’m teaching cutting classes as well. This month, we’ve had two or three classes alone, already. I assisted in a fourth just yesterday and today.
What’s next for you? What else are you hoping to accomplish?
In January, I’m nominated for a NAHA. So we’ll be going down to California for that gala. I would like to, if possible, do another shoot. If not, next year for sure. I definitely want to continue to assist in more classes, take more classes myself, and I’m going to be teaching the new hairstylist at our other Taz location as well.
Name/Nom: Angela Debono
Category/Catégorie: New Hairstylist | Recrue de l’année
Salon: Taz Hair Co., Etobicoke, Ont.
Makeup/Maquillage: Paola Manigat
Wardrobe/Stylisme: Melissa Stetski
Photos: Natasha Gerschon