Editorial hairstylist Ana Sorys has worked with award-winning actors and actresses (including the cast of Schitt’s Creek). Find out how this Toronto-based stylist got her start in the industry and how she continues to push boundaries through the art of transformation.
I understand you started in the beauty industry as a makeup artist. Why did you decide to start pursuing hair as a career?
I’ve been a makeup artist for about 25 years. When SARS hit, there wasn’t a lot of work or films happening in Toronto, so I thought not everybody needs a makeup artist during hard times but everybody needs their hair done. I went to college for nine months and got my hairdressing license. I added hair to my repertoire and began doing both.
I think of hair and makeup as a marriage. They’re two different entities but you can’t have one without the other. As in any good marriage, they complement each other, so it was a natural progression; I’ve always been into doing other people’s hair and interested in the colour aspect. When you’re doing someone’s makeup, you’re working with their face structure and shape, and hair is no different.
You’ve worked on several TV and film projects. What do you most enjoy about it?
I enjoy working with character development. When I’m on a film set, I’m usually reading a script and creating the look for a character. When I meet with the actor, we work together to create that look—whether it’s with a wig or their own hair. I also love seeing their face and reaction once that look is created and is taken to the screen.
Most recently, I worked with Eugene Levy on a Super Bowl commercial where he transformed into this really handsome driver with long hair, looking like Fabio. I got to create and style this wig for him and as soon as he put it on, he was so happy with it and just got right into character.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspired by the past and looking at other artists’ work, but I think I mainly get inspired from the actual artists that I’m working with; having them trust me to think outside the box and create something different and unique to them. So I think it’s mostly who I’m working with that inspires me in the moment.
Tell us about your experience working with the Schitt’s Creek cast. What did you most enjoy about working with them?
Each of them had a different look: Eugene’s hair was very clean and coiffed, and that was the men’s haircut we were going for. Annie’s hair was sexier and Valley girl with loose waves, a lot of movement and different styles that she liked to explore. Catherine’s look involved wigs, which are completely different than working with natural hair! So I got the best of both worlds in the involved wigs, which are completely different than working with natural hair! So I got the best of both worlds in the sense that I worked with men’s hair, glam hair and wigs all on the same show, which is a dream.
You also have more than 20 years of experience working with bridal hair and makeup. What is that like and how does it differ from your other work?
I love doing updos; I find it to be a meditative process for me. I love doing weddings and working with brides because it’s probably the day that somebody wants to feel their most beautiful, stylish and memorable. I work with brides to come up with a look that’s going to reflect that day for them.
What should hairstylists keep in mind when working with brides for their wedding day? Any tips?
I always ask brides what time they’re getting married, because depending on how long they’re waiting or even if it’s a hot day and they want to wear their hair down, that has to be taken into consideration. Some hairstyles won’t last for eight or nine hours. I also ask about the neckline of the dress and the earrings the bride is wearing because they’ll dictate the type of hairstyle they get. Not every hairstyle is going to look great with a certain neckline or earrings and those things are most important to me.
In terms of dealing with the pressure of creating a hairstyle for brides, I like to ask for reference pictures of hairstyles. I wouldn’t be afraid to ask as many questions about the look and the day as possible. I also recommend giving yourself enough time to be confident in creating that look. I think one of the most important things is being in a separate room with my clients during the wedding so that you’re not distracted by other people.
What advice would you give to your younger self or to a new hairstylist?
Continue to create and think outside the box, and make sure you love what you’re doing. I think that’s very important in order to do a job well.