Walking into terminal one at Pearson international airport in Toronto with two heavy luggage’s and a heart beating so fast thinking nothing but “is this really happening, am I about to board a 13 hour flight to Japan?” Taking a moment to let the world pass around me; listening to every noise, sound, vibration as these travellers make their way. Coming to realize that once I embark on this flight to take moments to embrace, to listen, to feel and to reflect as much as I can while I’m in Japan.
Before you know it, 13 hours have passed and I’m now in the Tokyo airport being greeted by Dallan Flint (NAHA 2015 winner) and his assistant Kyli Coles with open arms. We immediately felt the energy between us and the understanding that we were about to be part of a life changing experience. It’s amazing how our worlds collided, but what doesn’t seem to amaze me is how we all felt so close and connected as if we had been friends for years. Here’s that moment to breathe, to feel and reflect as the millions of people pass us by in the Tokyo airport. Busses and lineups with exact arrival times (to the minute), and there they were; Ken and Lisa Yamasaki. I had never been starstruck before – but never say never! Ken and Lisa are who I aspire to be and I was so overwhelmed with joy to be in there presence. Still feeling this moment of “I’m here,”I hope to make them proud. Bus tickets in hand, luggage lined up next to us, and my thoughts are going a mile a minute. I immediately notice that detail is key to their everyday living and respecting one another by bowing is essential to show your gratitude.
Imagine me: a chatter box, one who loves to talk, to speak my mind and to express my emotions had finally been in silence. I couldn’t speak. I was here…finally here in Japan with those I admire and aspire to be. The team to represent North America, selected by Lisa and Ken, and I was a part of it. The silence I sat in was filled of thoughts of “This isn’t middle school, I won’t be the one that no one wants on their team.” All those years wondering if I’ll ever get picked to be on the team….it was worth the 35 years to be picked by my dream team!
The Japan tour begins with three prestigious cosmetology schools with Lisa and Ken Yamasaki and their assistant, Yui Matsuoka, along with Dallan Flint, his assistant Kyli Coles, and makeup artist Roshar and myself — about to take stages at these fine institutes filled with eager students, and stage floors prepared like I had never seen before. Detail upon detail to allow our presentations to run efficiently and smoothly as possible, all to give the opportunity for the students to learn and to be inspired to create. We all had our ideas of our individual styles and how we would share our creations, not realizing how we were all connected in our collections. Dallan Flint showcasied how to build texture and shapes, and Lisa Yamasaki displaying her hair art with attention to detail, and I sharing my collections of intricate and fine details of hair placement. All of our hairart was graced by talented makeup artist Roshar to bring out the creative and inspired themes behind each piece.
This was our moment to not speak a word and allow our art to do the talking. Literally! It’s amazing how we live worlds apart but we all spoke the same language: The language of hair. We didn’t need to speak, we didn’t interrupt the energy of the sheer presence of hair art that surrounded us. We were here to inspire and as we left each school, we ended up being the ones inspired. I was inspired by the love, the respect, and the gracefulness of the people. The joy that we all shared in the love of hair was more real than I had ever felt before.
We are now preparing for the grand finale at the Global Creators Work event on our final stop on the tour. I couldn’t believe this day had finally come upon us. I remember the day Ken Yamasaki called me to invite me to join the team and all those emotions came rushing back. Feeling proud of the six months it took me to create the collection and to finally be able to share it with you all. The theme was New Age Futuristic year 2050 and my vision was of Gold. Gold being a reflection of the highest and respect to our industry. That yes, one day we will all be wearing hair from our heads right down to our toes. So I created a hair dress. Detail was key to show how authentic our industry is and to display that within my collection. Single hand braided hair and woven into patterns to create the gown to be finished off with even the finest detail of hair shoes. Every detail mattered to me. This opportunity was not to be taken lightly and my love of our craft is my passion and this was the moment to share that emotion with no words. It was time to be in silence and respect the craftsmanship of hair art.
“Five minutes and you’re up next!” I was told as the team before me was wrapping up their set. My heart was beating like nothing I had felt before. As I was walking my model towards the elevator, guiding her to the entrance of the stage, this calming sensation came over me. The hair dress had taken over this moment: I was no longer here but I was in my art. I found myself walking on air reflecting on how just minutes before I entered the stage floor I was called outside to be shown that they had hung the Canada flag in my honour for presenting at this prestigious event. Lights, music and my cue to enter the stage with my name that wrapped around the enter room and all eyes were on me and my art. My legs were still, my heart and mind were still and my hands… my hands were moving as a conductor guiding an orchestra. I was adding an over sized collar to the hair dress to show how I created this collection and all I hear is click click click the sounds of the cameras going off to capture this moment. Nine minutes and my time was up…my art was completed. My emotions filled my eyes and tears were running with uncontrollable tears of joy! I headed Upstairs to photograph what was just created and to be greeted by Lisa and Dallan after they presented their interpretation of the future. All of our themes were complemented by the talented makeup artist Roshar who once again took all of our themes to the next level. With Lisa’s steam punk theme and Dallan’s jewels theme we had created more than hairart, we had create a bond, a friendship and dream team with life changing experiences.
Special thank you to Yui Matsuoka, Kyli Coles, and Mitchell Cantrell. Your assistance and support throughout this tour was greatly appreciated. Much love and respect to Ken and Lisa Yamasaki for this opportunity to represent North America on this Japan tour!
Images from @palma4hair and @salonmagazine #PalmaISalonTakeover