We spoke with Renn VonDyck from Winnipeg, MB., who took home the Saskatchewan/Manitoba Hairstylist of the Year award at the 32nd annual Contessa Awards.
Congratulations again on your Contessa win! How did it feel to hear your name called out that night?
It was great—it never gets old. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do because the other collections were great, as well. There was another one with brilliant hair, bit I felt it wasn’t as unique as mine was. I’m happy the judges saw that.
How was the preparation and planning for this year different?
I shot last year, not this year. I was almost not going to enter. But I had these photos kicking around so I thought I should enter. The new rules helped encourage people to enter anyway.
Did you enjoy the virtual Contessas?
I thought Salon Magazine did a great job! I really missed being in Toronto and the whole glamorous aspect; getting all dolled up and getting to the Contessas is pretty fun. The event itself is amazing and it’s inspiring to see all the people. But it pulled through online and still seemed to be a classy event—everyone was pretty stoked.
What inspired this collection?
Each image was from a different shoot, so I had to get all the pictures to go together and match up the backgrounds. I wanted to make it dark but at the same time fun, too. The whole mood of it was a little bit subdued but at the same time, I wanted there to be a shimmer and glamorous side to it.
I was doing a few shoots last year just for fun, so I had all these images sitting around and that I didn’t know what to do with other than just post on Instagram so luckily, some of them went together. There was a thread running through them and with just some tweaking and photoshop it worked. But I didn’t know how the judges would view it.
Does this collection have a name?
What’s your style/process when working on collections/shoots? What are some techniques you like to use?
When working on photo shoots, I just let the creative juices flow and see what I come up with. I don’t plan my shoots super detailed in advance—I just know the gist and maybe come prepared with a few hair pieces, but that’s it. When on set, if nothing is working, you have to be prepared to shift gears and try something else. That’s the fun of it, though—I like doing that. I don’t always use the traditional techniques either—I go out of the box. I like to do things they never do in the salon like paint the hair. As long as I could get it out afterwards and the model doesn’t hate me, I’ll do it. I’m always thinking outside the box; that’s how you get the most creative looks.
What are some other things (techniques, colours or even people) that inspire your creative work?
So many people that enter almost every year. Rossa Jurenas, for instance, is quite incredible and inspiring to me. Tony Ricci and Silas Tsang as well.
Otherwise, music inspires me, more so than art. I love architecture and art but I’m more into jazz and classical musical—I get a lot of inspiration from there.
How do you keep your work fresh and relevant? Are you always chasing the style trends?
I let my creativity out more on a subconscious level. I don’t like to chase or mimic stuff too much. Originality is more important to me than trying to be on trend.
What advice would you give an emerging hairstylist who feels intimidated to enter the Contessas?
Don’t think about who you might compete against and just do it. The greats were all there once too. You have to keep trying.
Also, don’t ever expect to win for the first while, until you have been at it for a while. You’ll do better work when you’re not thinking of that and it’ll take the pressure off. You get nervous or thrown off if you’re under too much pressure—thinking about who else might be in the category.
What do you enjoy most about competing in photo-based hair competitions?
What I like about it mostly is that it’s an avenue to get your work recognized on a national level.
A hairdressing career is hard, especially when starting out and trying to get clientele and trying to be successful at it and you’re trying to learn all of your commercial skills to be successful behind the chair.
It’s being able to be creative in a way where you’re free to do whatever you want and we don’t always get the opportunity to do that behind the chair.
I’ve always enjoyed the aspect of competitions. They are a creative outlet that you just don’t get in the salon. It’s that extra creative space just for yourself, just what you want to do. It’s not always about trying to win the category award but being true to yourself and letting your creative outlet out so that you’re expressing your creativity in the truest fashion possible.
Name/Nom: Renn VonDyck
Category/Catégorie: Saskatchewan/Manitoba Hairstylist | Styliste Saskatchewan/Manitoba
Salon: Elan Hair Studio
Makeup/Maquillage: Lori VonDyck
Wardrobe/Stylisme: Lori VonDyck
Photos: Renn VonDyck