We spoke with Rossa Jurenas from Tillsonburg, Ont., who took home the Master Colourist of the Year award at the 32nd annual Contessa Awards.
Congratulations again! How did it feel to win another Contessa award?
Whether it’s being at the event or at home, it’s an amazing feeling—especially with everything we’re all going through this year. Sometimes you kind of feel like you’re losing a bit of inspiration, so to hear and see my name across the screen was amazing.
You’ve entered and won many Contessas throughout your career. Why do you enter the Contessas and why do you think it’s an important tool for both emerging and experienced artists?
I’ve entered and won my fair share of awards, but my number one thing is to always challenge myself. Showcasing and pushing myself to create art is the best. The photo shoot stuff is not what we’re doing every day in the salon; we get to push boundaries, try different techniques and colour combinations, and then I get to teach about it later on. It creates this inner spark that pushes you to want to do more.
As someone who has entered for many years, what advice do you have for people to not get discouraged by not making it as a finalist or not winning?
Keep on trying. Do not get discouraged. Yes, I have won but I have lost 10 times more than I have actually won. You can definitely be disappointed because you probably thought this was a stellar collection, but the winning process doesn’t mean your collection isn’t a stellar collection. The judges just saw something else or something different and it’s not personal. Just keep trying again.
With the pandemic this year, what does winning this award signify for you?
Like many hairdressers, a lot of people are feeling a low this year. There’s been so many moments where I feel like I’m losing it—thinking about what will happen to our clients or our positions.
Winning just felt and still feels phenomenal. I’m a pretty positive person but we have gone through a dark cloud with what’s going on around us so it feels good to win.
What has this year been like for you and your salon?
It’s a hard time for sure and my heart goes out to all small businesses and I classify all salons— even if they’re a big salon— as a small business. We have a bumpy road ahead, but we have a supportive community in our industry. You kind of have a low moment but you’ve got to pick yourself up.
In terms of your Contessa collection, what inspired it? what are some techniques you use/colours you love to work with?
I spent a lot of time analyzing Gucci and the beginning of their spring/summer collection. They overlapped and layered fabrics, textures and colours. I was looking at one of their fabrics on one of my journeys home, at the airport in Munich, Germany. I saw the Gucci display and it caught my eye. The fabric of the jacket. I just love the intermixing of colour. I started drawing and sketching it out and thought “let’s play with this.”
Years ago, the things we thought were wrong to do are now right. We never mixed certain colours together before and now we’re doing it.
How did you decide on the colours and hairstyles you featured in this collection?
The cuts are simple like bobs and for the colours, I used this overlapping technique.
Does your collection have a name?
Where do you typically draw inspiration from to create all of your amazing and unique looks and keep things fresh?
Everywhere and anything. My eyes are always open. The other day, I saw this interesting rock in National Geographic. The light was hitting the rock and you saw shades of yellow, orange, green and all this colour. I took a screenshot of that because it was so beautiful.
Everywhere I look, something might catch my eye and it’s just really beautiful. Doing a colour or photoshoot collection—you start off with just having this feeling and vibe from it.
I carry a pen and paper everywhere because I might draw out or sketch an idea that I have. I have many journals!
What’s next for you? Any goals you’re working towards that you can share with me?
A few goals… for one, I know people can always identify my work when they see it. They can tell it’s my work. I always try to change it up, so people aren’t always asking “Oh, is that Rossa?”
Whenever the pandemic switches to a brighter side of things, I want to build up my career in a different way.
Name/Nom: Rossa Jurenas
Category/Catégorie: Master Colourist | Maître Coloriste
Salon: Studio Rossa, Tillsonburg, Ont.
Makeup/Maquillage: Florencia Taylor
Wardrobe/Stylisme: Liz Crawford
Photos: Paula Tizzard