How did you get your start in the hair industry?
I am a third-generation hairstylist. My father is a hairstylist and is still cutting hair at 77 years old. He was the Latin American Champion several times. My mother was a hairstylist, and my grandfather was a World Champion hairstylist. I remember after school in Chile, I went to the hair salon every day, so it was like I was born in a hair salon.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are several sides to my job, but I don’t like to call it a job because I don’t work, I play. What I really like is it’s a combination of your skills, because you have to know how to work the fibre of the hair—that’s the more technical side. Where the magic happens is when you mix in the human side. I love that it’s my job to make people feel better from the inside out. We don’t only cut and colour hair; we work with human beings and if they have problems, we listen to them and make them feel better. I’ve been a hairstylist for 32 years and I still have clients from those early days, so I have created relationships with a lot of my clients. It’s the combination of working with people and changing their hair and building a relationship with them that I like the most.
As the artistic director for Matrix, I love to share my passion. I like to share and learn from others, so it’s just about that human contact with other people, and not only about the hair.
What was the inspiration behind your collection?
I work with feelings, so when I see the model, I see the hair. The inspiration was to do something that would suit the models. When I see the model, I work a lot with my instinct, but I wanted to create something very graphic, combining different techniques of colour and haircutting—something soft and strong at the same time. The lines of the haircut are very strong, but the colours are soft.
How did you choose the colours in your collection?
I think in every collection you need to have a variety of colours and techniques. I also keep in mind that whatever I do has to suit the model. I’ll have an idea of what I want to do, but when you’re competing you have to show a variety of techniques. In this collection, I have colours that are very soft and blended together, but I also have patchwork where I have blocks of colours. The colour has to suit the model, but it also has to be on trend. Trends inspire me—I look at fashion shows and I try to do new things every time.
What do you most enjoy about colouring hair?
So many things! I like the chemical side of colour. I’m a very curious person, so I need to know everything. Google is my best friend, and I Google everything! What I like about colouring hair is the chemistry. You have to work with underlining pigments, the structure of the hair and the porosity. It’s not just about painting; it’s about the reaction between the product and the hair.
It’s a very technical aspect of the hair industry, and you have to use it to enhance the beauty of the client. Changing the hair fibre the way I want it to be is what I like the most. Maybe I’m a control freak, but I’m a perfectionist, so I like to have that control of the hair and I always keep in mind that I’m working with chemicals and the reaction between the colour and the hair.
You also won a Contessa award last year. What does winning another one mean for you?
I’ve entered the Contessas many times before I won my first one last year. I’ve always dreamed about winning a Contessa, and both [award ceremonies] were online. So, I received my trophy by mail, so it’s funny because I’ve always dreamed about it, but things don’t happen how you think they will. I’ve had international awards but never a Canadian one, so winning a Contessa is the cherry on top. It’s a really big accomplishment for me. It’s a dream!
Why do you think competitions like the Contessas are important?
I think, especially right now, it’s very hard to get the whole industry together and I think the Contessa Awards is the most important platform right now to showcase your creativity and to push your creative boundaries. The competition isn’t only about the trophy; it’s about competing with yourself. For me, it’s not only about winning. You have to show perseverance and you have to keep going. It’s the most important platform to showcase your work and creativity. It allows me to push myself more and more.
Would you say winning a Contessa has helped your career?
Definitely! It gives me a lot of credibility. I work for Matrix, so it gives me a lot of credibility with other hairstylists. It also gives me a lot of recognition, so other stylists become interested in my work. The Contessas have helped me become a better leader in my salon as well. I’m not the boss there; I’m the leader. I like to help my team to go further and be a good example.
Do you have any mentors or anyone you look up to?
First, my father. He’s still working in his salon five days a week with passion at the age of 77. I hope I will have that passion for hair. He started working as a hairstylist at the age of 15, so he’s been doing hair for the last 62 years. He was the Latin American Champion several times. My other mentors are hairstylist who have passion like Richard St Laurent, Chrystofer Benson and Vidal Sassoon.
What has this past year been like for you and your salon?
The past year was really big year for me. I achieved a lot of my goals. I opened a 7,000 square-foot salon in the middle of the pandemic, I won a Contessa, and I am a finalist at the NAHAs. Everything was difficult, but I’m a very positive person. I always tell myself that everything happens for a reason and you have to keep going. I really learned how to be patient and how to work hard. It was a difficult year for everybody, but I can’t complain because I had so many beautiful privileges that happened. I also really missed the physical touch and connection to my clients; that was one of the hardest things about COVID. Overall, I cannot complain because I am privileged, and I have so much gratitude.
What’s next for you? Any new projects or goals you’re working towards that you can share?
I want to keep going. I entered several other competitions and I want to start travelling again for work. I have a lot of projects. I want to keep competing. I want to push my salon to the next level and I want to keep being a good leader for my staff. I just want to keep sharing my passion.