How and why did you start competing in the Contessa Awards?
I entered for the first time two years ago. I had it in my mind that I wanted to enter since I started in the hair industry. I remember seeing all of the collections and I remember in about 2015 or 2016 Tony Ricci won like three or four awards and I said to myself “that’s going to be me one day.”
I know you said your 2023 Avant Garde collection was inspired by the movie Prey. Can you tell me a little more about this? What is the story behind each look?
We wanted this collection to look similar to Indigenous art, and it was also inspired by the movie Prey. I really liked the fact that in this movie the main character was female and that she was going to kick the predator’s ass. I was inspired by her power and wanted to create a collection that showcased feminism in a way. I remodified the bodies of my models because I didn’t want their bodies to look very feminine and I wanted them to look strong. Because they don’t have clothes on, we didn’t want people to only look at their curves which is why we removed them.
Tell me more about the looks in your collection. What techniques did you use to create each look?
We used painters’ tape that we applied right to the hair to make the lines in the collection and to make it look like feathers. To get the structure to stay we used metal rods in the back and we also used gorilla glue to make sure everything stayed in place.
How did you decide on the colours you used for each of your looks?
The colours were based on the makeup my wife did on the collection.
I know you brought some of your family with you to the Contessas. Tell me more about this, why did you decide to bring them with you and what did it mean to you to have them with you?
For us, it’s all about family. We spend all of our time with them and they’re there with us when we shoot collections. They are a huge part of everything we do. They see us work so hard on the collections, so we’re able to teach them that when you work hard in life, you get what you work for, and if you don’t work hard you won’t get anything from it. We like to show them that when you put your heart and soul into what you’re doing, it pays off. I told my kids that just because I won this year doesn’t mean that I’ll win next year or the year after, but I still get to show them that the harder you work, the more you get
I know you also worked on this collection with your wife as your makeup artist. What was that experience like and what does it mean to win this award with her?
For us, every collection is always teamwork. I come up with the ideas but Josianne helps to keep me in line because sometimes I can be messy, and it can be hard for me to take a step back and see the whole collection together. She helps keep me on track because she’s all about the details. The great part about working together is that we don’t argue when we create collections together.
You had mentioned that for this collection you had to learn to work with extensions. What was that like for you? Did you face any challenges with this collection?
Working with extensions is different than working with hair because they don’t react the same way. I don’t usually work with extensions, but I couldn’t create the looks I wanted to create for this collection because no one is going to let me gorilla glue their natural hair. So, to express the collection I had to learn to work on a different canvas and I think that was the hardest challenge I faced.
What was it like being back at the Contessa awards live after 2 years of the pandemic? And how did it feel to win this award in a room full of your peers?
This was the first time I’ve been to a live Contessa. Just for us to be there was a huge compliment and winning the award was a gift I wasn’t expecting at all. We can’t wait to be back next year.
We were surprised about how big it was. We were of course expecting something crazy but not like that and the thing that shocked us the most was the fact that the competitors are so nice. No matter who wins and who loses, everyone is just happy to be there and celebrate their craft.
What do you enjoy most about competing in the Contessa awards?
I really enjoy all of the creative things we can do. Bringing an idea that I have in my mind to life is amazing. To me it’s all about creativity.
Do you have any goals or anything you’re working on that you can share with us?
I’m already working on my collections for next year and I want to beat myself next year, but I also don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. We want to get four collections done and if we are only happy with some of them, we’ll only submit those ones. We don’t want to put work that we aren’t proud of out there. We want to do as much as we can next year that we’re proud of.
Salon: Salon La Loge, Québec, Que.
Makeup/Maquillage: Josianne Bourque
Other/Autre: Jeanne Bastien
Photos: Alain Comtois