Hairstylist and Instagram influencer Matthew Collins gives us the inside scoop on styling for celebrities and weighs in with insight and tips on hairstyling north and south of the border.
What is it like to work with a celebrity for a red carpet event? What are some challenges you may encounter and how do you overcome them?
It’s the same as working in a salon, except you have more time to create the look. For example, instead of 45 minutes, you get two hours.
Celebrities I have worked with and met are the nicest people. You have to remember that you’re usually working with a person who is stressed out, so you always need to provide good energy to make that person feel comfortable. You have to be ego-less.
How do you come up with fresh ideas for award shows to make your styles stand out?
A lot of people follow influencers. Redo what’s been done. I look to the “OG” of fashion and hair. For example, I’m inspired by Sam McKnight. I like to take inspiration from the past, and by looking at other people’s work and seeing what they’re coming up with.
As a Toronto-based hairstylist for many years, what would you say to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? Expect to put in many years of hard work. You have to hustle more. I think there are less opportunities in Canada for this, so you have to work harder to make it in the U.S. You have to ask yourself: Are you prepared to make less money?
How does hairstyling in Canada compare to the U.S., especially in terms of celebrity and editorial hairstyling?
Same skill set, but top level. The big difference is travelling! Canadians are the forefront of the world—but people aren’t going to Canada much. If you’re thinking about where to go, the main difference for hairstyling between New York City and L.A., for example, is that New York is more editorial and L.A. is more celebrity. Remember that nurturing relationships is key to be able to work anywhere in the U.S.
What social media tips do you have for hairstylists looking to build their platforms and increase their followings?
Engagement, brand and focus. You need to reply to everyone and create conversations with your following. Be a real person and don’t just ignore people, because the more you engage with them, the more they will engage with you as well.
Know your brand and don’t be all over the place. It may take some time, but spend a weekend thinking of how you want your brand to look and be represented. Make sure you have a business Instagram account, so that you can track your analytics and follow them. Find out what people engage with most and post more of that.
Photos: Matthew Collins/Instagram