I work at Chatters Chilliwack in Cottonwood Mall. I’m a Master stylist and have been here for 3 years.
Were you always interested in the salon industry?
I always wanted to become a stylist- even back when I was living in the Philippines, but my family wanted me to become a marine engineer. I went to engineering school for 4 years while working in Japan as my profession, but engineering was never my passion. At this time my relatives encouraged me to move to Canada. When I moved to Vancouver, I remember walking past Robson area and saw a salon. When I looked in to see the stylist behind the chair, I thought that one day this would be me.
What sort of challenges did you face initially in Canada?
I did get work, but the money was a huge challenge for me because I was sending some home to my family. At the time I also wanted to be in school. In order to be in school, I would have to quit my full time job. This would put financial strain on both myself and my family in the Philippines. Vancouver living standards are high, but I was here to stay and I felt very privileged to be a citizen in Canada. I knew that when I was able to get my immigrant citizenship, I would be able to afford to go to hair school and continue sending money back to my family.
What led to you finally getting a job in the hair industry?
One day I thought I would like to give it a try so when I was passing by my favorite salon, I went in to give my resume to the owner, Kim Susznir. I had no experience whatsoever. The owner said she had never hired anyone who had no background in hair. I pleaded with her that I would work hard and learn and become great at it. She said that she liked me and my courage and had someone there who wanted to learn to be an educator. She would help arrange ways that he and I could work together and he would help me learn.
After you left the salon that day, what happened next?
The next day that stylist (Eddie Izmirlija) called and invited me to meet him and talk about work opportunities. He said that I had potential and that he would be willing to train me. I was so thrilled.
Were there certain moments in your career that pushed you to be the stylist you are today?
One day Eddie called me and said he knew someone in Vancouver who was looking for a newcomer to his educational program. His motto in life is to help people. I went to apply right away. Michael Levine hired me. The deal was that I needed to give up my full time job in order to focus on schooling. I will always be thankful for my cousin, Markus Pasion who was able to help me out at this time.
How did you end up coming to Chatters?
When I was looking for a house I noticed a Chatters Salon nearby. I knew someone who worked there and decided to apply for a job.
What have you learned from working at Chatters?
I’ve learned lots through the education program like color and cutting as a team. I have also learned we have different individualities, yet you can learn something from each person. Sharing techniques and so on. It’s not always about work but giving you advice in your daily life, it feels like family.
What are your favorite hair trends?
Balayage and crazy hair. When I do hair I always think of stage show, dramatic, and sensational hair.
If you could give your younger self some advice, what would that be?
Just be yourself and do what you think is for you. You know at the age of 43 I feel I wasted some of my time. If I could go back, I would follow my dreams and have became a stylist right away.
What would you tell a customer about why they should come see you?
Trust me you never know what magic my hands will do for your hair.
What went into deciding your 2017 Dare to Hair look?
I never really have a vision of the look I’m going to create for a contest until I get my model. You have to analyze the model before a choice is made on what kind of style to do. When I finally chose my model, she had dark hair which is really hard to “lift.” That’s when I started thinking of the four elements. Fire came to mind, I wanted to blend the orange, red and yellow. She has natural regrowth that would be dark, so I opted to begin 5 to 6 inches from the roots. The final look was what I visualized and came out really good.
What can you tell me about the photo-shoot itself?
We did the shoot outside. The sun was captivating the color and it looked amazing. I love photo shoots! Where I trained before in Vancouver, we focused more on shoots and competitions. When I came to Chatters I was like boom this is it, this is what I want to do: pictures, collections and everything.
Why should they enter the chatters competition?
Competitions are fun, it’s about being able to express your fashion and creativity. You are going to learn lots and find something new about yourself.