Canada is full of talented people, and there are so many skilled hairstylists across the country. Ever been curious what it's actually like to be a hairstylist for the stars and meet all different types of celebrities? We caught up with two celebrity hairstylists that are based in Vancouver, BC to find out what it's really like to work with Hollywood celebs like the Riverdale cast.
Michael Gibson and Calvyn Cass are the co-owners of renown Brush Salon in the Gastown neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC. They are partners and founded the salon together four years ago. Now, it is one of the top salons in the entire city and they are even opening up a second location in East Vancouver this year.
The two talented hairstylists have worked with several celebrities throughout their careers, such as Michael Buble, Kaitlyn Bristowe from The Bachelorette, Lucy Hale, Ruby Rose and more! They are even the hair colourists for the Riverdale cast, meaning they work with stars like Cole Sprouse, Cami Mendes, and KJ Apa regularly.
Check out Narcity's interview with Canadian celebrity hairstylists Michael Gibson and Calvyn Cass!
1. How did you first become a hairstylist for celebrities? Is it hard to break into this world?
Michael: It all started with a few key people. My experience was interesting because one of my clients had referred me to one of her girlfriends, Kaitlyn Bristowe, who was about to embark on her journey on the tv show, "The Bachelor". Little did we know, she would end up becoming the star of "The Bachelorette". I loved watching her story unfold, and it felt a little surreal seeing her face on the cover of all the tabloids during the process. It's kind of funny because I always felt my girlfriend, Jasmine Lorimer, would be a great fit for the show. I always pestered her to try out, but she wasn't sold on the idea. One day, she received a call from a casting agency who was interested in her for the first season of "The Bachelorette Canada". I was one of the first people she told and she made me guess what it was. Haha. Anyhow, it's kind of funny that I ended up becoming the stylist for the two of them! Calvyn had a similar experience, but with different people.
Calvyn: I had started working for myself as a chair renter and was hustling hard. One day I was working in the salon and glanced at my phone. I saw MICHAEL BUBLÉ one the call display... I didn’t answer is because I was busy with a client but found it amusing that someone had the same name as someone so famous. Later I checked the vm and found out with was from Luisana Lopilato (Michael's wife) looking to book with me. From there I started working with Michael and the family and the rest is history.
2. What is it really like working with celebrities? Any wild or funny stories to share?
Michael: I don't think it's any different working with celebrities. We are all humans at the end of the day. I think the funniest part is the way people react or treat people based on their celebrity status. Our societal norm glamorizes celebrity culture and their lives. I think it's important to remember that they are people, with their own insecurities and problems.
3. What is it like working with the Riverdale cast?
Michael: We love working with the Riverdale Cast! All of the actors and actresses have been lovely to work with and we have a good relationship with the cast. We are the colourists for the cast, so they come into the salon frequently to keep their hair colour fresh for the show. KJ has very dark hair naturally, so he needs to come in every 2 weeks for a root touch up to keep his copper colour looking vibrant!
Calvyn: It’s great. I work with KJ, Cole and from time to time some of the others. They come to the salon and they are normal guys who are buddy buddy with all the staff. Everyone at the salon loves them and enjoys their interactions with them.
4. Are there any misconceptions about being a celebrity hairstylist or hairstylist in general?
Michael: I think the biggest misconception about being a hair stylist would be that we can make someone's hair like the photo in one session. While that may be true for some, it isn't the case for everyone. It is important to understand that everyone's hair is different, it can take time to get someone's hair colour to their end goal whilst keeping the integrity of their hair intact. We are here to educate you and guide you through your process, trust your stylist!
Calvyn: People don’t realize that we as hairstylists put our bodies through hours and hours of physical work. People think we have it easy doing hair but if you can imagine yoga poses or barre class when you hold positions... let’s just say we have some very defined muscles in some very interesting areas... and all in the name of beauty.
5. Who are some of your favourite celebrities that you’ve been able to work with? Have you ever been starstruck?
Michael: Haha. Funny story, Calvyn had a surprise for me one day and told me to dress a little better for work tomorrow. Not that I don't already ;) I came in and he told me my client was waiting for me up front. Little did I know, I was about to do Molly Ringwald's hair. I am a huge fan and grew up watching The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles, to name a few. I can honestly say this was the first time I have ever been starstruck. She was lovely to work with and I wish she had more appearances on the show (Riverdale).
6. How did you decide to open up your own salon? What is it like running a salon?
Calvyn: It was a dream in the making. Owning our own business was a major goal because I wanted to be able to create something unique and special for our industry. I think we achieved that and I’m so very proud of what we as a team have accomplished... it is SO HARD though. I won’t dive too deeply into it but we do so much more for our clients that just cut or colour their hair. On top of their hair, we work through challenges and insecurities and romances and deaths and major life changes.
7. Do you have any big, new projects coming up?
Michael: Yes! We are SO excited and are in the process of opening our second location for Brush Salon in East Vancouver! I will be moving to the East Van location and am taking a small team of us from the downtown location. We will be hiring for BOTH locations! Our projected opening date is Spring 2019. Furthermore, we are currently expanding our in house product line called Shoren! It is locally made, here in Vancouver and is cruelty-free. We hope to have the product line completed and in both locations by Summer 2019.
8. Share some of your best hair care or hair styling tips for women!
Michael: My professional recommendation would be to invest in high quality professional products, especially if you have coloured and/or sensitized hair! You MUST have a good heat protectant (my favourite is the Thermique protectants by Kerastase), Shampoo and Conditioner (I love Shu Uemura and Kerastase), a Masque to revive your hair from environmental, heat, and/or chemical damage (Shu Uemura Silk Bloom/Ultimate Reset or Kerastase Chronologiste are some of my favourites), and don't forget the styling products! All of these are available at BRUSH Salon in Gastown. Furthermore, feel free to check us out on Instagram as we have several videos linked to our YouTube channel with styling tips and tricks.