When did your passion for hairdressing first arise? Can we talk about calling?
As a child, I loved hairdressing… but I didn’t want to do a job related to aesthetics. I wanted to get close to people, to be a vet or a midwife, for example. My sister who is eight years older than me, has left middle school to go into hairdressing.
One day, she came back home with a briefcase full of hair dryers and hair brushes. It was like a vet’s medical devices briefcase, but to make someone look beautiful. And suddenly I had a big epiphany. I started drawing hair, hairstyles, hairdressing salons.
What happened next?
My parents enrolled me in the hairdressing academy, which is a very popular school with six students per classroom. When I presented my file, the headmaster told me that I wasn’t the priority, since I didn’t have good grades in middle school. My grades didn’t define me so I brought them my hairstyle drawings that I had been doing since I was a child. One month later, I got accepted!
After graduation, I wanted to become independent. I went to a hairdressing salon in Annecy (France). There, I really started to specialize in technique. This is what interests me in hairdressing. I am painting on the side; I think that the two are connected.
What can practice of painting bring to a hairdresser?
It helps me a lot! When I do a balayage, I think about the position of the hair when it is loose but also tied up. Every part of the hair is different, it reminds me of a painting. I usually paint rather abstract art on my canvas. I can mix a lot of colors! I train myself. Even if one can think that hairdressing is a pretty easy job, when you want to be excellent, the techniques are very specialized.
Curls are an integral part of your hairstyles. Is it the way you like to work on hair?
Yes it is, I like it a lot. It is called the wavy effect, it is very modern. When I draw a balayage, I see a lot more color shades if I have just curled the hair. It is more interesting, it catches more light. It is kind of the Parisian style, fashion week. You know, we feel like you are coming out of the water when you have actually been brushing for 30 minutes. I get inspired by New York a lot. By the way, If I were to open a hairdressing salon, it would probably look like a New York loft.
You seem excited! Have you ever felt limp?
For a while, I was in a small Franck Provost hairdressing salon in Annemasse. We didn’t really connect with the clients, we had to apply specific standards such as making specific color grids for dyes. It leaves little room for creativity… I felt like I wasn’t satisfied with my work, and that I was losing my self-confidence. I was a bit sad in this hairdressing salon… Besides, we were all dressed in black! *laughs* I wondered if I should give up hairdressing. Almost everyone I went to school with had already dropped out. They too couldn’t find this artistic and creative side.
How did you get out of that rough patch?
I started doing contests. Challenging myself, putting myself in a competitive spirit and being cheered up made me leave Franck Provost. This is when I discovered L’Oréal Top Stylist’s contest. The ten winners had the opportunity to open their own hairdressing salon. I enrolled myself thinking “at least you will get it done”. Eventually, I got selected and went to the finals! I ended up with people who had ten years of experience behind them. I was wondering what the hell I was doing here! *laughs* I was in front of a jury, with famous people such as Cyril Lignac. In the end, I was pleased with my day even if I did not win.
And now, what is your next move?
I am currently working for Nicolas Waldorf, a famous hairdresser in Paris. He opened hairdressing salons and is taking part in the show called “Incroyables transformations” on the French TV channel M6. I assist him when he is on set. We take care of people who cannot find their style anymore, we help them. I am really in the backstage area of the show with Nicolas. I also work with him on the side, in his hairdressing salons. I meet a lot of people, it motivates me. You don’t go to the same hairdressing salon every day. Your daily routine isn’t: “You arrive at the salon, and you’ve got little Chantale waiting for your 9 o’clock appointment!” I move around all the time!