bob + paige’s Master Stylist, Joey Marchese is the 2021 Contessa Ontario Hairstylist of the Year! We asked the Schwarzkopf Professional educator and ambassador about his winning collection and his plans for 2021:
What are the Contessa Awards?
The MVPs of hair in Canada, the Contessas have been considered the gold standard in beauty awards since 1988. The photography-based competition has 22 categories and three rounds of judging. The work is judged by hairdressers who’ve been in the industry a long time, magazine editors, fashion editors, previous winners, international and Canadian. The most famous hairdressers across the country have all been recognized and celebrated at one point with a Contessa Award.
You’ve had many Contessa nominations over the years, why do you think you won this year?
I’ve been nominated 17 times, but it’s 2020, so why not? Honestly, I think it’s because we shot what we love and what inspired us, not just what we thought the judges were looking for. For this collection, I was heavily influenced by a dystopian futuristic world. The looks are Blade Runner-meets-punk where everyone is being themselves because they realized that simply ‘fitting in’ isn’t working.
I’ve heard people say that sometimes my work is “too soon: and “the judges haven’t always been ready for what he’s created”. Because of the pandemic, this year they allowed us to submit collections from the last two years. We started working on this collection in 2018, so maybe that’s why we won this year. Ahead of our time!
What goes into creating a collection for the Contessa Awards?
You have to submit three different models with three different looks. First, we come up with a concept and create a storyboard with inspiration photos. Next, we put together a photographer, wardrobe stylist, make-up artist, and models who will be part of the team on the day of the shoot. It all happens in a 12-hour shoot day. We shot seven models, including some for the Canadian Colourist award which I was a semi-finalist in.
After the shoot, we do photo touch ups to the skin (no hair touch ups are allowed). Then we put them together into a collection, choosing which ones go best together – there needs to be a flow. The whole process took 7 months from start to finish.
What does it mean to you to win Ontario Hairstylist of the Year?
I feel blessed, grateful, and relieved to finally have one under my belt. It means a lot of years of hard work have finally paid off and a weight has lifted! I’ve been going to the Contessa’s ever since I got into the industry and I’ve wanted the Best in Ontario win so much. We have a lot of talent in Ontario and it’s a hard award to win. I’ve been in the finals many times. It’s a lot of work to enter so after I won, my girlfriend said to me, “Can we retire?” Usually there’s a big awards gala with cocktail parties and an after party that’s pretty fun. This year it was a virtual gala then and the award was sent to me in a box.
What do you love about being a hairstylist?
I get to meet different people every day from different walks of life. I help them feel their best and talk about fashion (which I love!). It’s all about
What does 2021 look like for you?
I’ll be keeping the ball rolling. The next year will consist of on-going education, all of which is virtual right now. So, when things open up, I can get back out there, be prepared and ahead of the game and put some great education together for other hairdressers, for clients, and our staff at bob + paige.
Right now, I’m loving the shaggy haircuts, lots of texture and curl, wearing your hair as natural as possible. Hairstyles are based on what’s going on in the world and not knowing when you can get in again to see your stylist!
What can people be doing to support hair salons during the lockdown?
You can support your salon by buying products if they sell them online, which we do at bob + page. Write a good review, follow them on social media. It’s a great way to keep up to date with what’s happening.