Ann-Mary is a professional hair stylist based in Ottawa, ON. She was born in Brooklyn in New York, but at the tender age of 7 moved to Canada. She has always had a passion for styling hair, and while growing up she began styling friends and family at a very early age. She is known to many people as someone that is always laughing and making jokes. I can attest to that! Ann-Mary has a wonderful and authentic joy that immerses from her, and you can’t help but enjoy her company. She has styled many brides for their special day, and completed numerous editorials.
What do you do?
I am a independent hair stylist, and my specialties are natural hair styling and bridal hair styling.
When did you know you wanted to do what you’re pursuing now?
Honestly, I feel like people around me knew before I even knew. I started doing my own hair at the age of seven and from then my mom never touched my head, by the time I was fifteen I was doing hair for friends and family in my moms basement while myfriends were getting their first jobs at Tim Hortons & Wendys'. I didn’t take it seriously as far as profession until I was in my early twenties.
Is there anyone in your field that you look up?
To be quite honest there’s no one in particular, but I can say that I do look up to stylists that have been in the industry for over twenty years, and that are still remaining well saught after in the industry because the industry has changed quite a bit. It is more saturated with stylist and clients are not as loyal to their stylists as they were in previous years, so stylists that are still in the game and holding it strong for twenty years plus, those are the people I admire. I also admire stylists that are able to make a business out of doing hair because it is one thing to be good at doing hair, but to actually make a living and a business out of it that is really admirable.
Do you or did you have a mentor?
I did have a mentor when I was an apprentice studying to get my license. There was a lady at the salon named O'dalia that mentored me and would basically teach me everything that she knew, she was very supportive and encouraging and taught me many tips and tricks but that lasted about a year and ever since I obtained my license I've been pretty much on my own, although I do take courses in colour, cutting and styling to keep my skills fresh and updated. I always recommend anyone in a profession, whether you’re a makeup artist, or photographer, to always seek mentorship.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5-10yrs?
That is a good question. Well, right now I’m working full-time at AMC hair studio, and I work part-time at Algonquin College. I teach within the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program & Diploma Hairstyling Program. However, in the next five to ten years I would like to see those roles reversed, and I would like to teach full-time and hopefully open up a studio where I can mentor young budding stylists with a strong skill set in styling natural curly hair I really feel that the natural hair community in our city is growing and I would like to have a salon where it could be the go to salon where all of Ottawa’s naturalistas go to.
What advice would you give someone that is trying to pursue their dreams?
Don’t believe the naysayers because when I told people and especially family members that I wanted to pursue hairstyling as a career, I would get a lot of resistance as far as “well why don’t you go to a real College and you know, get a real career.” It discouraged me at the beginning but my passion was just so strong that I was not able to lose sight of that. Don’t believe in the people that have negative things to say about what you choose to do, because if you have the passion for it then the success will follow and I can honestly say that the people that were putting me down then are now trying to book hair appointments with me now.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because I wake up to go to work always happy and it’s always a different environment. It’s not like a routine, mundane experience. Everyday is a different challenge, different clients, different personalities, and they always require different styling needs. I also do bridal hair styling, so on the weekends I get to travel to nice hotels and bridal suites, and I get to be apart of a woman’s monumental day. So I love what I do because I get to be creative, meet new people, and everyday is a different challenge.
Who is your motivation to keep going?
My daughter, she’s eight, and my biggest motivation because I want for her to grow up and be proud of her mother, and what her mother has accomplished. I want to leave something for her so that she knows that I worked hard and followed my passion. I also want to be an inspiration to her to follow hers, whatever her dreams may be when she grows up, I want to show her that they are worth pursuing.
If you had the opportunity to work or collaborate with someone who would it be and why?
I would love to work with Kim Kimble, she’s a celebrity stylist. I think her personality is amazing. She is an entrepreneur, she has her own TV show that is based on hair styling, and she is just a go getter. I would love to work with her, even if it is just assisting, or sweeping hair for her. I want to work beside her and learn whatever I can learn. That would be my number one person, Kim Kimble.
What is the one thing you cannot leave the house with, minus your cell phone?
My lip chap! I hate dry lips lol.
Do you have a favourite quote that keeps you inspired?
I’ve come across a lot of quotes in my life, but the only thing that stands out to me is, “follow your passion, and then success will follow”. The reason that stands out to me is because that is what I did to be quite honest with you. I followed my passion whether I had people that believed in it or not, and I feel like I’m at a place where I’m happy in my life, and I feel like I’m growing as far as my business, and my craft. I would just say follow your passion and success will follow.