Occupation: Hair Stylist
Confessions of a Hairstylist
By Morgan Oggelsby
Ignoring the stress her career puts on her body Rebecca Gillanders knows that she was not meant to sit behind a desk for the rest of her life.
“Does anyone know what I am?” Gillanders questioned, looking around the table for an answer. She smiled and explained to the group that she was a hairstylist. A graduate of the prestigous ‘Versailles Academy’ which is a locally owned, private school for cosmetology, Gillanders explained the intensity of her double major in hairstyling as well as makeup.
“It was ten months straight through with a week break and was 36 hours a week,” she laughed. “It’s a lot.”
The Sir Wilfrid Laurier graduate told the group that she originally went to Ottawa U for a degree in Communications.
“I quickly learned that it wasn’t me. I wasn’t very academic, I am a much more of a hands on kind of learner,” she explained, using her right hand to emphasize her point.
She confessed that she had tried to follow in her sibling’s footsteps and go to Ottawa U to find a career that was science or math based.
Gillanders shared the story of who inspired her to leave Ottawa U and pursue a career in Cosmetology. “I ended up going to my aunt’s house and she told me I had missed my calling.
“Your hair and makeup always looks so good, so go do makeup for the stars.” Her aunt told her.
“Personally I don’t want to do that.” She laughed and moved her black cardigan to cover her lap. Gillanders continued and expressed that she really loves the industry, regardless of who she is styling. “There is always room for growth, something that you continually try and do to educate yourself.”
Once she finished the story she sighed and stated that it was not a easy job for her to do.
“A lot of people seem to think that it is easy, but it’s not. It’s actually very physically demanding on your body.”
She told the group that she had already had underlying problems before she started her job.
“I was born with scoliosis.” She explained and demonstrated how when she started, at the end of the day she couldn’t lower her arms. “But, it’s fun and working out has helped a lot, just building up those muscles.”
After she finished telling the group that her boyfriend’s father had been laid off, she described that trades were a good place to work. “Trades are great! You will usually always end up with a job, and most of them have high hiring rates.”
Gillanders was quick to defend her job stating that it wasn’t really work for her because she loves it. She explained that the first couple years were difficult because she did not have a clientele and that she now promoted herself, jokingly shouting out her social media pages to the table.
A self made, successful women in the profession of cosmetology who provided a riveting conversation; Rebecca Gillanders finds the best outcome in all situations whether she has a good day at work or not. She confessed that she has definitely had bad experiences with customers. “Oh yeah. I cried!” She explained, nodding her head and told the group a story about a woman who yelled at her and the other staff members. This happens to everyone at one time or another. “At that point you just need to brush it off and understand that it’s not you.