People of Portland 67: Ms. Holly Cook

Where you from originally and How long have you been in Toronto?

I’m originally from Whitby and I’ve been in Toronto for five years now. I was working at a salon in the suburbs, doing the same hair cut on the same person over and over and just needed something different so I decided to make the move to Toronto.

How long have you been doing hair?

I’ve been doing hair for eight years now. When I was younger I worked as a salon support, helping out where I could and sweeping at first. But over time I gradually got my hands into a bit of everything. I was signed up to study environmental studies but I bailed at the last minute. It came time to go off to school and I just couldn’t do it because I just knew I was always going to do hair. I couldn’t see myself not doing hair or being happy doing anything else, so I figured why go to school for something when it’s not what I want to do. So I went to do my basic training at MARCA and once I completed that I was accepted into the Aveda Academy. They have their own programs and The Academy is a finishing school. It’s like an intense six month booster shot for hair where you really take your skill to the next level. Aveda is like the top of the top when it comes to education.

How do you feel about doing hair?

To me, doing hair is super technical. I specialize in color because I’m drawn to the science behind it. I love how formulaic it is. It’s like chemistry mixed with art, I’m completely fascinated by it and I have fun doing it.

The before and after transformation of my clients from when they walk in, to when they walk out our door, is such an awesome pay off. It’s huge. Having the hair they want, hair that they love and feel great about totally changes them, right down to the way they walk and hold themselves. There’s a tangible difference, and it’s so amazing to be able to give that to people.

What look do you love right now?

I really like a deeper, more bronde balayage. Something that’s more dimensional rather than all about big contrasting colours. 

What does personal style mean to you?

Personal style is whatever you need to do to your look to make yourself feel comfortable. It’s about taking advantage of your clothes or your hair to communicate something about you to others, to let people know something that you want them to know about who you are or where you’re at. Style can communicate a lot.

What do you do when you’re not doing hair?

I’m a dog mom. I spoil my dogs. I have two, Pearl and Maris and they’re both rescues so basically I spend most of my time hanging out with them when I’m not at the studio. Oh, and I’m also handy. I’m fixing up my apartment right now; painting, building furniture and settling in. So far I’ve built a lamp, a desk and I’m building a coffee table right now. My neighbours probably think I’m crazy because I refinish wood and build stuff on my little patio, it’s like my workshop, completely covered in paint.

Who do you love most in this world:

Pearl.