People of Portland 67: Ms. Chanel Aisha

Ms. Chanel Aisha, fearless leader of Fringe Portland.

Ms. Chanel Aisha, fearless leader of Fringe Portland.

It’s high time that we introduce you to the People of Portland 67.

And what better way to start than with our very own founding partner, Ms. Chanel Aisha. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chanel last week in the Fringe Portland Studio. It was nice and early, the studio was quiet and sunny; a calm before the storm. We drank coffee and talked about the big three: life, love and style.

An Interview with Chanel:

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

I’m originally from Thornbury, a small town just past the Blue Mountains in Collingwood and I’ve been here in Toronto for almost 6 years.

How long have you been doing hair?

I’ve been doing hair for, gosh, like ten years now. I went to the Ottawa School of the Arts where I studied shape and form. At OSA, you don’t study a medium like painting or sculpture right away, you start with something more fundamental, and how amazing is it to say “I study shape and form.’ I mean, it’s so fascinating. At the same time I was studying marketing and modeling in Toronto on the side. Then one day I went to MHS, which is a salon in Thornbury, to get my hair done for a gig and Marion, the owner, was my stylist. We hit it off immediately, and when she was done she said, “Stop doing what you’re doing and come work for me.” So I did! I became her apprentice and she’s been my mentor ever since. She taught me everything I know and then she shipped me off to Study with Toni & Guy in New York so I could really take it to the next level. 

How do you feel about doing hair?

I feel like hair is the perfect medium for expression. It’s so incredible malleable, you can do (and undo) virtually anything to it. I love how it constantly resets itself, it’s always giving you a blank slate. I also think it’s fascinating how people define themselves with their hair. It’s so primordial, it’s a literal mane and it can hold incredible power, just like in the animal kingdom. It’s exceptionally personal, without being your face. It’s something that you can change completely but it’s so, signature. So you.

There’s a big difference, though, between why I love hair and why i love working in the industry. You get to spend time working on your craft, but also we have the chance to meet humanity face to face, and for a decent amount of time. You get to have a deeply personal connection to people in this interesting way and I really love that.

What look do you love right now?

I really love the one length cut, hitting the shoulder. It’s so versatile. I think weight at the bottom of your hair is important right now and I love that. And I love blonde. It’s beautiful, there’s so many different shades, there’s a blonde for everyone.

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

Running, working out, I love hanging out with my dogs and pretty much anything active. I also love to read. Right now I’m reading the Year of the Flood by Margaret Attwood.Oh, and I also like going to the movies. 

Who do you love most in this world?


This guy, my partner in crime.

This guy, my partner in crime.